“My great-grandmother, my grandmother and my mother weaved loom, and now me. It is important for me because my ancestors did it and it is something that I do not want to lose and that I like to do. The idea is to teach it and pass it on, and although I have only sons, they all know how to weave loom. I have to try not to lose the culture of weaving”, says Dania Morales.
It is under this feeling that this Mapuche artisan from the Collipulli commune, La Araucanía region, has worked for 10 years making sheep wool looms dyed with tree leaves -a natural process that maintains the Mapuche legacy on consciousness and care for the environment- and that sells them in her own Ruka Domu Gürekave, which is part of the Huapitrio Ethnotourism cooperative since 2018, where several entrepreneurs and small businesses from Collipulli congregate.
Belonging to this tourist route has given her the opportunity to expand her loom-making business and diversify her clientele. The elaboration of these textiles is accompanied by an experience in this entrepreneur’s own ruka, where visitors have the chance to purchase the looms and join a traditional Mapuche meal, all prepared by its own owner.
Her art and her dedication to each visitor allowed Dania’s business to grow over the years. But everything changed with the coronavirus pandemic.
Tourism – along with other areas such as gastronomy, for example – has been one of the most hit by the health and economic crisis that the country has been experiencing since last March. And it is that the long confinements and the restrictions of transit between regions paralyzed the activity of this entrepreneur.
But her committed and persevering spirit led her to contrive and dare to go out to find clients in order to keep her business alive: she installed a cart on the street where she sells her looms and food products. “I have to go where people buy me”, says Morales.
“Although I was very afraid at the beginning of the pandemic, as people we must take the precautions as it should be and move forward anyway. What we have to do is to try to live with this. I hope that we will start all over again”, she says.
Thanks to her effort, Dania has been able to stay active, but today she is ready to reopen the doors of her ruka when the authorities allow it, safely and following all established health protocols.
It is that this artisan, like more than 500 entrepreneurs from the Biobío and La Araucanía regions, is part of the Arriba Todos Juntos program, promoted by CMPC, which seeks to support small and medium-sized businesses, entrepreneurs and managers of the tourism sector, with health plans, kits and protocols that allow economic reactivation in a safe way.
“It is a good initiative by CMPC who cared and did not leave us alone. We in the field did not have these hygiene products and for us this is the time when we need it the most to institutions like this give us support, so it is very important”, assures the entrepreneur.