Interview in Zinacantán, Mexico

My name is Josefina and my daughters and I own a textile store in the Maya village of Zinacantán. Our family business had been flower growing, but now the textile business is our main source of income.
Most of the textiles in the store are made by my daughters. They are weavers and have learned the skill of machine embroidery, and they are experts in their designs and machine work. Flowers are the main design features in our work and in the other textile artisans in Zinacantán.
I am a widow and so is one of my daughters. Our husbands were alcoholics and died of complications related to their drinking. In the Maya culture, drinking is a social activity and takes place outside the home, when friends or business associates meet to exchange conversation. Drinking is not usually done alone. When it is, the person is an alcoholic.
My life today is easy for me and my family compared to what it was in the past – about 40 years ago. In the past we did not have electricity, running water, or cars. The flowers were grown out in the open – no greenhouses to protect them. We women worked hard, usually 12 hours a day, every day. We worked in the flower fields and at home. There were no doctors or hospitals in the village. I had 9 children- one every 3 years. We had to carry our children with us wherever we went, including working in the fields. I lost 2 children when they were infants, because they were exposed to harsh weather conditions by being out in the fields all day, carried on my back.
I am happy with my present life.

For more images and stories from Maya women visit my website

Josefina in her shop
Josefina in her shop
Josefina's daughter - an expert machine embroider
Josefina’s daughter – an expert machine embroider