By Sara Milanes
One of the founders at HOPE MADE IN THE WORLD
We recently launched a new accessory in our store called the Colombian Mochila. It is one of the most important artisanal crafts from Colombia and is knitted mainly by women from the Arhuaco indigenous tribe.
The Arhuaco group is extremely spiritual and very knowledgeable of their own philosophy. They live in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Colombia and consider this part of the country to be the heart of the world. They believe in the existence of a creator and a great father, and their mission is to preserve the natural order of the earth and its surroundings.
Here is a bit more to the story about the women behind our mochila´s and their way of life:
Zaku Arumuke is a woman´s association composed of 18 women called idea. Zaku Arumuke means “Tejedoras del Pensamiento” in Spanish, which in English translates “Weavers of Thought”. Their focus through the association is to craft the mochilas and sell the products at considerable prices by fair trade practices. Mochilas have different designs and represent a legacy that was adopted from previous generations. Each mochila´s weaving process is different, you will not have 2 mochila’s exactly alike. They all have different meanings; each weave has a different thought process.
This group of women comes from the Etnia Arhuaca (Arhuaca Ethnicity) and their aim is to rescue and impulse the weaving tradition of the Arhuaca Mochila. They want to give value to their work through this ancestral tradition and process as is the process of the Arhuaca Mochila. These women traditionally weave for their children, husband, Mamo, and authorities. She is a woman that weaves while she walks, raises and cooks. A woman that weaves her day to day to make ends meet for his/her family.
This association was born at the Busintana School and Botanical Garden in Pueblo Bello, Cesar, Colombia in 2007.
It was primarily founded to help women with roles as heads of families. Through the weaving and design processes, the women aim to send a message and legacy from their previous generations… messages about their culture, where they come from, and why they do what they do.
The women that have worked our mochila bags live approximately 2-3 hours away from Pueblo Bello, therefore this represents for them an effort to come together. Each Mochila takes about 1 month to develop, 2 kilos of wool. The women not only meet to weave, but they also meet to accompany the personal processes of each family with the aim to reinforce unity through strength and general wellness. They aim to develop an economic income through their traditions and be able to provide for their families.
This information was obtained through an interview with Mamo Menjabin (Luis Izquierdo), the official authority and spiritual guide of the Arhuaco Tribe.