Local connection to Bolivian women

Bev Edwards Sawatzky was supposed to be recuperating from a thyroid operation when she received an invitation to go to Bolivia to meet with indigenous women there.

“At first I thought, I can’t go,” she recalls now. But she went, and credits the Bolivian women with healing her, by sharing their lives with her.

In Bolivia, Sawatzky discovered the beautiful sweaters that the women knitted, by hand, typically from soft gentle Alpaca wool. But they had no market for their sweaters. Sawatzky, then a resident of Edmonton, began bringing shipments of sweaters and setting up displays for Canadians to see.

The Bolivian women now have a market, and are using their new income to improve education and health in their villages.

But it’s not the story of a Canadian woman doing something good for less privileged women elsewhere, Sawatzky insists. “They have given me far more than anything I’ve done for them.”

Sawatzky is the daughter of long-time Oyama resident Gwen Edwards. She and her husband Don moved to Oyama two years ago.

This coming Sunday evening, May 15, at 7:00 p.m., Bev Sawatzky will tell her story with pictures and samples of Bolivian handiwork, at Winfield United Church. The event is free.