Saray: The Artist who Transforms Garbage Into Art

Saray Margarita Rojas is an enterprising woman who currently works as a stylist for her own hairdresser in the San Luis neighborhood. Her eyes are clear and bright and her hair is wavy and short.

The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou

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In her salon, she is the one who does everything: from haircuts to hairstyles and manicures. Not only is she the boss, but she is also the only worker at her premises.

When there are no customers, Saray enjoys sewing, only, unlike any other sewing lover, Saray sews with can rings, wires, cables, old cassette tapes, and grocery bags.

Neighbors appreciate her and buy her work. What few know is the painful history behind this talent. Saray's toys as a child were logs and sticks from the field. Pretending that these were dolls, she made cribs for them and hung them in the trees.

Being the fifth daughter of nine children, Saray frequented the garbage dump to collect animal bones and sell them, thus helping her brothers to get their daily bread because being such a large family, food was not enough for everyone.

Looking for a better life, Saray left her family. She studied at night while working during the day in a family home. Despite her tough childhood, she had managed to get by. For Saray nothing was impossible. Proof of this was her wedding dress which she sewed herself.

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Saray makes owl-shaped baskets with pine trees, wire egg cups, blankets with samples of discarded fabrics, purses and dresses with bags and tin rings, cushions with tree fiber, figures of light bulbs, among others.

Neighbors, friends, and even street dwellers are the ones who bring Saray whatever material they find so that she can turn them into beautiful pieces of decoration or clothing. Her dream now is to make a wedding dress for another woman, for which she says she will need at least 1000 bags.

In the Mormon church that Saray attends, she has met foreign missionaries who have bought her work. Now the bags with tin rings made by Saray circulate in countries like Brazil, Peru, Chile, and Guatemala.

Today, Saray only watches over the happiness of her son Rolando Pérez Rojas, who works as a head nurse at the Nuestra Señora de la Paz Clinic. This wonderful woman is living proof that resilience, patience, and creativity are the best tools to start a business and achieve a fulfilling life.

Due to the current pandemic, she has not been able to continue serving her clients in her hair salon. However, she has used the time at home to continue knitting with recycled materials and fabric. Due to her age, her hands become very sleepy and she has not been able to keep up the same pace as before, but she still has many finished jobs for sale for people who know and value her work.

Anyone who sees Saray's face, so smiling and kind, would not imagine the harsh story behind her work. But that is the lesson that she leaves for all female entrepreneurs: that adverse circumstances are not an excuse to be able to achieve success, they must be turned into an opportunity

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