We work with Mujeres Analizadoras in El Tablon (spelled Ixkoqa Tzoiojya in their Kakchiquel language) which is a chicken bus ride away from Panajachel. Typically I take the bus to Solola and then have the Association´s president, Julia, meet me there to take me on to her house and meet with the women. I am not sure I could make the bus driver understand or hear me over the din of the chicken bus and get him to stop at the right spot on the highway near the group. This morning it was jammed full because it was market day in Solola— which is good because then you don´t fall out of your seat into the aisle as you careen around the mountain.
Julia was late in meeting me in Solola because she had to take her son to the clinic to have a tooth pulled- and he looked like he was really hurting when we finally met up to go to El Tablon. This is a good reminder to me of their difficult lives–no basic health care to speak of because they cannot afford it and all little problems and difficulties are made worse because of extreme poverty.
I met with several of the group members in the house they use as their work area and meeting place. We went over the order we had placed with them to check the work and make sure everything was as we wanted it but had to reject a few items because it was not as ordered. They realize the quality standards we impose are for the benefit of the group because sales will be greater with premier quality.
One of the new products we worked with them in designing was a beaded lanyard necklace. They did an excellent job in making a simple but beautiful necklace that doubles as a lanyard. These will be available on our website soon but will also be available in pricing for large quantities to women’s conventions, i.e.— your women’s church convention. For convention goers it will be a lasting remembrance that your convention organizers chose a Fair Trade lanyard that will help support women and their families in Guatemala.
Our meeting lasted over 3 hours because we are also working with them on designing more crafts. Returning to my hotel, via 2 different chicken bus ride segments, again in buses packed full was another exhilarating experience. It was so full that I had to stand on the door steps and was really hoping the driver didn’t make any fast curves because the door was always open. Finally I got to move into the bus further and got a seat when a few people got off the bus. These old U.S. school buses make for a harrowing ride around the mountain curves because the drivers I am sure make more money the more trips they can make!
Well, I am back in Panajachel and Julia’s son will feel better now that his bad tooth has been pulled. The chicken buses will continue to make their runs as fast as possible and packed with as many people as possible ………daily life in rural Guatemala.