These women work in a local Guatemalan textile shop. They told Elba that the specific garment they are working on will take one week to produce if they both work on it. This piece of clothing is called a ‘huipil’, part of the traditional Mayan dress, and it doesn’t come cheap. “A good huipil costs the equivalent of a month’s salary at minimum wage” (Seeing Indians, pg 69). Virginia Tilley wrote this in 2005. When Elba went to Guatemala 12 years later, the cost for this huipil was 1,000 quetzales, or about $130 USD. The textiles industry is a good source of alternate income for coffee pickers before and after the harvest season. What beautiful indigenous artistry and expression! Guatemala’s indigenous peoples have retained a strong portion of their cultures, as opposed to other Central American countries, where local indigenous expression was suppressed for a long time. Just another part of the complex Central American story.
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