This past June, Mercado Global hosted eight mother-daughter pairs from California in Panajachel, Guatemala. The trip was designed to help these women explore the way Mercado Global works by visiting the communities of Nahualá, Santiago Atitlan, and San Jorge and to meet the cooperative we helped raise funds for to bring them into Mercado Global’s model.
I’m a high school student from California and I came two weeks early to interview artisans to find out more about the impact Mercado Global has had on their lives, among other projects. I visited communities that Mercado Global works with, including Chuacruz, a community where my connection began four years prior as I helped raise money to build a computer lab in one of their primary schools.
The money the Mother-Daughter group raised in the months leading up to the trip was used to bring on a new cooperative in Nahualá. Our day trip to Nahualá provided not only a learning experience for these mothers and daughters from the U.S., but a learning experience for the artisans as well. While in Nahualá, the girls and artisans shared information to help teach each other about their contrasting cultures.
The girls gave presentations depicting various stores where Mercado Global sells their products, including pictures of Mercado Global products displayed in stores, examples of other products stores sell, the process of purchasing a product, and much more. Similarly, the artisans shared their culture by demonstrating the foot loom and preparing a traditional Guatemalan refacción, or snack. The daughters and mothers even played basketball and soccer with the children and the artisans. The artisans beat the Californian mothers!
Nahualá offered an opportunity for us to understand why Mercado Global works to connect artisans to a larger market and understand how the process begins. The artisans were truly welcoming and were open to answering our questions, inviting us into their homes and allowing us to better understand how indigenous Guatemalans live.
For the Mother-Daughter group, it was an unbelievable experience to not only share part of our culture so that the artisans can better understand the international market that they will shortly be selling to, but to realize how important the chance for these women to work with Mercado Global really is, for their families and their greater community. And we helped make that happen—something we feel so proud to have been a part of.
Sadie is a high school junior from Northern California who began working with Mercado Global four years ago for her Bat Mitzvah service project. Since then, she has been involved as an MG Youth Ambassador working on fundraising and developing the mother-daughter insight trip.