This beautiful tote bag is called a "susu" and it is equivalent to our suitcases. the Wayuu people use it to store all their belongings then they travel. Because of its size, and the skill needed, it takes a long time to make it. This bag measures about 49 cm (19 in) in lenght, 35 cm (14 in) in height, and the strap adds 27 cm (11 in) more. Truly stunning.
The Wayuu women start learning about knitting when they are little girls watching their mothers knit. They gain more extensive training during puberty, when they are cloistered for long periods of time and their moms and grandmothers (the only people who can see them during this period) teach them sewing, weaving, cooking, and other useful skills. Wayuu women are such skilled knitters that they even knit while they walk around!
In their culture, a myth says that a spider-like deity taught a Wayuu woman how to knit. Wayuu bags represent the Wayuu women's lives. They carry their lives. The bags start “small, like our lives and the straps represent our destiny.” The designs represent plants, animals, starts, and their clans' symbols. Different colors also have different meanings: red is blood and blue is wisdom. Yellow represents happiness; beige is land; pinks and oranges are flowers; green is trees.
The selling of handcrafts is fundamental to the survival of the Wayuu people. By buying their bags you're helping their economical development and the passing on of their culture. Also, part of the profits will be donated to susceptible communities.
Each $50 purchase will help feed 5 Wayuu children through The Wayuu Taya Foundation.