October 28, 2018
On October 23rd, we met with the coordinator of Project Quetzal’s weaving group of 7 women to discuss the outcomes of our 3-month project of supplying them with weaving materials. The purpose of this project was to assist some of the families with the greatest needs in the village. After selling their weavings in the community, they would be able to save some of the money to purchase more materials; help pay for their children’s school fees; buy more nutritious food; and help with other family expenses.
The 7 women were chosen because they are expert weavers, widows or single mothers, or have children with special needs. The coordinator speaks Kaqchikel (the Mayan language spoken in the area) and Spanish. The rest of the women speak only Kaqchikel and do not read or write.
The coordinator has been holding meetings to teach them how to manage their sales and money. She helped them write down how much money was spent on materials, the time spent on making each weaving, and priced them accordingly. In the past, the women would try to keep track in their heads, but often forgot. When they received money, they would spend it all and not save any to purchase additional materials. The value of good nutrition and the importance of education are also discussed at the meetings.
Our meeting with the coordinator was great! She is competent, organized, and very dedicated to helping the women. We are very lucky to have found her. All the women have sold 2 pieces of weaving and have one more piece to be sold. She has enjoyed working with the women and teaching them to have more control over their lives. She said, “It has been very important for me to get to know these women in my community. We don’t just say hello now, we sit together and weave and talk about ourselves and our lives.”
Then we drove to the small village of Buena Vista to meet the rest of the weavers. They seemed a little nervous to meet us, but then opened up as each of them spoke and told us how much they appreciated the help of Project Quetzal and the opportunity to help their children. When they showed us their weavings, they were literally beaming and so proud of their culture and heritage that continues through their work.
They set up their looms so we could see their process. Then they wanted us to visit their houses. Due to time, we could only visit three. What a privilege it was for us to be invited into a glimpse of Mayan life in a small village!