Total loan: $4,350

Arcangel Misael Group

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, , Mexico / Arts

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Arcangel Misael Group's story

The “Arcángel Misael” (Archangel Misael) group is located in Santiago Jamiltepec, Oaxaca, about 40 minutes from “Pinotepa Nacional.” They named the group this way because its members believe in the existence of archangels and they say that the Archangel Misael is their protector. 65 year old, Manuel O. Hernández is the group’s leader and their meeting place is only a few steps from the place known as the Well of San Jacinto. This is a public place, available for the entire population of Jamiltepec, where the people gather to wash clothes. This group is made up of 11 people, originally from this area. They are all neighbors and all know one another and share the same traditions and customs. Some are aboriginal and others not, but that is not a reason for them not to be united. Here we will talk about 28 year old María A. O.. She’s been an artist her entire life and tells us that she’s been making “huipiles” (Mayan style dresses) for more than 10 years. Her mother in law taught her to make these beautiful clothing items, before she passed away, and [María] believes that this was the greatest inheritance that she could have received, because it allows her to generate the income she needs to support her two young children; 12 year old Flor and 11 year old Jesús. Both are in school. Flor is in junior high school and Jesús is in sixth grade. Her husband, 43 year old Javier, is a field worker. Huipil embroidering is well known and practiced in the La Costa Chica region of Oaxaca, particularly in areas inhabited by aboriginal people. Clothing items such as huipiles, naguas, telares, and other types of traditional clothing, have always distinguished the aboriginal communities from one another, and each region has its own style and colors of clothing, representative of each group. María embroiders and finishes huipiles by hand, using materials from the region that distinguish the details in the clothing. María requested this loan to buy supplies that she uses for making and embroidering huipiles, such as yellow, royal blue, red, orange, and brown ribbons of different types and size. She also bought different types of cotton and silk thread in different colors, handmade belts, purple dyed fabric, crochet hoops and some needles. María likes to combine colors. This is why she enjoys her work. When her mother in law was living, she used to combine colors for her, but then [María] had to learn to do it herself. She tells us that there are times when she is not paid fairly for her labor, but that does not discourage her. She puts forth more effort and forges ahead. It takes her about a week, working all day, every day, to make each huipil. Her craft allows her to help her husband pay for their children’s schooling and she has not been short of what she needs to continue her work. This is not an easy task because one must understand where they come from, where they live, and what the craft means to its artist. María wants to improve her children’s quality of life. She does not pretend to make much money; just enough to afford a dignified and lasting life. She hopes that these clothing styles are never lost and that they continue without modifications. María’s hopes are to see her children grow up in their own environment, without limits or cares. She also wants to see them get a good education so that they can aspire for something better than what she and her husband had, because being a field hand destines one to live a life of poverty with a desire for a comfortable life. She wants her sales not to decrease and to increase her production. She also wants her daughter to learn this art as a tool for greater achievement. María is thankful, and in the name of her fellow members, appreciates those whom make this human support possible. If it was not for those who participate in this effort, those who are in the same situation as María would have no one to lean on. She sends a hug to the whole team and there is no better way to say thank you than a smile from her. “Arcángel Misael” is made up of a number of responsable, hard working people with great dedication to their fellow members. Following are the names of the members and their activities. María A. O.. – Craft creation and sales Ceycie Azucena V. C.. – Gelatin sales María Florali O. Hernández. – Clothing sales Felipa Pérez Jiménez. – Food sales Manuel O. Peláez. – Clothing sales Manuel Adolfo O. L.. – Food sales Antonio M. García. – Clothing sales Magaly M. O.. – Food sales Celia Rufina Vásquez M.. – Food sales Beatriz V. T.. – Craft creation and sales Tayde Marizol García S.. – Craft creation and sales