Tonight we had the pleasure of attending a little party. My boss's wife runs a non-profit that distributes goods made by women weavers in Guatemala. She takes their weavings and has a tailor make them into bags, wallets, all sorts of stuff. It's beautiful and amazingly well made stuff (virtually indestructable, I'm not kidding).
She got started with the non-profit (she doesn't have a website, or I'd link her here--if you are in Denver, just ask me about it, or look around for her sales at your church or community center, and she also does one HUGE sale annually in Santa Fe, NM) because her sister is a Maryknoll Sister in Guatemala, and has been down there for more than twenty years (so, do the math, and if you know anything about Central American history, she arrived in a very dangerous country for an American nun, or for anyone, especially the indigenous Mayan people with whom she worked), providing access to the women, and her sister (my boss's wife) provides access to rich Americans who can buy their products at a huge mark-up (an this stuff is still cheap!!!). My boss's wife gives all of her profits back to the women, although last year, I think she recouped her expenses (which are small) for the first time. By allowing the women to do their weaving, this allows them to be near home, raise their children and stay off of the under-paying coffee plantations (buy fair trade, please!!!) and other exploitative work sources. It also allows them to make a living off of their traditional art.
Anyway, the Maryknoll nun was here on a visit so they had a party for her. I finally got to meet this very brave woman. It was cool.
Meanwhile, Guatemala and a great swath of Central America has been decimated by Hurricane Stan. Today, there was a huge mudslide in Guatemala as a result of the rains (and the deforestation of the hillsides of Lake Atitlan. Please pray for the people down there. They have no FEMA, no flood insurance, and many now have simply nothing. We are disgusted by the poverty in this country, but by and large, our poor would be considered very rich in other parts of the world.
I can't fit this link in conversationally, but my best friend also works with women in Guatemala. She works for Friendship Bridge, a microcredit institution whose services are going to be greatly needed in Guatemala in coming months...