San Luis Los Ranchos Women’s Co-op in Comasagua

We’ve come a long way baby… isn’t true all over as the women of a Comasagua pueblo tucked away in the hills after the cobblestone road turns into dirt can attest. Even if some funding exists to allow for a project, many women face the old stereotypes of not being allowed to leave the home to both socialize and work since their role should be child rearing and taking care of their husband. Many groups fail for this reason but in the village of San Luis Los Ranchos we witnessed another success story where a CIS staff had a dream and helped the village women membership grow from 20 to 48 today and achieve certification to become a co-op. The indigo project we experienced is the process of boiling the anil(indigo)plant, letting it settle in another container until there is a mudlike sediment to gather which will then be allowed to dry. Then, when the indigo dye is needed, it is shaved off and added to hot water and mixed into the large dipping vat. The group tie dye’s clothing and sells these products. It’s very important to understand the historical significance of this plant as it was one of the crops besides coffee that colonization raped from the people and the land…

For the future the co-op would eventually like to cultivate their own indigo plants which are not grown in this region. The big project right now is the women utilizing their 20 foot pedal sewing machines after landing a local school uniform contract at the largest school in Comasagua for 800.

A new government initiative to provide low income children with uniforms allows them to attend school. This initiative also wants the uniforms to be produced locally, not by big companies. Thus work is provided for these poor communities. A win – win proposition.

We were introduced to village scholarship recipients who our language institute help sponsor and some of the co-op women. They are all so proud of their achievements and shared with us how their self worth has grown and how much this this comradery means to them. Maybe we can all take a lesson in community building…

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