What a week it has been! We had so many incredible things happen that it truly feels like a dream…
We started off our week by catching a taxi to a small white and turquoise church on the city’s outskirts, we walked along the quiet street until we reached our destination: Kinal Antsetik A.C.
Kinal Antsetik A.C. is the umbrella of two organisations; Cefocam and Jolom Mayaetik, the women's weaving co-operative we found last week. This organisation has been running for over 20 years and is completely operated by indigenous Maya women. Their main focus is on educating, empowering and providing indigenous women with the right tools to become strong and independent. Overall, there are 12 communities of the Chiapas highlands with over 200 members that form the organisation.
Mo and I were all ears as we sat with three members over a cup of Chiapas coffee to learn more about this inspiring cause. We shared with them our intentions and how we felt our values aligned really well, and Kinal Antsetik’s representative, Micaela was happy to have us come on board. We received a tour of the premises and also scheduled a visit to one of the communities so we could meet some of the co-ops artisans, we were beyond excited!
On Wednesday morning Pam (Moacir's mum) arrived! She was able to spend three days with us and we couldn’t wait to catch up and share with her everything that we had been working on.On Thursday we were at the co-op by 8:30 am, we had planned to drive to Yochib, a Tzeltal community where we would meet a group of artisans. With us we had Elizabeth who runs Jolom Mayaetik’s shop and Micaela who was our guide and interpreter. Our driver was Mo.
The two-hour drive to Yochib was one to remember. We drove up and down the mountains past many small villages, through dirt roads and well off the beaten track until we couldn’t drive anymore, then we walked into the bush along a dirt path surrounded by coffee trees until we found a house, deep in the forest. The journey made me realise how difficult travelling to the city is for those living in rural areas. As soon as we arrived we were received with so much kindness. Our hosts invited us into their home and gifted us with a meal that they had prepared on an open fire.
This was a unique experience for me, it was so special to meet people who had so little but who were so willing to share it; it was very humbling. We spent the day here learning about their weaving process, their history, their work, their life and sharing our vision for Cielo, sharing laughs and memorable moments. We walked away waving our hands up in the air, along the same dirt path but constantly looking back, we felt so fortunate to have found such a special place.
On Friday we knew it would be hard to top Thursday’s experience but we were up for adventure. We took a horse ride to San Juan Chamula. The scenery was beautiful! We passed fields where women were working picking mint and coriander until we finally made it to Chamula. Here we entered the church to see hundreds of candles burning, a woman was chanting in Tzotzil as she prayed and offered a chicken as sacrifice, not your average church events.
The next day Pam travelled home to Tapachula and Moacir and I went for a walk before dinner where we would celebrate 6 years of being together. As we walked to the restaurant Moacir picked out, I didn’t realise that he was actually leading me to the Guadalupe church that overlooks San Cristobal. Here I was thinking we were just lost, but this was Moacir’s plan. As we walked up to the lookout, Moacir then turned, dropping on one knee and proposed! I was in a state of shock as I was not expecting it, but of course said yes. We spent the night celebrating whilst listening to live music in between calling family and friends. We are so happy and thank you everyone for all of your kind words, it means so much to us.
Until next week! -Skye