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Why Mochila's Matter

Statement bags with global statement. Mochila's are more than just fashion, learn more about the women weavers of the Wayuu Tribe in Colombia.

WHY MOCHILA'S MATTER

At first glance, it's a statement bag. It catches your eye and draws you in with it's bright colors, fluttery tassels, and woven details. 

But it's so much more than just another bag. 

It's a livelihood. A tradition. A culture. 

 

THE MOCHILA STORY  

In Spanish, "Mochila" (pronounced mo-chill-a) means backpack. But in Colombia, it means a female member of the Wayuu Tribe spent 15-30 days weaving in a traditional style, pouring heart and soul into each bag. Wayuu women are taught crochet and weaving from an early age and the sole income for many families depends on crafting. Every Mochila bag is one-of-a-kind, unique to the weaver, telling stories through vibrant colors and magnificent patterns, each related to an object or aspect of Wayuu belief. The fabrication is such a uniquely feminine activity that they are sometimes symbolically viewed as an extension of the womb. In Wayuu culture, Mochila making is a sign of intelligence, creativity, and wisdom. 


WHO ARE THE WAYUU

The Wayuu (pronounced Wah-yoo) are an indigenous tribe living in the desert of La Guajira. There are thought to be 100,000 to 300,000 Wayuu people living across Colombia and Venezuela. Wayuu life is simple, yet rich in culture and history. They live in small settlements called "rancherias" and are one of a few remaining matrilienial groups worldwide, with women playing the most important role in Wayuu life; children bear the mothers' last name, and females are regarded as family and cultural leaders.  

WHY IT'S IN DANGER

Amid a desert geography and the impact of El Niño, La Guajira is under an extreme drought.  Additionally, factors such as the closure of the border with Venezuela and corruption mean aid doesn't always reach those in need. Up to 15,000 children in La Guajira suffer chronic malnutrition today due to a lack of basic necessities. In 2016, 80 children of the Wayuu Tribe died of hunger. The risks to this indigenous group are great, and the time to help is now. 

 

HOW YOUR MOCHILA PURCHASE HELPS

Our aim to help preserve the weaving tradition and improve the quality of life and living conditions for the traditional weavers, their families, and their community. Your FOSTERIE Mochila purchase ensures that money and opportunity is going directly back into the community. Due to the recent droughts, the current focus is helping to provide food and water where it's needed the most. As the situation and needs change, we will reflect the latest focus here.

 

AUTHENTICITY IS KEY

Considering a comparison bag on Amazon or eBay? Here's what you should know. FOSTERIE Mochila bags come straight from the source. They're hand selected and shipped directly from Colombia (with a quick pre-purchase pit-stop in Tennessee, USA for additional processing). A quality bag will have a thick, sturdy weave, and a tight strap, free of stray threads. The top edges, though floppy as is the bags' nature, will have a straight edge construction without highs and lows in the perimeter. Tassels will be thick, not stringy, and the overall pattern will be clear. There are many cases of Mochila's made in China, and though nothing against China, it won't be a true Mochila. Price wise, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.


LOVE YOUR MOCHILA

For every day. For special occasions. At the beach, at a festival, as a stylish and lightweight travel bag. It's guaranteed to turn heads and add color to your closet. We want you to love it and we want to see you rocking it! Tag @FosterieShop and #Fosterie so we can see and share!