Say hello to Asencion!
Asencion Lopez is a talented backstrap weaver and has been a member of the cooperative for the past fourteen years. In that time, a lot has changed in her life and she recently reflected with us.
As a young mother of a two-year old son, Asencion first joined the cooperative in 2006 and trained to be a seamstress. She eventually decided she would rather be a backstrap weaver since she had been weaving for years and had the comfort level, speed -- and talent -- supporting her.
Before Mayamam Weavers, Asencion was a weaver in her home. In order to make ends meet, she also harvested coffee on the plantations and collected firewood in the mountains and brought it down to Cajolá to sell. She immediately recognized how her life changed when she began working with the cooperative. “I like this work because we are indoors, and harvesting coffee was very difficult, working under hot sun or strong rains. Working on the plantation isn’t always reliable work either.”
Asencion took advantage of the adult literacy classes in the afternoons, learning to read and write. She is thrilled to be able to read the details of the orders that come in and she understands the importance of education.
Working with a group the size of our cooperative is a distinct advantage according to Asencion. She is grateful that there is always work available. As a single weaver working out of her home, the work wasn’t always consistent. The money she earns now allows her to buy food, clothes, and pay the electric and water bills, among other things. She’s even been able to help other members of her family over time.
Fast forward to 2020 and Asencion now has three children, the now 15-year-old son Christian, a 6-year-old son Gustavo and a 2-year-old daughter named Karla. In the past, she has brought Karla to work with her, but she’s concerned with the pandemic that it won’t be feasible any longer. Because she works with the cooperative, Gustavo was able to attend XNQ, the Reggio Emilia inspired preschool. He is comfortable speaking Spanish in addition to his native mam language. Asencion is one proud momma and appreciates the support that parents get from the school as well.
As a highly skilled textile artisan, Asension's favorite products to weave are the colorful Celebration table runners.
Currently, the cooperative's working hours have been limited because of a government imposed curfew during the pandemic. It has been difficult for the women to cover all of their expenses. They are looking forward to the day when this will change--hopefully one day soon!
Are you interested in meeting some of the other members of our cooperative? Check out some of our earlier blog posts…