October and November are the best months for sunrises on Lake Atitlan. I pulled myself out of bed at about 5:30 this morning to capture this one. It came after a day and night of non stop rain.
Yesterday, I visited the Cooperative Mujeres Botanicas in San Juan la Laguna. There are many such cooperatives in San Juan, where groups of artisan women work together to create beautiful handmade woven products, often using natural dyes, but this was my first visit to Mujeres Botanicas. They are located down a winding side street, and boast a great variety of traditional products (huipiles and traje) in addition to items popular with tourists (scarves and bags), as well as a small museum.
Of particular note, I had the pleasure of meeting Socorro and Rosario (pictured here) both of whom were recently written about in this Washington Post article. My friend Lynn, who is a frequent visitor of this cooperative, had the article pulled up on her computer, so we were able to show it to these two lovely women and I translated for them the parts about them. They were very pleased, and it is wonderful to see that the weavers of San Juan la Laguna are attracting such attention in the press.
These are jewelry items made out of recycled paper. An incredibly tedious process that takes a great deal of patience, time, careful construction, aesthetics, design. The end result is a beautiful work of art made in an environmentally-friendly way, transforming items that would otherwise end up in waste bins and trash dumps into stunning wearable items.
These works of art are made by my dear friends at Artesanos de ADISA – all of whom are differently abled, in some way. The Artesanos (Artisans) of ADISA is a social enterprise that provides needed employment to people with disabilities so that they can apply their skills to a profession, earn a living, and be more independent. ADISA – The Association for Parents and Friends of People with Disabilities of Santiago Atitlan – was founded by the family I used to live with in Santiago, the Sojuels. It is a center for people with disabilities, especially focused on education for children. They also helped found Artesanos de ADISA in an effort to meet the needs of youth and adults with disabilities as well.
I’m working on a video to promote their products – coming soon!