A Day in the Life at Tika Center of Textile Production

by Jacob and Veena, Civic Semester Participants

8:00 After eating breakfast with our host families, we head towards the collectivo station to catch our ride to Chinchero. Our bargaining for the ride usually fails and we pay the full 7 soles per person price ($1.90).

9:00 Guadalupe and the other women at Tika greet us to start our day of the products from sweaters and hats to large wall tapestries and ceramics. This is the perfect time to catch up on everything we missed between the days we weren’t at the organization. Some highlights include: a thief, a night at the discoteca, a broken hand, and Mikaela’s vet visit (the mischievous alpaca who never fails to cause chaos in the Textilería). She constantly escapes, eats everything which included Cochinilla that sent her to the vet.

11:00 We finish organizing and dusting off the products and begin helping with other miscellaneous tasks from herding all the llamas – which is fun but challenging every time – to translating and giving Muña tea to the visiting tourists. When the llamas inevitably escape, we have to chase after them to herd them back into their pen. The worst case of this was when Jacob mentioned that Mikaela would probably want to eat his wafers, counted 5 llamas out of the 6 llamas, and rushed outside to see Mikaela across the road 100 feet away.

12:30 Lunch Break! We have time to eat lunch, go shopping, and play with the kitten and the caring dog, who are both constantly begging and climbing over us for food.

1:00 We get back to work helping with the tourist groups or if we have some free time, we learn to make bracelets and weave belts with various patterns on a waist loom. Throughout this time we chat with the women and learn so much about their stories and hobbies.

3:00 Sometimes we might weave for the rest of the day or help with preparing yarn either for dying, making pom-poms or quipus, or help finish tasks we started in the morning. Between the both of us, we know 3 belt and 2 bracelet designs.

4:30 (definitely a subjective time depending on if we get distracted or not) Time to leave and say goodbye to the women. Now we face our last challenge of trying to catch a bus, which means waiting anywhere between 30 seconds and 45 minutes to go back to Urubamba, home sweet home!