Posts Tagged ‘San Antonio Palopo’

Textiles and a Lake……….. Beautiful Blues!!

January 19, 2012

San Antonio Palopo sits perched on the side of a mountain overlooking the beautiful Lake Atitlan.

Our artisan group  in this village is known for the beautiful textiles in shades of blues, greens and purples.  The women’s blouses are made of these textiles as well as many of their home textiles.

We have been working with this group for about 2 years and are helping them with more orders so they are able to earn enough money to educate and care for their children.  This group lost much in the mudslides during the tropical storm in 2010 — family members, homes, their looms and sewing machines and so much more.

Today’s meeting was spent working on orders to be shipped in a few months.  They are such wonderful weavers and are capable of making very unique handcrafts.

We hope to help more in the future with a sewing center or sewing machines and more educational opportunities for their children.

One of the unique accessories that the women in this group wear is the cintas or belts/ bands around their hair and heads.

The hair bands are wrapped around their long hair — into a long ponytail then the long wrapped ponytail is wound around their head and held secure with the ends of the bands.  They rarely ever leave their house without their hair put up this way.

Education And More will have some of their unique belts and hair bands available soon in the webstore at our website.

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.

San Antonio Palopó

February 3, 2009

We took this morning and visited 2 villages close to Panajachel– Santa Catarina and San Antonio Palopó.  Both are very poor villages but they do try to attract a tourism market with lots of little artisan shops in the streets. Many families use the front room as a little shop and live in the back rooms.

The best way to get to these villages is to ride in the back of a pickup with the locals at the price of 5 quetzales which is about 65 cents.  San Antonio Palopó is perched on the side of a volcanic mountain and just seems to be hanging on to keep from sliding into Lake Atitlan.  To tour the town it is necessary to climb steps or descend steps!  It is so steep there are few level roads in the town.

People grow a lot of vegetables in terraced little plots of ground and you can look up the mountain and see terraces all over.  Onions and carrots are two of the major crops grown in SAP.

Many of the women carry their laundry down the steep slopes to the waters of Lake Atitlan to do the family washing. It is much more difficult to bring the heavy wet clothes back up the mountain.  Another nonprofit is planning to eventually build a community pila (sink) in the town so the women don’t have to wash clothes in the lake.

A lot of artisans from Santa Catarina and San Antonio Palopó take their handcrafts into Panajachel and walk the streets selling because they don’t have many tourists visit their villages.  In one of the artisan shops in San Antonio Palopó was a little girl of about 10-12 years and she was making a cloth belt. I stopped to talk to her and of course she wanted to sell me a belt but I wanted to find out if she was in school.  She said her name was Maria and yes she was going to school but when I asked her what grade she was in she would not tell me and would only ask what I wanted  to buy.   I can only figure that her Mom keeps her home from school to help with the work.  It is so hard to see these young girls working and not being educated—so many selling trinkets in the street or in shops!

We have explained to our artisan groups that we do not want children exploited–  we want to help educate them and therefore we ask that no children work on the handcrafts that we buy from them.

So as I see this happening in the streets of Panajachel and in the villages it reinforces my desire to get more girls and boys into the schools, especially for longer than the typical 2-3 years!

Your Question Please……….

July 15, 2008

We have received several questions recently about Education And More so decided to post the questions and answers here for everyone to read. If you have a question ask it in the comment section below.

What schools have you helped and how have you helped them? We have helped Nuevo Amanecer Christian School, San Antonio Palopo Quince de Septiembre School, San Jorge Rural Mixta, Palestina Rural and Tierra Linda Rural Mixta schools. Projects include furnishing school libraries with Spanish language childrens books, outfitting hundreds of children with needed school supplies, providing teacher resources and supplies to help teachers teach more effectively, purchasing teacher desks and bookshelves for the classrooms, volunteers teaching English in classes and helping with VBS camp.

Is illiteracy really a problem in Guatemala? Don’t all children go to school for at least a few years? Recent official data from the government gives a figure that more than 1 million children do not attend school in Guatemala with the rate of illiteracy of 40% in the rural areas. Many estimates indicate these figures are very low— and this is in a country of 13 million total population! There are many, many children who only attend school for 1-2 years and from this you can see why illiteracy is so high. Add to that the problem that most children in the rural areas speak an indigenous dialect and try to learn Spanish when starting school which make it doubly hard for a child to learn to read and write in just a couple of years of school. Education is compulsory thru 6th grade — but not enforced.

Ask your questions!