This morning I met with the president of the artisan group, Ajbatz’ Bal’ to discuss and place orders to be shipped later in the year. Ana speaks Tz’utujil and Spanish. She is a very friendly and caring and works hard to help her husband in supporting their family.
In the group all the members work and money is divided- some of the women hand dye the cotton yarn, some do other aspects of preparing the yarn, others weave, others sew- but all money is divided.
At present their ‘store’ is in Ana’s house but they have already started to build a small building next to Ana’s house to house the store and a small museum which will depict the process and art of dyeing with natural plant dyes and the art of backstrap weaving. The walls of the building are rough cut slabs of bark with a tin roof– but wonderful progress for the group.
In the past you had to follow a little foot path through coffee trees to get to Ana’s house but now she and her husband bought the piece of ground in front of their house to serve as an entrance to the future store. They had to take out a loan of $400 at the bank to purchase the approximately 15′ X 40′ piece of ground. They hope soon to have a sign put up at the road pointing to the store.
We will meet with the entire group next week to present a grant to the group. Ajbatz Ball was one of the groups to receive a grant from Education And More to help them expand their business.
There are 26 women in this cooperative and 96 children among all the women. The sales are really a huge benefit to their families because they are all trying to get an educaiton for their children and it has been a struggle. Educating their children was one of the reasons they started their cooperative.
Blessings to this wonderful group of women!