Weaving – We broke into three groups and went to different houses to learn about weaving. Susanna and I went to the house of the lady who wove my scarf and the bookmarks. She said her name is Ana, but she also goes by Concha, her 2nd first name. She has three kids who are scholarship students with LHI, one who will be graduating from “diversificado” (high school, but it’s more like college in this culture) this year and become a teacher. First she did some weaving and we just watched. Then we got a surprise; she started pulling out juipils, cortas, fajas (belts), cintas to wrap our hair with and dressing us in it! Next she started having us do each of the steps involved in weaving: winding the balls of thread off of a wheel, wrapping it around a spindle, doing a figure eight wrap of some of it around tall pegs, then moving that onto the round bars that would be the top and bottom, and finally feeding the spindle of thread through different sections of the main part that had been the figure eight, packing it down after every feed with a wooden blade. It was much more difficult than she made it look, and we weren’t even adding any design to it! At the end of our time there, she told us that she sells juipils and asked if we wanted to buy any. I bought the one that I had been wearing, which it turns out was hers and was torn a bit near the bottom, for 125Q (about $17). She wanted over 200Q for the new ones. I like the idea that the one I have, has been worn by Concha and that it has its own story of daily life in Chajul.
Laundry – After the weaving experience, I got my laundry from the lines at Elma’s house that Viajita did for me. I sat near her during lunch today and we interacted a bit. She seems to like me for some reason and she and I seem to be able to communicate at least a little. When I laid my head against the wall and closed my eyes for second, she gently tapped my arm, smiled, and gestured towards the sleeping cat in the middle of the kitchen floor. She is the sweetest little old lady I have ever been around…I hope to get a photo with her tomorrow. Bummer…the photo never happened : (