These past few months have been an adaptation for all of us. While we haven’t posted many recent updates, that doesn’t mean that we haven’t been busy! We wanted to catch you up and share a bit of what our team has been up to these last few months:
Yabal continued with food donations for our artisan communities from March through September, during the strict government imposed quarantine in Guatemala when rural communities were cut off from food, transportation, and work. Most of these restrictions of movement and transportation were lifted in September, although the economic repercussions of that quarantine are still being felt deeply by the poor and middle class here in Guatemal.
Apart from food donations, Yabal also organized a coronavirus workshop for our artisan communities with a local doctor to give recommendations for prevention as well as in-home treatment for the coronavirus and important warning signs for the need for hospitalization in case of contracting the virus. Yabal donated over 100 medical kits to each family in our artisan communities of Chuacruz, Pacutama, Chuicutama, and Momostenango. These kits included both natural and pharmaceutical cough medicines, vitamin C, immune-boosting Propolis, Aspirin, fever medication, and instructions in case of possible contagion of the Coronavirus. Since Guatemala opened up in September, virus spread has been rampant. Many rural communities, like the ones Yabal supports, are medically underserved. Access to information, medical attention, and medical treatment are lacking, making the possibility of the spread of the coronavirus in the rural areas a potentially deadly situation. However, we are relieved to report that all of our Yabal partner communities remain healthy so far, and we hope that continues!
Eco-filters, natural clay filters to purify water, were also donated in September for 90 families in our artisan communities in Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan. Because of contaminated drinking water, many children in rural communities suffer health problems and malnutrition because of bacterial and parasitic infection from their drinking water. These Eco-filters have proven to be very effective in preventing these types of illnesses.
Now that the country has opened up, small businesses and commerce have slowly started up again but the economic devastation from the pandemic can be felt all around. Huge numbers of business closings, unemployment, and an increase in crime are worrying. The need for employment has never been so high. Throughout the pandemic, although in smaller quantities, Yabal has continued to place orders with our artisan communities and provide much needed employment for our weavers. While we saw a significant decrease in our sales during this pandemic, we hope that sales will increase in the coming months ahead, so that we can continue our much-needed work with our artisan communities. Thank you to all our customers that placed orders with us during this time, it has been very much appreciated!
The Yabal store and office, in Quetzaltenango, moved locations in August. We are a block away from our old locale but in a smaller and cozier space. We are happy for the new location and have been taking our time setting up and slowly re-opening to the public again.
Look out for Yabal’s new ecological home collection to launch in a couple of months! We have been busy creating new products and designs throughout these past few months and are excited to share our new work all of you very soon.
We want to thank again all of the individuals and organizations that have donated to us and allowed Yabal to provide important emergency aid and support to our rural artisans and their families! We want to give special thanks the institutions of Limburg Provincie, Hasselt, Thriive, and Operation Groundswell for their support!