Since Eric Chavez started his new position as coordinator of educational services at the recently opened Museo Textil de Oaxaca, he has been describing the things he is doing to get started. He is writing lesson plans to teach beginning weaving techniques to young students in elementary school, and has made several cardboard looms for demonstration and practice. I have come to discover that the most astounding thing about this new job are the work hours, which Eric says is standard practice in Oaxaca. People work a 6-day week! I think we would have a rebellion here. His hours at the museum are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. with two hours off for lunch between 3 and 5 p.m., then back again for a 7 hour day on Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. This is the same for all of Eric’s working friends, including Elsa Sanchez Diaz, who just got a job at a bank/money exchange house. Starting jobs for college graduates range from 7,000 to 10,000 pesos a month. Convert this to dollars and we’re talking about $700-1,000 USD. (Today, the pesos was 10.3 to the $1.) Take it a bit further. This is a 47-hour work week, times four weeks a month, equals 188 hours a month, divided by, let’s say, the $1,000 per month salary. That’s $5.32 per hour tops! I’m thinking, if I were their parents I would be saying, For this I sent them to college? I hear tell that wage laborers will earn about $4-8 dollars per day in Mexico, and it is easy to understand why so many want to immigrate to the U.S. Of course, this is Eric’s first salaried job since graduating from college, tourism has not yet made a full come back to Oaxaca, the family is not selling as many rugs as usual, and this is an opportunity to earn a steady income, help the family, and be part of a fantastic museum in a great city.
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Norma Writes for Selvedge Magazine Issues #89 + #109
Creating Connection and Meaning between travelers and with indigenous artisans. Meet makers where they live and work. Join small groups of like-minded explorers. Go deep into remote villages. Gain insights. Support cultural heritage and sustainable traditions ie. hand weaving and natural dyeing. Create value and memories. Enjoy hands-on experiences. Make a difference.
What is a Study Tour: Our programs are designed as learning experiences, and as such we talk with makers about how and why they create, what is meaningful to them in their designs, the ancient history of patterning and design, use of color, tradition and innovation, values and cultural continuity, and the social context within which they work. First and foremost, we are educators. Norma worked in top US universities for over 35 years and Eric founded the education department at Oaxaca’s textile museum. We create connection and help artisans reach people who value them and their work.
Why We Left, Expat Anthology: Norma’s Personal Essay
We Contribute Two Chapters!
Meet Makers. Make a DifferenceOaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC has offered programs in Mexico since 2006. We have over 30 years of university, textile and artisan development experience. See About Us.
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2 responses to “Work Life Oaxaca”