A Peace Corps Project That Became Life’s Calling


Weaving on a rustic loom in Bolivia

       While at the recent annual meeting of W.A.R.P. Weave a Real Peace ( www.weavearealpeace.org ) in Carefree, Arizona, I met Dorinda Dutcher, a fomer Peace Corp volunteer who is working with weavers in Bolivia.    Her amazing story of determination, compassion, hard work and devotion to the Quechua women in the Bolivian Andes touched my heart.  Was it because I saw myself in her, 20 years ago when I almost left everything behind to go into the Peace Corp?  Was it because I had just written in my diary that I wanted to do more than Cotton Clouds?  That I wanted to “give back” somehow to women all over the world who made their substanance living by weaving?  Is that why I went to the W.A.R.P meeting in the first place?  For crying out loud, my name means PEACE anyway and that’s all I want in this world!

Dorinda Dutcher with friends, now family.
    So, after hearing Dorinda’s amazing story of how her initial Peace Corp project of helping with tourism in Independencia never materialized, because there were not tourists there, but developed into helping the women in the Cordillera Oriental of the Bolivian Andes learn more about dyeing their handspun wool using local plants on a very limited budget (she lost her job with the Peace Corp when they left Bolivia……that’s another story for another day……….) Bonnie Tarses (http://weavingspirit.blogspot.com/) and I decided to donate a portion of the sales from Bonnie’s designs of the Cotton Clouds’ Horoscope Shawl & Baby Blanket kits (http://www.cottonclouds.com/shopping/kits.asp?cat=Weaving) to help Dorinda continue this project. She will be setting up a PayPal account soon to  take donations.
A day's worth of dying at Dorinda's dye workshop
     Following are photos provided by Dorinda   There are lots, lots more terrific images that take you high in the Andes. I’ll be posting more photos and lots more stories about what Dorinda is doing to help these women market their lovely handspun, hand dyed, handwoven shoulder bags so that they can continue doing this beautful handwork.  Whether I ever go and help Dorinda or not, I am dedicated to helping her continue this terrific project. 

Quechua woman weaving bag straps.

Cochineal and mordants were introduced by contracted instructors
Mother & Daughter

    The projet is called “Project Artesania Zona Andina or PAZA” (Peace) which then again is what my name means. Visit the  PAZA blog to stay informed.