By: Anna Chen.
In a home virtually empty of furniture, Maria* shows me the wood boards lying among sawdust, glue, paint and work tools. Donning a white face mask, she squats down and begins to saw at a board. These are the first steps of making what will become large wooden mirror frames, a craft she learned from the internet. Each takes several hours to complete, including embellishing the frames with ornate golden decorations. But this is the easy bit.
Maria tells me the most difficult part is getting people to buy them off the streets of Quito, where she peddles them for about USD10 apiece. With modest profit margins, Maria must sell dozens to feed her family of four every month.