The following is a postcard from Lydia Sorensen, GlobalGiving's In-the-Field Representative in Guatemala, about her recent visit to MayaWorks.
In the town of San Juan Comalapa (sometimes known here by its Mayan name “Chixot”) a group of Mayan women are using the skills they have known practically their whole lives to craft more opportunities for themselves and their children. Most of these women learned to weave and sew from a very young age, and without the opportunity to attend school and gain an education, have been trying to provide an income for their families by making and selling clothing like colorful fajas (belts) and huipiles (blouses) that are similar to the ones their grandmothers made decades ago. With the help of MayaWorks, and the scholarships, resources, and training they provide, these artists in San Juan Comalapa are able to send their children not only to primary school but to help them get all the way through high school.
María Teresa Chipix and her sister Angela are two of the artists in San Juan Comalapa. Not only do both the sisters weave, but Angela’s husband and two daughters are also gifted weavers. In the courtyard of their house, Angela shows the belt that she is making (it will take about two weeks to complete just one belt), while her daughter works diligently on a huipil across from her (the detailed work on the huipil will take months to finish). Inside, tucked in a corner next to bags of corn, Angela’s husband is weaving a scarf, the shuttle flying as he adds rows of colors. He works full-time in the field but earns extra income by weaving when he’s at home. Leaving Angela’s home (across the way is her oldest daughter, weaving a huipil in her front yard), silence reins, interrupted only by the steady thunk of the shuttle—the sound of a family working together for a better future.
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