Yesterday, I walked two miles to my friend Annie’s house located on a hillside outside the village center. It was one o’clock in the afternoon and the walk took me over thirty minutes as I hugged the sides of buildings and sought shelter from the midday sun under the shade of hundred year-old trees lining the river bed path. Every several hundred steps I needed to stop to catch my breath at this altitude of almost six thousand feet. The sun beat down, strong and constant. I wear a wide brimmed hat here that extends far down the back of my neck and over my face. As I walk, I imagine the photos and films I’ve seen of Mexican men curled up in a corner with sombrero pulled far down to cover faces. I remember seeing only the curl of a mustache and a mouth in repose. This is the stereotype of the sleepy or lazy Mexican that has been presented to us over the centuries. Yet all I wanted to do yesterday afternoon was to seek the shelter of some shade and protect myself from this fierce sun that makes one so tired, hot, wet and saps energy. So, as I walked and pulled the brim of my hat down to completely cover my face, tilting my head forward and keeping my eyes down to watch the path as I walked over cobblestone streets and rutted dirt roads, I wondered why we don’t understand the culture and environment of our hardworking Mexican neighbors who through sheer force of energy are able to create a vibrant life among the cactus and inhospitable soil.
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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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