Posts Tagged ‘daily lives’

Helping Artisans in Their Daily Lives

July 12, 2012

Most of the artisans we work with live in the rural areas of Guatemala and they all have similar styles of homes.  The homes are really small in comparison to homes in the U.S. and typically have none of the luxuries.

Most homes have the kitchen on the outside of the home because the home consists of just one room– the all in one room– which is used for a bedroom/ living room.

Some homes are made of a clay/mud mixture with a bamboo type of poles to construct the walls. Adobe homes are quite common because the family can make the adobe  bricks themselves and not need to buy them.

This home is made of adobe bricks but was painted white at one time. Many homes are never painted — the adobe is left natural– like the photo below.

Of course some of our artisans simply do not have money for even minor repairs to their houses but Education And More is looking into ways to help all our artisans have better homes, repaired roofs, sanitary outhouses — because with better sanitary living conditions the health of the whole family is improved.

This mother and her children live in dire conditions and need help in so many areas of their lives.  We have helped the mother to earn a fair wage with her weaving so she can support her family , helped with shoes, school supplies and other necessities but we will now be emphasizing on helping  to improve the living conditions by helping with the repair of the homes.

Would you like to go to Guatemala and help??

Be sure to watch for news on our website and in this blog about how we will be helping repair the artisans homes and sharing  the Gospel of Jesus Christ through Vacation Bible School and Adult Bible Study classes.  Mission teams will be forming in the coming months!

Educational Weaving Tour to Guatemala

June 20, 2012

Do you want to see how Fair Trade benefits artisans and their families and learn more about Fair Trade?

Do you want to learn more about Education And More?

Do you love to travel?

Do you want to meet Mayan artisans and get to know them in their daily lives?

Do love textiles and would you like to learn how to weave on a backstrap loom?

Come to Guatemala with Education And More on their Educational Weaving Tour to Guatemala.

We have 2 trips scheduled for 2013 — one trip in January and the other in August.

Check out the webpage for more information!

Fair Trade Benefits Our Artisans

May 20, 2012

Juan and his family are extremely poor.

They live in a small, poor village on one of the mountains near Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. Juan and his wife are illiterate but he has a skill that gives him a little income to help his family– he carves backstrap looms by hand.  Backstrap looms are used by most of the Mayan women to weave all types of fabric for household use and to also make clothing.  However, backstrap looms last a long time so Juan’s sales are not great because women don’t need to replace them very often.

Juan and his wife have 13 children and they live in a one room home with a dirt floor kitchen attached.

We have talked with Juan and his wife about their needs and the first thing they mentioned was a new house or repairs to their present house.  The second thing they talked of was needing sufficient food for their children. The third item was help with sending their children to school.

Our work with the artisans not only gives them dignity in their work and in receiving a fair wage for that work but with the profits that we have from selling their products we return it to Guatemala to help better the lives of the artisans and their families.

Juan is a humble man – he doesn’t want handouts but really wants to work. With his carving work  and the extra benefits through our Fair Trade work, we are hoping to help  Juan and his family.

We would like to thank all our customers that have bought Juan’s backstrap looms!  Every sale helps him and his family earn money to be able to live a little better!

If you would like to help support our project for Educational Support of our artisan families please donate to our Educational Support Fund or sponsor one of Juan’s children to attend school.

If you would like to order one of Juan’s handcarved looms check out our webstore or order any one of our other Fair Trade products to help another artisan!

Dinner Time!

April 21, 2012

Our artisan groups are so typical of women around the world that I just have to smile about our behavior whenever we gather.  Just like in my home if company stops by we will share our meal and table with our friends.

A delicious lunch of vegetable soup and tamalitos!

Whenever we are working at one of the groups and it is close to lunch time you can be assured of them having a meal ready for you.  We have had huge feasts and sometimes if it is after the typical lunch time or early for lunch they will serve us a bottle of pure water or soda pop and a piece of cake or other snack.

Cooking a huge pot of chicken and vegetables for us!

We visit the groups often and have gotten into the practice of trying to time our visits so they don’t feel obligated to serve a meal because no matter how often I tell them that we don’t want or don’t have time for a meal — it will almost always be waiting for us.

They always made it special by putting down a nice weaving as a tablecloth!

Our artisans friends never sit at the table with us. They serve us and then take their food somewhere else to sit and eat -- a cultural difference.

We have always enjoyed getting to know our artisans better with each visit as we all get better acquainted and  realize that we all have the same basic hopes and desires for the future and for our families and look forward to giving our guests the best of what we have in our homes.

Today one of the chickens was killed for a lunch time feast — a delicious soup along with homemade tortillas and lots of laughter and chatting.  Ahhh!  Friends!

Making tortillas by hand.

4 Generations Working Together

January 14, 2012

It is not often you find 4 generations of women still working together in everyday chores but at one of our artisans groups that is indeed what happens frequently.  While the mission team was busy building their new sewing center building the women were busy making delicious lunches, caring for children, etc. One group of women included daughters, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

Big sister carries little sister on her back while mom, grandmother and great-grandmother do the cooking.

Mother and grandmother make tortillas on the wood burning stove.

Grandmother washes her hair in a free moment!

Great grandmother, grandmother and mother make tamalitos for the big lunch.  They all sit on the dirt floor of the kitchen and work away– making approximately 80-90 of the delicious tamalitos. Great grandmother is 94 years old but still very a very vital and active part of the family.

Great grandmother lives about 1/4 mile away with another daughter but walks the dirt path to help out whenever she can.

Grandmother and two of her daughters.  Like women from generations past these women continue sharing their knowledge with the next generation — from cooking, to child rearing to weaving.

We have been working with this artisan group for about 4 years and they are such a warm and giving group of women it is a delight to be able to help them!

Learn more about Artesana’s T’zaput on our website.

Take The First Right, Then …………….

December 8, 2011

On a recent trip to Guatemala, Jennifer, one of our Board members met up with me to work with and visit the artisan groups.  One of the new groups we are working with is located about 45 minutes off the main road down a dirt road and Jenny was really enjoyed all the ‘directions’ to finally end up at the little village– turn right at the tienda and now take the next 5 rights, be sure to take the road to the right at the fork in the road, etc.

It is a beautiful area in the Queche department of Guatemala and a lot of peaches and apples are grown here because of the altitude and  cooler weather.

Because  this community is so far removed from any local markets it is difficult for them to be able to sell their weavings.  They do not know how to sew except for a simple hand sewing stitch however they are master weavers on the backstrap loom!

The artisans are weaving new clergy stoles and table cloths for our January order and I am really anxious to get down there to see them and see the new items.

Corn drying in the house.

The women are shy around us because they do not have a lot of visitors to their community but hopefully we will eventually form a lasting relationship just like we have with our other groups. Be sure to watch this blog and our website for new items in January and more about the ladies of Chuchipaca!