As knitters say, it's time to begin by casting on. And so I am sitting in the airport about to depart on a 26 hour journey to Arequipa, Peru. I'm going on behalf of GrassRoots Fair Trade Store to work with a group of knitting ladies who make little Alaskan animal finger puppets and smoke-ring scarves for us. The knitting ladies live in Alto Cayma, an outskirting area of Arequipa made up of 35 settlements, and work on the Mision of Alto Cayma under Father Alex Busuttil who runs the whole parish that serves Alto Cayma's 31,000 inhabitants.
I am going to Alto Cayma to meet the ladies and help them in any way I can with product development and understanding the North American market. I also will be going to see if they are interested in expanding their business - currently, about 20 women knit for the group but unemployment is so great that they've told us they could employ many more women if only they had the market for it.
I'm excited to see how the "knitty" gritty of fair trade practices at work but more excited to meet these ladies and see the beautiful country in which they live! Well, it's time to board so more later when I'm enjoying the sun and thin air of Alto Cayma!