We are here! Flights, late night arrivals, delayed baggage and in spite of all that, we are now well rested and ready for the travel ahead. Guatemala City is beautiful. Our hosts have been gracious and entertaining.
As I write, Deborah Chandler (Mayan Hands Program Director extraordinaire and our guide for the trip) and her assistant Julio Cardona, are giving us a tour of the warehouse where they work and provide supplies and store completed product.
We just looked at a room full of colorful cotton threads from which the weavings are made. The group of us (we are four and I will tell you about us soon in another post) have been discussing how Mayan Hands particpates in the Fair Trade movement. What Anne Kelly (Fair Trade promoter for the New York State Labor Religion Coalition and fellow traveler, check them out!) has taught me on this trip is that Fair Trade is many things and her definition keeps changing.
Fair Trade is about relationships. Fair Trade has a community development piece. Fair Trade is about fair wages, fair and just treatment of the earth. It is about sustainability. It provides people with the ability to retain traditional lifestyles when global pressures are forcing rural people into urban areas in the developing world.
Today we are learning about these artisan businesses. Mayan Hands is a member of the Fair Trade Federation. Check out their website. I will post a hot link soon.
This afternoon we will travel to Rabinal, a village four hours from here. Tomorrow we will visit weavers who create the Mayan Hands products. The Mayan people are supported by the crafts you buy through this fair trade business. I will be writing about them. I will try to comunicate th beauty and the challenge of their lives. A traditional people living in a culture more than 5,000 years old has much to teach us.
The Mayan Hands website will show you beautiful items made in Rabinal! More later on that!
Be well and I will write soon.