Alexa Therese

Designer + Illustrator

248

4

Alberto Huamani of Chakruna

Alberto is an indigenous Peruvian, self-taught artisan, father, friend, and the owner of a small shop, Chakruna Peru, in the heart of Cusco's San Blas neighborhood.

I met Alberto by chance, while working with a non-profit in Cusco. One thing led to another, and two hours later we were sharing a beer, deep in discussion about the realities of being an artisan in Peru. 

You'll find many other artisans sprawled out beside their goods on blankets in the plaza, listening to music and calling to tourists, but you won't find Alberto there. You'll find him hard at work in the shop, cutting leather, sizing shoes, and gluing soles.

Alberto's story is remarkable, yet somehow familiar to the stories of the indigenous Peruvian population as a whole. He faced a childhood of persecution by Sendero Luminoso and homelessness and drug addiction in the streets of Lima before learning his trade. Since then, he has risen to become a respected business owner, known for his skill and integrity. 

I hope that I've captured some of the magic behind this little artisan shop, and if you ever find yourself in Cusco you'll most certainly find a friend in Alberto. (Bonus points if you bring a beer to share!) 

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