May 24, 2007.- Today we took a lot of children's clothes, blankets, towels and blouses that we had made from fabric donations and gave them out to the Women's Group. They were all very happy to receive new clothes for their children, especially with the wet season coming, when clothes do not dry too quickly.
The main reason that there are less children wearing traditional clothing in Guatemala is because the family cannot afford to buy it for them. The cost of new hand woven clothing is very expensive. If you would like to donate a Guipil ( blouse) or a Corte ( skirt) for a child - we can buy them second hand for around $10 US each. If you would like to donate a new Guipil or Corte to a child - the costs is approx. $25 US for a blouse and approx. $40 for a traditional skirt.
The woven belts that they use cost approx. $7. These costs are way beyond the means of many families here who would like their children to be able to wear the traditional clothing but because of economic hardships are forced to buy second hand western clothing.
The great beauty of Guatemala is the color and design. The traditional clothing is unique to Guatemala. Unfortunately, due to the cost of thread many women can no longer afford to weave their own clothing or their families. We are seeing more and more children and adults buying cheap, second hand western clothing because that is all that they can afford.
In addition to supporting their unique cultural and traditional values it also enables them not only to clothe themselves but also augment their economic situation by the sale of their own weavings.
Each traditional garment is hand woven of natural fibers. They are beautiful, visually pleasing and unique to each cultural group. They are extremely practical and hardwearing enabling these textiles to be worn for many, many years then passed on in the family or re-sold and recycled.