More post-trip reflections: lots of heart, good food, & exciting planning (with food in hand)
The day after we visited Doña Macedonia and Doña Macrina, we made our way to Doña Blandina's house. We picked up Jiceel on our way, passed through lush trees and rolling hills of green until we finally reached Doña Blandina's house.
Her son-in-law greeted us and asked us to wait for his wife Margarita, Doña Blandina's daughter and by all accounts of her mom "the boss." As soon as Margarita came out, she beckoned us toward chairs that they had set up for us outside. For those of you that might not know, Doña Blandina's family makes the elegant textiles in our shop– tablecloths, table runners, coverlets, and more items to come (stay tuned and sign up for our email updates in case you you haven't!). We sat for hours and discussed the new items in the collection over warm and comforting cups of atole.
A few days later, we made our way to a women's cooperative that produces the highest quality chocolate that one can find. Sabith and I love food. We believe that part of living in a socially conscious way means not only knowing who makes the items that decorate your home but also knowing where your food comes from, who makes it, and how it benefits the people that make it. We know that it's not always possible to have that information for everything that we eat given that many of us living in the U.S. and other industrialized societies do most of our grocery shopping at stores but it helps to start somewhere. Sabith's a heavy coffee drinker and being Mexican myself, chocolate in all of its forms has had a strong presence in my life. I'll explain the origins of chocolate in another post but for now, we thought that we'd start with these two items.
Sabith met Don Jorge who supports the women running the cooperative back in 2019 as part of a series of interviews that he conducted for his book. Since then, he's kept in touch and Jiceel helped to confirm Don Jorge in our travel schedule. We spent the morning drinking and eating lots (and lots and lots) of chocolate (hard life, am I right?).
Don Jorge told us about how the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted them and how the women were working hard to keep up with the demands of the cooperative while being the primary caretakers at home. "I am in awe of them every day," he told us. "Here, we have a culture of helping each other out. If someone cannot come in due to lack of child care or generally something has come up at home, we don't sweat it– we remind them that their personal needs come first and we figure it out. And so far, it's worked for us." He goes on to explain that though they lost many workers at the start of the pandemic, they've been able to keep up with orders as they are now part of a government program that supports the local economy and specifically student employment, mostly single moms.
We wrapped up our trip with a coffee roasting class and are excited to share more details about our coffee plans soon. For now, enjoy these photos and keep en eye out for email updates from us!