San Cristobal de las Casas & San Juan Chamula
My son Tom joined Eve and I in Mexico City for the journey south to Chiapas.
Research by the UK Embassy staff suggested we should visit this area as there is a great deal of artisan work done in the area.
We visited a great little commune of artisans at the Taller Laneteros in San Cristobal. Here they make paper products from discarded paper given by the local community. Products include books, cards, silk screen prints, posters etc.. We discussed how Dreamaid may be able to help this commune of 15 to 20 artisans by giving them better access to the market. They are planning to have a meeting of the commune to discuss how they might work with Dreamaid. Also Dreamaid is to consider seeking corporate sponsorship with a Mexican Company to see if we can assist the commune (and thereby their quite poor Mayan community) in improving their marketing and product development.
We then visited a local community in San Juan Chamula which was a humbling experience. Young children sometimes begged us for money but most sold us hand made woven bracelets and one very young child carrying his younger brother in a sack on his back asked for about 25 UK pence or about 40 US cents for a photograph.
A memory that will stick with us was witnessing a chicken being sacrificed in a religious ritual to clear sins of a man in the Mayan church.
Mostly people were hard at work creating clothing and blankets and there was a very large market place filled with products of all kinds. This gave us a great insight in to how the local communities depend upon the sale of their artworks and artisan works to live.
We will post some pictures on the website soon to give you a better idea of the place. Tomorrow I will be meeting a company to discuss how we might work together to assist the artisans in this area.
I will keep you posted!