July 21, 2023

Introducing Izabel

Introducing Izabel

As a member of the cooperative for nearly 12 years, Izabel is an integral part of the backstrap weaving team. She first began working with Mayamam Weavers back in 2011 as a seamstress. Already having some previous experience on a backstrap loom, she decided she preferred weaving over sewing and boy does that show. Her work is not only exquisite but very consistent as well.

Before joining the cooperative, Izabel earned money by harvesting potatoes along with planting wheat, corn and other vegetables. She was more than happy to say goodbye to those days as the work is grueling, often times working in less-than-ideal weather conditions. Now, she enjoys doing her work while surrounded by women she can talk to and share things with.

Never having had the opportunity to go to school herself, Izabel has taken full advantage of the benefits to being part of the cooperative.  When she joined the cooperative, she attended the literacy classes that were offered after work. The money she earned weaving allowed her to pay for her daughter to go to middle school and her son was able to qualify for two years of scholarships for his studies. Izabel’s two grandchildren have been able to attend the preschool at no cost to them where they not only learned but were also given meals and vitamins each day.

 When Izabel isn’t weaving, she spends a lot of time with the cofradia in Cajolá. The cofradia is considered an extension of the Catholic church which was first created by the Spaniards in the mid 1500s as a way to associate the indigenous people with the church. The cofradias organize the processions on feast days along with other important rituals. What started out as an extension of the church actually became more important than the church to indigienous people in Guatemala.

Over the past 12 years, Izabel reflects back on the friends she's made and is proud of her work. She looks forward to learning new skills and techniques as she did with the embroidered ornaments or the braided dog tug toys.