To celebrate our work together in 2019 Yabal took our 41 backstrap loom weavers to the Xetulul amusement park, in Retalhuleu, Guatemala. The park is a major tourist destination about 2 hours from their community and is similar to Disney Land. Tourists from all over Central America travel to Guatemala just to visit this the Xetulul park. But even though our weavers live only 2 hours away, none of them had ever been before. This is a luxury that most rural families can’t afford.
We made the somewhat controversial decision not to let the women bring any of their children older than 3 along with them. After much discussion with the coop leaders, we all decided that this should be a day for the women and the mothers that had worked hard for Yabal, and for their children and families all year long without a break. This was a day for the Moms to have fun! And the children would be OK without them for a day.
In the end, it was a great decision that allowed all our women artisans to enjoy the day for themselves without responsibilities for once. To say that we had fun, would be an understatement!
Three years ago Yabal decided that as much as possible we would try to take our women artisans on an end of year trip to new tourist sites around Guatemala. So far, we’ve taken the women to the Xela zoo, Chicabal lake, the Guatemala City Zoo, and this year, Xetulul park. We believe that empowerment and leadership skills are cultivated by experiences- taking the women out of their communities to experience the world outside of their everyday experience is an important part of that process. When we talk about poverty, it’s important to remember that poverty is not only an economic barrier but it’s also an opportunity barrier that can isolate people into separate worlds. And our mission at Yabal is to remove as many of those barriers as possible for women in Guatemala!