Monday, June 25, 2012

Day 14 in Oaxaca, Mexico: Excursion to Teotitlan Women's Weaving Cooperative
I don't even know how to put in words how amazing this day was. Today me, my group and my professor went to Teotitlan to learn about the Women's Weaving Cooperative and how they make the designs on the rugs they weave. I'll be honest I thought it was going to be boring at first but it wasn't at all. The ladies there were very friendly and welcoming and they were pleased to see how enthusiastic we were to learn about their cooperative. One thing that I found really interesting was how they make the colors on the rugs. When one of the women was demonstrating how she makes the colors she said for example to get a tan looking color she would use nuts. I love how mother nature is so useful not only for nourishment but for practical uses as well. Another thing I found interesting was when the woman  explained the challenges that many of the women faced to have their own cooperative. One challenge was the language barrier because the women in the area spoke Zapotec, an indeginous language, not spanish. Another challenge was trying to get the government involved for support financially and for recognition. After many attempts the women stopped trying because it wasn't benefiting the cooperative. Generations later, the cooperative managed to transform the organization that their husbands and fathers disliked into an organization that they are proud of and help their wives. I found it interesting that these women were able to make a drastic transformation in the mindset of their loved ones because it gives me hope that in other countries, like Eritrea, a change in mindset could happen. There is oppression toward women in Eritrea when especially when they want to be independent. I hope to one day in the future help women in Eritrea become independent and boost their self-esteem.
After the women at the cooperative explained the history and gave us a demonstration they performed limpia on us. Limpia is a healing ceremony that occurs when the person is cleansed with different herbs. Apparently over 100 herbs can be used for this process and some healers use mezcal during the ceremony. During the limpia I admit I was a bit nervous that I would do something to mess up the ceremony. When I put the herbs on my forehead, arms, and neck I did feel a powerful vibe. I'll admit I was stressed out that day because I was thinking about how to plan the next few weeks and manage my money like I always do but after the ceremony was over I felt the stress leave my body. It was scary and refreshing at the same time. I usually do yoga or pilates to ease the stress but never did I imagine herbs like basil, sage, and thyme could get rid of stress.

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