Chajul, Guatemala
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Weaving Red
Nestled in the foothills of the Western Highlands of Guatemala is Chajul, a town with cascading verdant hills and swaths of farmed land. The sky is vast, and blue hues meet a forested horizon. Chajul is comprised of approximately 20,000 inhabitants, and home to the indigenous peoples, the Ixil-Maya. Along route to the town's center you'll take notice of the changing textures--of the land, and of the country's people. The Ixil-Maya are one of approximately 25 indigenous groups in Guatemala and their clothing--intoxicating to the senses--is rich in color and design. Reds, blues, yellows, and greens narrate stories as the hues of the land come to reveal the historically-rich culture. Weaving is a livelihood for women in Chajul. Beginning this trade before age 10 is not uncommon; days and hours spent at a loom making skirts, huipiles, and other garments or accessories is a significant source of what income women have the opportunity to earn in the region. With the help of organizations such as Limitless Horizons Ixil (LHI)--a local NGO and U.S. nonprofit--visitors can engage with local culture through the organization's sustainable tourism program. Tourists have the opportunity to learn about community development from a sustainable perspective and to participate in activities--weaving, making tortillas, learning Ixil--indigenous to the area. 'Weaving red' reflects the Chajulneses' vibrant spirit, colorful culture, and story-filled past.
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