We’re home again, but I’m still under the spell of Bolivia. Certain images swim through my mind, and one of these is of Aymara women and their beautiful clothes. Here is one area where the Quaker testimony of plain clothes has not caught on. Cultural aesthetic values tend toward bright colors and glitter. Perhaps that has to do with the harshness of the natural context, at least on the high plains where most of our Friends originated.
A beautiful shawl tells people, “I’ve arrived. I’m important.” Even among Quaker women. It also tells people the family is prosperous enough to purchase one of these costly garments. And some of the shawls are homemade, of course—knitted, embroidered or appliqued.
If the Quaker value for understatement and plainness is to catch on here, it has to come from within the culture, not imposed from the outside. In the meantime, I, personally, enjoy the display.
Following are photos taken during yearly meeting or in a Sunday morning worship service. Some of the ladies are friends of mine, others are strangers.