Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Medicine Woman

In the highlands of the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala, there are communities of  Mayan women who carve out a living from traditional ways of life. Many of these villages are filled with mostly women because Guatemala's Civil War claimed the lives of so many men. I didn't sense much sadness however, only a gentle determination to provide for their families. The cooperatives of women weavers are quite famous but there are also women who showcase and earn money from other Mayan traditions, including food, art and music. I met this woman in the back of a village, where her shop displaying medicinal herbs and herbal beauty products overlooks a river. I was impressed with her herbal knowledge and the innovation she used to display her potions and plants in recycled water bottles. But looking at this photo, snapped on the fly as I was leaving, I'm more taken with the strength and beauty reflected in her face.