What Are the JOJI Weavers Up To?
Running a business that is fueled by the incredible heart-filled work of the women weavers is such a blessing. However, we're miles apart from each other (2,095 miles to be exact!) and the distance starts to tug at our heart strings. The truth is, our lives here at home don't allow us to travel to Guatemala every chance we get and we're lucky if we make it 2 times a year. There are days like today where we face news of hardships and difficulties the women are facing and it breaks our heart a little more each time.
We'd do anything to be there and give them a tight hug and be that shoulder to lean on. But we can't and to be honest - it's tough to wrap our heads around sometimes. But within the bumps in the road, we hear of hope and strength - we hear of the women coming together to support each other, do some relaxing therapy together, and take precious time to laugh and smile with the support of one another. And it's in these moments that we are reminded that our work matters. That because they are a part of this cooperative, this family, they are building their self-esteem and growing their support systems.
WHAT ARE THEY UP TO?
A recent Xela AID volunteer trip composed of Cal State Fullerton students visited the village a couple of weeks ago and tried their hands at learning to weave. The women taught 8 students over a period of 3 days and the students LOVED it! They got to keep their weavings and from what we heard, the students couldn't wait to share what they made with friends and family back home.
The best part was that the classes made the women feel SO good about what they were doing. This experienced made them realize how special and important their work is and how appreciated it is to others. It's not often that they are reminded of how skilled they truly are and we love hearing that experiences like this are helping them gain self-confidence. Seeing the student's shocked faces after learning the amount of detail and skill that goes on behind each weaving was definitely a confidence-booster, I'm sure!
In addition to spending time with volunteers, the women have been participating in weekly therapy sessions with Xela AID's Therapist, Yuli. Dr. Yuli leads them through various fun and engaging activities including dance and art therapy. From what she's told us, the women absolutely LOVE to dance! They not only have fun doing it, but they're gaining self-esteem and confidence at the same time. Which is a big deal for us to hear as we're used to seeing them shy and reserved.
Not only are they dancing, but they're continuing to participate in any education program they can find. Many of the women have been participating in crochet, cooking, and computer classes. They're learning to cook Italian & Vegetarian foods in order to help better accommodate volunteers that visit and are always working to master their crochet skills. Some of them also attended a conference in Quetzaltenango about the importance of finances and how to keep up to date with your expenses.
As always, the women amaze us with how hard they work towards improving the lives of their children and community. We're so proud of them! Looking forward to our next update to share with you all.
Thank you for your support & love.
Amy & Kathy