El Chile is an indigenous community located 30 kilometers from Matagalpa. The community is located at the foot of a hill at a height of 900 meters above sea level. It is also one of the few indigenous communities in the ares.
In the 1950’s the dictator of Nicaragua, Anastasio Somoza banned Indians from growing cotton or from making their own clothes. In 1984, the Bishop of Matagalpa was the Minister of Culture of that time (the writer Ernesto Cardenal), and he had the idea of giving indigenous looms as gifts. He contacted Marta Ruiz, a life long resident of El Chile, who with other elderly women, began to teach younger women in the community the nearly extinct tradition of weaving. A leather shop called ‘La Malinche’ is located in the same community as well.
Miranda fell in love with this practical purchase today, and we all thought it was cool to be able to buy it directly from the Telares weavers. The products they make and sell provide the comunities only source of income. I would not be surprised if we find our way back to purchase other treasures before leaving Matagalpa on Tuesday. So cool!