Wooly Embrace

Wooly Embrace by Rebecca Irons

 In the aftermath of the enforced sterilizations of 300,000+ indigenous Quechua women in 1990s Peru, traditional kinship lines were forever disrupted, with many women’s hopes of having more children destroyed in the tragedy. Now, for many of the brave survivors, their animals not only reflect a way of earning a wage without the same physical labor required of farming with their hands (which many are unable to do after the violent operations that left ongoing scars and wounds), but have come to present an alternative outlet for frustrated maternal affection. In a poignant, stolen moment of tenderness, Hilaria cuddles up to her llama as the love radiates through the embrace. So much more than a source of income or a pet—this woolly camelid has become her kin, offering some small compense for that never-to-be family that was cruelly stolen from her long ago.