Central Andes region of Peru, in the District of Urubamba in the Cuzco Region
Chinchero is a Quechua village. Quechua is a collective term for indigenous mountain people of the Andes who speak a Quechua language, despite having different ethnic backgrounds. This language was imposed on the original inhabitants by the Incas.
Quechua, Spanish. Quechua is the first language for most inhabitants of Chinchero, and is spoken in the home and in early years of school. Later years of schooling are in Spanish. Young children and elderly women may speak only Quechua.
The Chinchero region is home to some of the best weavers in Peru. Local weavers have preserved the traditional Incan skills of dying the wool with natural dyes, producing colors unique to the community, with weaving done by hand or on simple looms.
Chinchero is located on an ancient Incan road that carried goods and people between the city of Quito (now the capital city of Ecuador) and Machu Picchu, the ancient Incan site. As such, it has the potential to be an important and meaningful archeological site, which is currently being developed.
COMMUNITY LIAISONS: PAULINO & VILMA QUILLAHUAMAN-LLANCAY
Our primary contacts are Paulino and Vilma Quillahuaman-Llancay, a husband and wife and parents to four children: Raoul, Roxana, Franklin, and Chaska. (Crooked Trails co-founder Tammy Leland is the god-mother to Roxana, and co-founder Chris Mackay is Chaska’s god-mother.) Paulino and Vilma operate a weavers’ cooperative. They, along with 8-10 other families, make up the cooperative Minka Chinchero. Paulino has worked with other Peruvian non-profits, and has a goal of helping the children of the community to remember and understand their cultural heritage. He is also the coordinator of our work in the community of Umasbamba.
Crooked Trails has worked on several projects in Chinchero to preserve and stimulate traditional Incan weaving skills. We have helped build a boarding school, providing both physical labor and funding, to provide a place for orphaned girls from the Umasbamba region to live and learn. While attending the school, they learn this traditional skill, which gives them a trade and a means of supporting themselves when they graduate. A student group from Crooked Trails helped to develop a website to publicize weaving programs and a local guesthouse where travelers interested in learning the craft can stay, for periods from a day to three weeks. We have also helped to develop marketing materials for the fledgling tourism industry, and the community-based home-stay program. Other projects include providing cows to provide milk for families in Chinchero, with the community providing the land and growing the crops to feed the cows. The original herd, which numbered 6 cows, has now grown to over a dozen. The village hopes to open a cheese factory as the herd continues to grow.
Crooked Trails has been working in Chinchero for over a decade, since 2001.
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