Today we started a new project introducing techniques new to the women, weaving with wire. We made earrings that built on the review project on Tuesday and worked with very basic wire weaving. The women loved the earrings and learned the weaving technique quickly. Wire weaving isn’t that complicated, rather it just takes attention to detail and the ability to follow a pattern. Paired with the jewelry making skills the women already know, this project was the perfect balance of new information integrating with existing knowledge.
The class is slowly growing as several women from past classes have asked to return. Today we jumped to 11 students, with another longtime student of mine asking to join class on Monday. Still, even with the increasing numbers, I am enjoying this group of women tremendously. All of the women are committed to learning the technique and doing it correctly. There were several women who made mistakes in the construction of the earrings and, instead of letting it slide, took apart and remade the earrings. Others helped each other along, giving tips and advice on how to get the best woven loops.
Today the women complained about the length of time of my stay, asking me to stay longer. I explained to them that my long trip is in the summer but this didn’t stop them from insisting I stay for several months at a time! For me, this validates the importance of Ruraq Maki’s education program as the women are getting enough out of the classes to want to have them for longer periods of time. At the very least the classes are a break from the mundane life in the prison, giving them something to look forward to during their long sentences.
The women have also begun to ask me what types of classes we are going to have in the summer. I reminded them that in the summer I hoped to bring Señor Quispe back for another leather working class, which they requested at the end of last year’s leather working class. Again, the question itself is a big success for Ruraq Maki, as it means the women now trust that we will come back and provide educational workshops. This trust means so much to me because there are so many times people promise to come back and help the women and they never do.
Many of the women barely finished today’s project, meaning they did not have time to finish the project from Tuesday. Due to our time constraints the women decided to keep Tuesday’s project over the weekend as “homework”. I hope on Monday these projects will be complete, as they are looking great and I am excited to photograph the women’s work and share!