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Girls’ Voices Day 5: Generations of Strong, Proud Women

The last day of filming left just one chica: Ana, who wanted to focus her film on her mom and weaving, two themes that came together more smoothly than we had anticipated. When we arrived to Chichicastenango, a 1.5 hour drive from Panajachel, Ana promptly led us through rows and rows of corn until we finally arrived at a hidden oasis of weavers, the local women’s cooperative Artesanía Nuevo Sol.  This cooperative of female artisans from Chichicastenango has as their mission statement “Trabajamos arduamente para llevar a nuestras familias más que dinero: una vida feliz y llena de nueva esperanza para nuestra comunidad. (We work hard to bring our families more than just money: [we want to bring] a happy life filled with new hope for our community).” These women, weaving, chatting, and smiling among themselves, reflected that mission statement in their eyes, the sentiments of family and longevity bouncing off the walls, zig-zaging through the tejidos, and resting on their respiros of their breath.

Ana went around, interviewing the various women about the importance of education, both in school and out of school. When Ana arrived at her mother, her mother began to cry as she spoke about how proud she is that Ana is learning both traditional indigenous weaving and going to school.  “Otras niñas de su edad aquí dejaron la escuela, están casadas y ya tienen hijos, y estoy muy orgullosa que mi hija siga estudiando. Yo quiero que ella en su futuro sea muy feliz. Es una niña bien preciosa. (Other girls her age here left school, are married, and already have children, and I am very proud that my daughter is still studying. I hope that in her future she is very happy.  She is a very precious girl.)”  

These women working at the cooperative, these strong, hardworking women, are proud of their weaving, proud of their heritage, and proud of their daughters.  And their daughters, who see their mothers’ unabiding love as the reason they are able to continue to study and to hope for a better future, are unconditionally proud of their mothers.  They want to make sure that, in addition to formal education, they learn and share the traditional indigenous weaving practices that have carried their families for generations and continue to carry them now.

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And that’s a wrap! Filming is now complete, on the editing stage.

by Daniel Olitzky, March 1, 2017