Quico Grande Village of Quico Q’ero Nation
Most weavers of the Quico Q’ero (kee-koh care-roh) Nation live full-time in the village of Quico Grande (kee-koh gron-day) and have a secondary home in a remote hamlet further up or down the large valley. Every home in Quico has access to a water spigot, and some have toilets. Many of the men have had sufficient temporary employment as laborers on road construction or in a gold mine and have been able to purchase a motorcycle. The ground reflects the litter of a working father who can bring treats home to his children: portable radio, cheap toys, candy and gum.
Most weavers and their families identify as Catholic, which – paradoxically – strengthens their traditional Q’ero identity. Textiles express ancient Andean archetypes of Pachamama, Inti, Chunchu, crops, landscapes, and so forth. Weavers in Quico revived traditions of using plants and cochineal to dye hand-spun yarns for their textiles.
Families in Quico have access to footpaths to the cloud forest at lower elevations, where they can grow beans and corn to supplement their diet of potatoes and tubers. Greenhouses funded by Heart Walk Foundation add the nutrition of green leafy vegetables as well as protein from trout stocked in lakes by the NGO.
There are a number of excellent weavers in Quico. Girls usually have completed their first coca pouches at 12 years of age. They learn by watching their mothers. Every year board members of Heart Walk Foundation purchase textiles from every weaver in every community to provide them with income, to support their beautiful traditions, and to re-sell to raise funds for schools, medical services, and food security projects.