Weaving Bonds in Guatemala

Colour is Food for the Spirit

As Change for Children supporters, volunteers, brigade members, donors, and advocates grow in number, we are proud of the web we have woven and are weaving in our local community and our global community.

This web, this network, is strengthened by people addressing needs and sharing skills through hands-on knowledge transfer. When Guatemala dental brigade volunteer, Joyce Hurl, volunteered in 2015 and bonded with women in Guatemala’s highlands over a mutual passion for weaving, she knew that she would return again to contribute in some way to the women’s weaving co-op with which Change for Children has been involved since the early nineties.

The co-op, having identified a desire to learn more about colour, was thrilled to receive workshop instruction from Joyce upon her return to Comitancillo on a dental brigade in February 2017. With the quicker learners pitching in to help the others, Joyce was able to review colour theory as well as teach hem stitch techniques and how to use the fringe-makers that she and her husband had made and brought from Canada to leave with each of the members.

Although Joyce found the equipment to be a bit more rustic than at home —including the use of bicycle wheels for winding thread — she found many commonalities as well which allowed her to easily gain the respect of the group. In turn, they even taught Joyce the finer points of tortilla-making!

The women weavers left excited and satisfied with new skills to practice and hone and a kit of supplies with which to do so. Joyce left with plans to visit again.

And so she did… two months later!

Take Two in Taltimiche

Joyce, along with fellow weaver, Catherine, travelled to Taltimiche in May to follow up on the initial workshop. For the women weavers of Taltimiche, creating wares from weaving is their livelihood. It is a skill passed down to children. It is a source of pride, and techniques to help them improve are warmly welcomed.

Although challenged by a language barrier — requiring translation from english to spanish to Mam and back again —Joyce and Catherine spent a day helping the group of women and young girls get back to basics.

Back to basics included teaching how to use a colour wheel to determine which colours complement each other. It meant learning primary colours vs secondary colours. It meant using pencil crayons and water colours to colour overlapping circles to watch two colours become one new colour. It meant a lot of smiling and giggling!

Says Joyce, “I would love to spend another day just talking to the women and looking at their work in progress to see if there is any other way we can help. I had a wonderful time and they seemed to be having a good time too! But, I’d love to return. Again!”

Catherine who co-hosted the weaving workshop relates, “Connecting with other weavers was really special. We speak the same language.” In addition to the workshop, Catherine and Joyce also visited beneficiaries of Change for Children’s Food Security and Nutrition Project. “My biggest take-away was seeing foreign aid dollars in action – bearing fruit, literally and figuratively. Seeing how careful partners are with donated dollars and how well it all works.”

In The Field Central America and the Caribbean Guatemala Indigenous Peoples