Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Meet the Artisans: Telares Nicaragua de Molina Norte

Yesterday morning, Isabel and I hopped a bus from the south market of Matagalpa to venture out to the women's cooperative of the Molina Norte region of Nicaragua, about thirty minutes outside of the city. It was a beautiful trip with tons of great vistas of the sprawling city of Matagalpa and the hundreds of coffee plantations below.

As the bus crept up the mountain -- peaking at about 15 miles per hour -- Isabel and I chatted about what we expected to find at the Molina Norte women's cooperative. We've been working hard to diversify the fair trade offerings that we have for our American markets, so we were excited to add another group of amazing artisans to the repertoire.

We arrived at the entrance to the cooperative, and were escorted down through the compound. We were surrounded by composted flower gardens, organic coffee plants, and tons of streams. This place had an appreciation for nature!

When we arrived, we were greeted with five smiling faces, all attached to diligently working sets of hands. The unofficial leader of the group, Wilma Flores Escoto, got up from her loom to officially welcome us to the workshop. We quickly introduced ourselves to Wilma and the rest of the group, then the showcase began.

The Molina Norte cooperative is one of the few groups in the country that work in fabrics -- namely because cotton is pretty rare around here. However, the ladies purchase the colorful Guatemalan cotton that many of us are familiar with and create their own unique styles of purses, wallets, and other products.

After we snapped photos of about thirty different styles of bags, holders, wallets, et al., we asked for a bit of an explanation of how the products are created and how cooperative works. We received quite an extensive explanation (but we'll save that for a different post). The most important thing that we learned is that the money is placed in a joint bank account, and each of the women receives an equal pay -- these ladies are getting 100 percent of the profits!

We talked shop for a bit and made some final decisions about what we would purchase. The products are amazing, and we can't wait to offer them all to you this holiday season! We talked about setting up a contract for our return in the spring, and the ladies eyes lit up. It's not too often that guarantees get made here in Nicaragua.

When all was said and done and hundreds of photos were taken, we said our goodbyes to our new friends, Maria, Desi, Wilma, Nadi, and Ramunda. They kept thanking us for coming, but obviously the pleasure was all ours. To get a glimpse into the day-to-day lives of these women was quite a treat, and we look forward to our next trip out to Molina Norte.

1 comment:

  1. There is so much in this article that I would never have thought of on my own. Your content gives readers things to think about in an interesting way. No credit check payday loans