Posts Tagged ‘lake atitlan’

Mission Trip to Guatemala in October!

May 17, 2013

We are really excited to tell you about our October trip — a trip to really make a difference in the lives of school children and teachers!  Take your choice of what you would like to do while on this trip– help with repairs and building or teach Vacation Bible School.


We will be working at a small school in the western highlands of Guatemala.  This remote little school is situated high on a volcanic mountain and contains only 3 classrooms and 3 teachers. Because of limited resources they need our help with repairs and with a building project at the school and have also invited us to present VBS to the children at the school.


You will have time to:

  • your choice of work projects — building/repairs or teaching Vacation Bible School
  • meet the artisans we work with and visit their communities and homes
  • maybe see how they make those delicious tortillas by hand
  • learn a little of a Mayan language – T”zutujil, Kakchiquel or K’iche
  • visit other villages in the rural highlands  and see beautiful Lake Atitlan
  • see the colonial city of Antigua
  • share God’s love while helping our neighbors in Guatemala
  • maybe teach a little English in our spare time at the school
  • view weaving demonstrations on a backstrap loom and foot pedal loom
We will be building a new kitchen stove for the school!

We will be building a new kitchen stove for the school!

Learn more about this trip of a lifetime at our website and then email us for more information!

Trip dates — September 28 thru October 7th

Hurry before the trip fills up!

Visit beautiful Lake Atitlan

Visit beautiful Lake Atitlan

Help us present Vacation Bible School to the little children!

Help us present Vacation Bible School to the little children!

Meet the artisans and see their villages.

Meet the artisans and see their villages.


Beautiful cathedral – La Merced – in Antigua.

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!

Praying for Families of Guatemala

October 26, 2011

Once again a hurricane is due to hit Guatemala and the families of the western mountainous area are bracing for a deluge of rain.  These past weeks have seen lots of rain which brings mudslides and landslides down the volcanic slopes and now another round of rain will be coming.

Rocks and boulders have been ruining the roads in Guatemala

Mission team digging out the mud that buried a home

Education And More helps many families in the Lake Atitlan and Queche areas and they are very vulnerable to landslides caused by the rain.  Hurricanes in this area are devastating not because of the wind but because of the huge amounts of rain.  The storms seem to sit still as they pour out the  rain and the destruction begins.

Because of the recent rains many roads have been destroyed and homes and lives lost.  Many villages are clinging to the sides of the mountains and when the rains drive the mud and boulders down the mountains it destroys all in its path.

San Antonio Palopo situated on the mountain side and lake shore

It is almost impossible to  move to a safer area because many of these families are living on $2-$3 a day and they do not have money to pick up and relocate.   Also in many instances, their families have lived in the communities through the generations and they have no desire to leave.

Terrible destruction and loss of life at this home due to mudslides a year ago.

Please join our hands and pray for the families of Guatemala in this new threat of Hurricane Rina.



Visiting a New Artisan Group

January 27, 2011

Today we visited another little village on the shores of Lake Atitlan to start conversation with an artisan group that we are considering helping in our Fair Trade Handcraft division.  The Director of our Sponsorship Program told us about this group and a little about their background so with her information we went to San Antonio Palopo to visit with the group.

San Antonio Palopo

San Antonio is a really pretty little village but it clings to the side of the mountain which is a problem when storms bring massive amounts of water.

San Antonio Palopo was, in my opinion, the hardest hit of the villages around Lake Atitlan during Tropical Storm Agatha last summer and this familial artisan group suffered horrendous tragedies from the storm.  There were 6 family members that died during the storm and within the extended family they lost 8 of their homes due to the mudslides.

One of the destroyed homes.

We visited with Cristina, who had lost her 6 yr old son, her brother and his wife and their 3 daughters during the mudslides along with all of their homes.  The grandfather and grandmother also lost their home and have only a little lean-to to live in at present. Both of Cristina’s sisters lost their homes too!

The mudslide came right down this mountain

If, after more conversation and studies, we decide to work with this group, it will be a while before they can begin producing because all their weavings and looms and  their other handcrafts were lost in the mudslides too.  They just completely lost everything!

It was so very hard for us to grasp the massive tragedy for this family artisan group and how they are coping. They need a lot of help to get back on their feet with their weaving business but also time to heal and grieve from the losses.

We spent several hours with this group today and will meet with them again on the weekend to help them understand how our organization works with artisans and also to get to know each other.  Our work is based on mutual trust and relationships that continue and grow for the artisans as well as our organization and we must have a firm foundation with all information shared to begin to work with them.

We will present the information at the next Board meeting and make decisions then but definitely this group is in desperate need of help.

So much loss for one so young!

What's left of their workroom after the mud and water came through.

Be sure to read and learn about Fair Trade on our website and see how we work with our artisan groups.

Tortilla Girls

June 5, 2009

We just uploaded a video to YouTube that was shot on our last visit to Guatemala.  These two little girls are the daughters of one of the artisans in our Fair Trade groups.  I was there to check on our order with their mother and they kept running in to talk with ‘mama’ and then run back to the kitchen.  I finally got up to go see what they were doing and they were making tortillas.  This is a typical stove that most cooking is done on — very similar to our outdoor grills here in the States. They were really  proud of themselves in being able to make the tortillas!

Enjoy the video!

Green in Guatemala

May 7, 2009

With Earth Day just past in April, my mind keeps coming back to how better care for this earth the Lord has placed us on.

Here in Guatemala it is difficult for many people to be very  concerned about environmental concerns because of their daily struggle for living and raising their families.  However, I feel much of what they do has a smaller impact on the environment that our lives in the U.S.


This is a school project to collect trash and fill plastic water bottles with the trash to use as insulation for an information center in San Juan La Laguna.

Many ride a bus or bicycle for transportation and many just simply walk to where they are going in the villages mainly because they can´t afford vehicles.  If they go a longer distance they might use the public transportation   which is often the chicken bus or ride in the back of the pickup.Copy of Guate May 08 095

However, school children are beginning to be taught how to care for the environment at school and there are even reforestation projects around the lake that are taking place after Hurricane Stan in 2005.

Very few Styrofoam containers are seen because there is not as much take out of food as in the States.  Most, when eating, out actually sit down and eat in a restaurant or even at a street cart that has a couple of stools for customers to use.

Clerks ask if you need a bag for your purchases because they expect you to have a tote with you.  Locals buy water or juice in a small plastic bag because that is cheaper than a plastic bottle of water.washing clothes2

Many women around Lake Atitlan wash their clothing at the lakeshore.

Most cook with wood here in the highlands which does cause problems of deforestation but there are laws that you can only cut dry/dead wood. There are non-profits organizations working to get more families to use an efficient wood burning kitchen stove.zaputgirl

As Guatemalan schoolchildren become more aware of being eco-friendly hopefully attitudes and ideas will change when they become adults.