Tix Tawaq’an

Ixtahuacán is a region that truly reflects its name. This Quiché name is derived from “Tix Tawaq’an” which translates as my foot has sank in the soil and now I’m part of the earth. The people of Ixtahuacán relationship with the land extends for generations. More than being sacred, it is their identity. They recognize and converse with the spirits of the mountains and know the locations of their ancestors burial grounds throughout the region.

A core aspect of the Highland Support Project’s vision of development is derived from Maya teachings concerning “La Arte Maya” or Maya Art. The art of living well. Our definition of development is that it allows one to live happy and healthy in the place where one is destined to exist. Rather than seeking to bend people to fit a global system, we endeavor to assist communities make adaptations that enable them to sustain relationships and culture according to their own terms.

This week Pao Tzp, the community outreach associate of our highland partner AMA, visited Ixtahuacán to conduct training seminars and provide production materials. This is part of our sponsored program Pixan. Pixan assists indigenous artisans develop diversified skills and tools to work more efficiently on large complex orders. Pixan connects rural women with global market opportunities to harness the power of the market to break cycles of poverty.

The lesson plan this week covered different embroidery techniques utilized to produce Pixan’s diamond line of fashion accessories. The line features geographic designs that symbolize the connection we all share in the Cosmos. This line contributes to the livelihood of 70 households in the department of Santa Catarina Ixtahuacán.

Later in the week, Pao delivered materials for 65 different fabric designs to be produced for international business clients A Rum Fellow, Piece & Co, Sarah Contrucci and our partner distributor of Pixan products AlterNatives. Pixan connects design entrepreneurs with fair trade production that provides women with three times the local average income. The purpose of these connections are to allow women to maintain lives of dignity while retaining their relationship to land and community

Doña Dominga Guachiac Tum was one of 60 women receiving training in the community center of Santa Catarina Ixtahuacán. Doña Dominga is 60 years young and walked 40 minutes from the hamlet of Xeabaj ii to attend the trainings. She emphasized her appreciation for the efforts to bring new customers. One of these orders will take two weeks to a month to complete. She stated that this significantly helps the household economies of all the women and that they will be able to buy food staples and school supplies for their children.

Pixan is empowering indigenous women by providing them with unparalleled access to higher-value markets, assist emerging companies compete and create a viable model of ethical and culturally sustaining global sourcing practices.

To connect with Pixan to produce your line, visit www.pixanproductions.org or contact Celesthe Vásquez at celesthe@highlandpartners.org. To score one of Pixan’s creations for yourself visit alternatives.boutique.

Karen Mayorga