Guatemala: dark goddesses in the museums, rainbow-dressed women on the streets. Men in black baseball caps with 12 gauge pistol-grip shotguns, clouds of dust, stench of exhaust, cacophony of horns. Kaleidoscope buses. More faces, and voices speaking K'iche'. Good questions, and a sense that both the Mayan and the American women are used to thinking for themselves and being listened to.
Susan and I have returned from a 10-day WARP trip to Western Guatemala, where she attended the Board meeting and we both joined 50+ women and another male on a week of bus travel to Mayan projects and markets supported by WARP.
I felt honored to be with these strong activist women of three languages. Susan was right: these are very special people. Watching the way business got done and busses filled and conversations launched and illness healed, I was reminded of the old saying
A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.
Heroic things are being done by WARP and its affiliates in the name of cultural survival, sustainable micro-economic development, and feminist outreach.
If these separate "peaces," woven in the mountains of Guatemala and the wadis of Morocco, become part of the fabric of a better world, it will be because women cross and bind the long threads of traditional crafts with ethnographically sensible fair trade practices.
This past week I've been a good deal less worried about the dire things happening each day in the world, even though the pace of these has not lessened since we set off for Guatemala, because I know that there are projects like UPAVIM and Mayan Hands, and people like Deborah and Brenda and Micaela at work, and that as a result hundreds of Mayan women are holding onto their culture and passing it to their kids.
For now, I'll post some links that may be of use, including things I've learned since my return about the norovirus and the Mayan language, and I'll try to respond to requests for changes/addition/links to members' blogs/answers to questions posed by WARP folk.
Thanks again, everyone.
- Weave a Real Peace
- Mayan Hands
- Sharing the Dream
- Maya Educational Foundation: Oxlajuj B'atz'
- Maya Traditions
- Cojolya Weavers in Santiago Atitlan
- The Backstrap Weaver's Ergonomic Bench
- Pueblo a Pueblo: Looms and weavers projects
- Wikipedia: fair trade (note that we could edit this, in light of our WARP experiences)
- Susan Schaefer Davis: Marrakesh Express website: link to 90-second "Women Weavers Online" video