May You Find Rest.
Amparo Carmen del Valle Velis
50 years old, El Salvador CA
Amparo is a Godly family woman who has shown nothing but strength to those around her. She has three daughters, two sons, and four grandchildren, all of whom either live with her or in the same community as her.
Amparo has been dealt a tough hand in life, but she is forever grateful for the things God has blessed her with. When the Civil War of El Salvador in 1972, she witnessed first hand the turmoil that it threw her country into. She saw the deterioration of the government, recruitment of child soldiers, and the death of innocent civilians. Her father was among the many casualties of the war, leaving Amparo with a single mother who was barely able to support her family. Almost being recruited by the guerrillas, Amparo’s mother took her out of school and into hiding. Because of this, she was only able to complete second grade, and she was expected to work in order to help support her family. During this time she worked alongside her grandfather, a fisherman, who taught her how to tie and weave different types of fishing nets. Together, they developed this skill into the tying of hammocks, another essential product in El Salvador.
Throughout her life, Amparo has developed this talent and has learned how to weave many different types of hammocks. She says she has grown to love this art form because very few people make hammocks by hand; everything is done by machine now. She finds joy in knowing that this is a talent that has been passed down through her family and will continue to live on after she is gone. Before the death of her husband, he built two contraptions with which she is able to weave hammocks more easily. One is two bamboo poles set about six feet apart where she is able to weave the body of the hammock. The second is a bicycle wheel that is connected to two hooks; as she spins the wheel two ropes intertwine, creating the ends of the hammock that allow it to be hung.
As a single mother, Amparo struggles to provide for her family and their daily needs. Aside from selling her hammocks, she brings in a low wage washing clothes once a week for a family who lives very far from her community. When choosing essentials like food and water, she always goes with the cheaper option and stretches her money to make the most of it. She even resorts to selling her hammocks at a price much lower than what they are valued at in order to have a little extra money to provide for her family.
She has expressed to us that one of her goals is to teach all of her daughters how to weave just like her grandfather taught her. She wants their legacy to live on and to continue for generations to come. She also hopes that her daughters are able to continue their education, graduate from high school, attend college, and obtain a supportive job. Seeing her daughters overcome the poverty and violence that they currently live in would be one of her biggest accomplishments, she says.
Our team first came in contact with Amparo about two years ago. Ever since meeting her and hearing her story, there has been a desire to get to know her better and to educate her on how to have the means to support herself and her entire family. We know that she is an amazingly talented and loving woman, and we see potential in her. We desire to walk with her towards the realization of her goals. We desire to see an empowered woman with a well-educated and thriving family.