For the past six months, 20 Puerta Abierta mothers have been meeting on Saturday mornings. While children are engaged in activities in the classroom, our madres gather casually on the patio in the sunshine. At first glance, one might think that the women have reunited to talk about their children, developments at the school, or the prices of bananas at the market. In fact, they are. In addition to socializing, the mothers have come together to form our first mothers group designed to create income generation for our families, our school and enhance creativity amongst our mother artisans. Kindergarten teacher Chonita shares ideas and product designs with the mothers and encourages them to use their own creativity when developing products. The only rule which we follow is that each item must have a “touch” of Guatemala…a piece of fabric from Guatemala or embroidery that is symbolic of our town. Our mothers have been busy designing finger puppets for little hands, colorful, hand embroidered ornaments, shopping bags and crocheted necklaces.
This month, we’ll launch our first sales in the United States with the support of our mothers abroad. My mom and sister have organized holiday sales in California. Friends and supporters Paula Jordan and Sara Yablam-Smith will host sales in Boston and Judy Royer and Cathy Druley of BEAMS in Guatemala have incorporated our products into their holiday sales at Indiana craft fairs .
I am inspired by the dedication of our mothers in Guatemala who have taken an active role in supporting their families and their community school. I am encouraged by Chonita, our teacher/coordinator of our mothers group who joyfully dedicates every Saturday morning to supporting our families. I am thankful for our mothers in the US who believe in our work at La Puerta Abierta and who continue to stay connected to our center from afar.