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Life as a mom in Lake Atitlan Guatemala

Life as a mom in Lake Atitlan Guatemala, I have not had much time to sit and try to explain how it has been for me as a mom to get through life in a rural village in Guatemala. Just to explain a little about me, I am Guatemalan, maybe not the typical Guatemalan, not from the city not from the country, which rather leaves me in a place where I do not know where I belong, even though I feel so Guatemalan. The town I live in is one of the most isolated towns in all of Lake Atitlan.

Life as a mom in Lake Atitlan Guatemala

Life as a mom in Lake Atitlan Guatemala

I guess that was part of why I moved here when I first decided to get a piece of land and start a family. Maybe the order of things was not exactly that, I first got pregnant and after I had to get myself a little piece of land to nest. Well picking a place in the middle of nowhere can be a mistake if you are trying to raise a little one, but it also has its benefits and its beauty. However, I guess we all do our best when we are embarking on this unknown journey.

Life as a mom in Lake Atitlan Guatemala

The years have gone by so fast it is incredible. The hormones are settling in, I am recovering some sleep. Although many people say, you never recover lost sleep.

Life as a mom in Lake Atitlan Guatemala

Life as a mom in Lake Atitlan Guatemala

Living far away from my family has been difficult. Especially in the first months after having a baby and now more than anything because I want her to have that special connection with her grandparents and how I feel she is missing it. But I can’t live in the city, I couldn’t raise her there.

Life as a mom in Lake Atitlan Guatemala

Life as a mom in Lake Atitlan Guatemala

It took me a little while to understand that asking for help is not a bad thing at all, that it shows that you are strong as well.  For some reason I was taught that I needed to be independent and that I could do most of the things I wanted on my own, this was in my engineering career. Nevertheless, of course, I did not know anything about babies.

 

The experience that people here seem to have is so much more than the one I saw when I grew up in different places. It is as if they emanate this love towards kids something I never see in people in the north. Here every kid is a bundle of joy and they just seem to be happy, in between the sisters, aunts, uncles, brother’s grandparents, and the neighbors.

 

It is just like they are one big community when it comes to watching over each other’s kids. Now I have a group of people that are my friends, they watch over my daughter, they enjoy watching her play with the other kids and love talking to her in kakchiquel their language.

 

The funniest thing of all is that I see how happy she is here. It just took me around two years to realize that this sense of community does not happen in other places. We do not always talk about the same things with the women here.

 

I tend to complain much more than they do about everything they are more positive in many ways. We understand each other because it doesn’t matter how we were raised we are all just moms, we all work and we all want to support each other in the way we can. I do not feel judged, and I do not judge them.

 

I still miss my family bond though, even if I made myself an adoptive family here, or several adoptive families, I guess it is never just the same. I’m glad I get to be here, I work doing massages sometimes and come home to my little one, not always easy to come home after a long day of working dealing with other people’s issues.

My Life as a mom in Lake Atitlan Guatemala

There are the other days when we get to have fun doing our herbal products that she seems to enjoy doing with me too. Moreover, since she still does not go to school seems to be a fun education at the moment for her. Those are my most joyful days when I can be at home, in the middle of nowhere, in this little bubble I made for ourselves that we call home for now…

I hate the term “Empowering Women.”

I hate the term “Empowering Women.” Empowering Women has become the term used when you offer a woman a job or an opportunity. In many cases more of a marketing term to place on a website or in blog posts or Facebook rant. What were we doing before this term now overused and without meaning grabbed the spotlight?

Women’s Empowerment Principles:

Empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors is essential to build stronger economies, achieve internationally agreed goals for development and sustainability, and improve the quality of life for women, men, families, and communities.

How does this work if you are attempting to Empowering Women, where do you start?

In Guatemala, I have a great friend, supporter of Boston Newborn Care and our work. In turn, I admire James Dillon’s work in Guatemala, he never uses the term Empowering Women, and Enabling is his preferred means to express his work with Ethical Fashion Guatemala.

 

Empowering Women

Empowering Women

James works mostly Mayan Women Weaving Artisans, in the remote Highlands of Guatemala. The textiles are all handmade dyed from plant seeds, natural cotton, and handspun into works of textile art. The weavers lacked access to technology; he enabled the women to have access to websites, banking, and shipping.

Resulting in economic improvement, products sold internationally and sustainability for the weavers and other forms of Artisan works. Prior local Tourists were the customers, often bartering for a $20 scarf that took a week to weaver.

 

Empowering Women

Empowering Women

James stresses the fact that Ethical Fashion Guatemala is a business, not a None Profit seeking donations or a project. Artisans need work and sales, not donations.

Two years ago, James life in Guatemala changed, Fashionista wrote an article about how from Guatemala James forced ETSY, the on-line handcraft portal to remove thousands of Copyright works of Artisans from their website. The story went Viral.

Think about James story next time you see a sign or website about Empowering Women. I am today thinking how can I Enable more women??