Here you can read the background of several of the women who are part of Tejidos Cotzal. Those facts occured during the years of war and still have consequences in their current daily life.
DOÑA ISABEL PÉREZ RODRÍGUEZ . Age, 79 years.
Doña Isabel came to the group to earn her daily living. If she found work somewhere else, usually it was only for 1 to 2 days, but the project, in turn, offered her the possibility of continuous work such that assured she had enough money to buy daily necessities. She lives with a daughter.
“When I was 30 years old I lost my husband and never remarried. I learned to weave when I was 35. At my age I can only weave smooth fabric because I can’t embroider. When I will not work anymore, I wish I can have something to buy some things I need such as medicines, food, firewood, corn and beans. I wish a lot of luck to our future weavin women of this project.
CATRINA POMA. Age, 63 years.
She is content that the cooperative supports her so much. Even though she doesn’t earn much, this lets her buy basic things. She lives with her grandchildren because her daughter gave them to her. She lives with her grand children because her daughter left them with her. Doña Catarina takes care of them and pays for their schooling.
“In the conflict I lost my husband. We were eating dinner when the soldiers came to kill him. They tied my husband up and gagged him. They pushed me out of my house and then killed him inside. I lived some days in a farm where I could earn some money because my house was burned and I lost everything. When I heard so many people talking about this project I went to them to ask for work. I like that they support me so much especially with a scholarship to send my grandchildren to school.”
MARÍA RODRÍGUEZ POMA. Age, 36 years.
Doña Maria loves to weave. On the other hand, she had to work in the farms. Her textile work now enables her to buy daily necessities for her 6 kids. When they don’t have enough money, the children must work in the cornfields or cut firewood to support the family.
“My husband died in the conflict. So I had three children and I started living with another man. He left me with three more kids. Thanks to the project I have work. It makes me very sad when I hear that there is no work. I want my three kids to study, but I don’t have enough money to send them to school. When I cannot sell my weaving, I must go to the plantations on the coast and they are terrible places to be. I hope that my wishes come true in the future.”
CATARINA ORDÓÑEZ PÉREZ. Age, 56 years.
She is very happy that the project supports the women so much. She lives with her mother in the house they rent.
“I would like that the foreigners support us by buying our products or with donations, or in whatever way they are able, because the needs of the group never stop; there is always more poverty.
My husband died in the conflict in 1986. The army ordered him to the mountains, but he never came back. I was waiting for him everyday. I thought he would come back after 2 or 3 weeks, but they passed and nothing happened. One friend that returned said he was left dead in the mountains and they couldn’t bring him back because it was so far. I wanted to go and see him, but I couldn’t leave. I was left alone with my daughter and lived with her in a rented house.
If there are more orders in the future, I will buy land and not have to rent my house anymore. I believe that God will bring us more orders.”
CATARINA SAJÍ DE LA CRUZ. Age, 38 years.
She has a son of 15 years, and her husband died before her child was born.
“I am very well because I see that the project really helps me. When I finish my weaving I feel very happy because I know money will be coming and they pay me right when I turn in my work. Other persons ask for her weavin but do not pay until they sell it and we never know when we will receive the money. In contrast, the project pays us when we give our weaving to them, every 15 days, without waiting for them to sell the work first. I live in a village of Cotzal and I thank God that I have work.
In the conflict my corn, beans, house and clothes were burned and I had to sleep under some rocks, without a jacket, only like this, holding hands with my other brothers. They caught one of our cousin.