With Fair Trade, Llamkay Tuki has received training on how to produce a quality product and how to run a business. They purchase all of the gourds from an area on the northern coast of Peru called Trujillo, and they have learned how to pick out the gourds of the best quality, without cracks or faults. They also have to be prepared for fluctuating prices of the gourds because some years bring better and more abundant crops than others. Knowing that the price can change year-to-year, they can set aside a little extra money as an emergency fund.
The area where the members of Llamkay Tuki live, Cochas, is a colony of artisans where almost 80% of the population specialize in carved gourd art. Llamkay Tuki was selected for the Bridge of Hope Fair Trade project out of a large pool of qualified artisans. The work requires great concentration and skill. They must wash the gourd, draw on the design in pencil, burn the design, carve, wash, paint, wash, shine, and then make any cuts or attach any strings depending on what product they are making. Daniel specializes in burning the designs into the gourd. Rosa specializes in carving the thin and delicate lines that outline the designs.
The members of Llamkay Tuki are Evangelical Christians who strive to practice group solidarity and equity. Daniel says, “Fair Trade has helped us a lot to work on the quality and know how to buy gourds of top quality. It also has helped us improve our living situation. The other groups in Cochas only work for themselves, but we have learned with Fair Trade to share equally.” Their vision for the future is to continue increasing their orders and improving their workshop because it is not yet complete. They would like to be able to purchase a few new tools to increase the range of their work.