Posts Tagged ‘women in Guatemala’

When Are You Coming Back?

March 19, 2015

Yes, that is what we hear from our women’s groups.  “When are you coming back again!”  We recently began a new mothers and toddler’s Bible study and the women have told us how much they really love the study. This new Christian Bible study has been made possible by a grant from the Lorenz Family Foundation and we are very grateful to have received the grant so that we can bring a Bible study to mothers and their little children.

Bible Study in Guatemala

The women in these groups almost exclusively speak the Mayan language of Kakchiquel so our Bible study presenters must also translate from Spanish into Kakchiquel.  Each group gathers together once a month for a Bible study and fun for the little toddlers.  They have told Araceli, our Guatemalan Program Coordinator, that they are so grateful to have the opportunity to learn about Jesus.  Because they do not have a church close to them, they rarely get to hear God’s Word and learn about His son, Jesus Christ. Of course sometimes the older children are not in school that day and they also come with mama to the Bible study!

Christian Bible Study in Guatemala

Araceli and our presenters reported that the little toddlers had a lot of fun too. The Bible study involves a tomato worm and they all learn about the “Fruit of the Spirit.” There is a lot of interaction among the presenters and the toddlers with puppets, games, crafts and real fruit to emphasize the lesson.

Learning about Jesus!

VBS in Guatemala

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girl in Guatemala

Watch for more information about our Christian outreach programs in Guatemala on our website and also  in this blog.  If you would like to receive our newsletter you can sign up on our website or also at this link.

 

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Time for Fall Shows!

September 30, 2014

We have been blessed with many volunteers — individuals, churches, schools and organizations that will be hosting a sale and showing and selling the beautiful  Fair Trade weavings and handcrafts from our artisans!

Our upcoming sales include:

  • Arkansas Fiber Extravaganza, Hot Springs Arkansas, September 18 – 20
  • Junior League Holiday Galleria, Century II Convention Center, Wichita Kansas – October 2 -5
  • Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Rochester Minnesota – October 4-5
  • Ten Thousand Villages, Lawrence Kansas, Trunk Show – October 16 – 18
  • Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Wichita Kansas – October 25
  • First Christian Church, Abilene, Texas – October 31 – November 2
  • Lake Travis United Methodist Church, Austin Texas – November 8
  • Kansas State University Fair Trade Marketplace, Student Union, Manhattan, Kansas – November 12-14
  • Bizarre Bazaar 2014, Lawrence, Kansas – November 28 – 29
  • Community Fellowship Church, Lawrenceburg, Indiana – December 4-6
  • Zion Lutheran Church, Leola Pennsylvania, December 5-6
  • Clarkston United Methodist Church, Clarkston Michigan – December 6-7
  • St. James Catholic School, Sewickley Pennsylvania, December 7 – 11
  • Tomahawk United Methodist Church, Tomahawk Wisconsin
  • Falk School, Pitttsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Environmental Charter School, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
  • St Francis Xavier Church, St Louis, Missouri
  •  Atlantic Iowa Fair Trade, Atlantic Iowa

 

Be sure to let us know if you would like to host a sale at your church or in your home.  See more information on our website here. 

Thank you to all our volunteers!  Each and every sale makes a tremendous difference in the lives of the women and their families!

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Maria’s New Home

July 2, 2014

Maria was very grateful for all the work that our mission team did on her home a couple of weeks ago because she has lived in a one room adobe house that had a dirt floor and a leaking tin roof. The walls of her home are nearly all black because of the soot / creosote from the cooking fires.  For years she just used a small campfire in the middle of the room to cook meals  and finally  was able to purchase a small wood burning stove but did not vent it to the outdoors so with both of these types of fires all the smoke stayed in the room.

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She now has a beautiful new wood burning stove that will take all the smoke out of the room and will use less wood for the cooking fire.  We are grateful to Carlos and Joe, our local friends, for helping us with our construction projects and the replacement of the stoves. We couldn’t do it without them and their team!

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Maria’s new roof means that no rain coming into the home and with a new cement floor the whole family will be warmer and drier during the rainy season! No more mud floors!   The electrical wiring in the home was dangerous so Carlos decided it was best to completely replace it and now Maria will have a much safer home.

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One of the team members gave a Prayer Shawl to Maria as a parting gift along with a prayer.  The shawls were given by Grace Lutheran Church in Tomahawk Wisconsin. Thanks so much to the women of the church that crocheted and knitted all the Prayer Shawls!

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Maria’s little daughter summed up all the changes to her home when she came and took my hand and said ‘I love my new home!”  What a precious moment!!

Our thanks to the donors, the mission team, Carlos, Joe, the local workers, the families that helped and the Board Members of E&M that had the vision to start a program like this!

 

Dynamic Little Lady!

June 27, 2014

I would like to introduce you to one of our artisans who is really a little dynamo!  She is a very tiny little lady but is filled with energy and determination.  Vicenta and her husband live in the rural highlands with their 7 children and nearby are many extended family members.

She is a master weaver on the backstrap loom and floor looms — called a foot pedal loom by the artisans — and she has taught her daughters to weave on both looms too.

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Vicenta’s family and her whole community are Kakchiquel Mayans and very typical of the wonderfully warm and friendly people we meet in the western highlands of Guatemala.  Many of these rural families don’t understand the importance of education, however, Vicenta and her husband are different in that they are adamant about their children attending school. Thanks to a sponsor in our Education Program their oldest daughter, Laura,  is able to go on to career school to become a bilingual secretary.  It is very difficult for families to afford schooling after grade school and junior high school so we are very appreciative of all our sponsors and the help it brings to the families!

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On our recent trip to Guatemala Victor and Vicenta’s home was one of the homes that our mission team repaired with the help of our local friends, Joe and Carlos.  Her kitchen was an adobe structure with a low ceiling, earthquake damage and a stove that did not vent so all the smoke stayed in the kitchen.  Victor and Vicenta decided to remove the old structure and had sufficient money to build new walls and the mission team did the floor, roof, new stove and new electrical wiring.

 

 

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The family is so happy with their new kitchen. We are really happy to see the progress this family has made through the years because of their hard work and  determination along with the Fair Trade wages they receive from Education And More  for all the products they make.

Vicenta cooking in her new kitchen!

Vicenta cooking in her new kitchen!

If you are interested in traveling to Guatemala on a mission trip to help repair homes or teach VBS be sure to check our website for new 2015 tours that will be listed soon.  We will be working in this village next year and helping several more of the artisan families by repairing their homes.

Some of the handcrafts that Vicenta and her group have made are shown here. See all of our Fair Trade handcrafts in our webstore and in our Etsy store. 

Kitchen Towels

Kitchen Towels

 

Scarf / Shoulder Wrap

Scarf / Shoulder Wrap

 

Tablecloth and napkins

Tablecloth and napkins

 

Beautiful scarves and shawls

Beautiful scarves and shawls

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Weaving Looms in Guatemala

March 30, 2014

Weaving on large floor looms, known by our artisans in the rural areas  of Guatemala as foot pedal looms, has typically been done by men.   Mayan women didn’t usually do either, weaving on foot pedal looms or sewing on sewing machines. The women however have used the backstrap loom  to weave all the cloth needs of their families.   This has been changing in recent years and now women are accomplished seamstresses on sewing machines and master weavers on the large looms.  Education And More works with three artisan groups of women that weave on various size foot pedal looms and electric sewing machines.

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Some of our groups use the extremely large looms — nearly 6 feet long and 4-5 feet wide.  They usually weave fabric not wider than about 36 inches.  Another of our groups uses a smaller floor loom that is about 4-5 feet long and  about 4 feet wide and then another group has several small looms that are about 3 feet long and 2 feet wide that they can use to weave belts and other narrow items.

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Of course all our artisan groups still use the backstrap loom and teach it to their daughters when the girls are about 7 years old.

It is interesting to see the looms in action and even more interesting to see them warp up or get the yarn ready to put on the loom.  Part 2 of this post will show how they get the yarn ready. If you would like to purchase any  of the handwoven items from our artisans please check out our Etsy shop or our webstore at Education And More

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Be sure to stop by and the all the beautiful woven items by the master weavers — the women of our artisan groups!  Fair Trade table runners, napkins, placemats, towels, purses, bags, totes, scarves, wraps and so much more.  Plus, see our selection of weaving supplies and tools such as backstrap looms, battens, weaving swords, hand dyed yarn, loom totes and bags and spindles.

 

Education And More store on Etsy

 

Our website online store at Education And More

 

Healthy Families and Healthy Homes

February 11, 2014

Education And More has initiated a program to help our artisan families improve their homes and thereby improve the health of their families.  We have helped and worked with our artisan partners for many years and even with the earnings from their handcraft businesses it is still not sufficient to fulfill the needs of the families. The needs are great and they daily confront: insufficient food, unhealthy and unsafe cooking stoves, homes needing repair, insufficient income.

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We have identified many homes that need help to repair or replace the corrugated tin roofs. The roofs are rusted and have holes in them which lets the rain in during the rainy season and since many of these homes have dirt floors the family then lives in a cold, wet, muddy home. These conditions are extremely unhealthy for the children and adults alike. It is very cool at night because the people we serve live in the highlands at an altitude of 4000 feet and more.

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The typical kitchen stove of our artisan groups is a concrete block stove similar to a barbecue grill which uses a tremendous amount of wood. Many of the stovepipes are blocked with creosote or simply not working and the smoke then fills the kitchen area which is extremely hazardous for the women who are in the kitchens cooking. Some of the women have nothing but a campfire pit in the middle of their one room home and it is a hazard for the young children as they play in the house and the little ones learning to walk. Replacing or repairing the stoves improves the respiratory health of all the family and the risk of the little children falling into the fires are eliminated. We will replace the stoves with an energy efficient stove that uses 60% or more less wood resulting in less deforestation which is prevalent in Guatemala.

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Read how you can help us in our work to help the families at our website or join us on a mission trip and help repair the homes.

Our next mission service trip to help the families

will be June 14 – 22, 2014.

Join us on this trip to help the families in Guatemala.

For more information about our Healthy Families / Healthy Homes program click here.

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Team is ready to work!

Team is ready to work!