In memory of two artisan partners

by Campbell Plowden

Alida Soria, Bora native artisan from Brillo Nuevo with daughter. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Alida Soria, Bora native artisan from Brillo Nuevo with daughter. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

One of the best parts of this work is getting to know people who live in small Amazon communities. They welcome us into their homes, feed us, let us play with their children, and photograph their daily lives to help others appreciate their culture and challenges.

The toughest part is realizing that some mothers and daughters who have sold us crafts succumb to the harsher conditions in these beautiful remote places. Two summers ago I was shocked to learn that Alida Soria, a young Bora artisan from Brillo Nuevo, died along with her husband and young daughter when a tree fell during a sudden storm when they were camped by a river.

Carlina Davila, Huitoto artisan from Puca Urquillo. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Carlina Davila, Huitoto artisan from Puca Urquillo. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

I just learned that Carlina Davila, a Huitoto artisan from Puca Urquillo who was the mother of seven children recently died from uterine cancer – an affliction that has taken six other women in the area in the recent years. Girls who are 15 years and under are now being vaccinated against HPV, but older women in the region are still quite vulnerable to these afflictions. These incidents strengthen my resolve to help improve the economic and health conditions in this region.

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