Protests in Guatemala seem quite frequent. It is usually over basic human rights from what I can gather. Everyone needs their basket filled. Enough food, work, wages, safety, and the right to fill their families baskets with whatever is valued and needed to keep the fires going at home.
What prompted my willingness to come back to my dusty blog is that today the Senora who helps me when I'm not in Guatemala was picking up a shipment in Antigua. It's rather a large shipment for me but I'm good. I have food in my belly and a nice messy house infected with baskets to call home. It's the vendors selling their goods that the protests affect. The family from Momostenango who makes our core basket line, Christian who is my new favorite Lonchero maker, Cesy who has a bunch of beaded animal ornaments, and Edgar and his family who make and sell quite a few of our small items like Tassles. And Ana ... who planned all week, getting the money wire, working out how to meet with the vendors, lining up the transport to carry it all and now they can't go.
The entrance to Antigua is cut off by protesters.
I am always a guest in Guatemala meaning my presence and my thoughts. Where I would likely form an opinion of politics in my own country I always choose to sit on the sidelines in another country with their problems.
Typically if a group of people come together they feel as if they have been wronged in some way. I usually listen to that with an openness because it's a worthy enough cause that they showed up, took time off work, made efforts beyond their daily life, and at the worst put their life on the line.
Blocking roads has always been a method of protests anywhere in the world because it gets peoples attention and disrupts the normal flow.
A year ago another shipment was delayed because the pan-American highway was closed to Xela and I could not get my baskets out for almost two weeks. Again, for me it's a luxury. For the people protesting it was a life need...
But I can't dismiss that shutdowns do temporarily impact the very people they are protecting. I feel an immense pressure to not delay payment for the family from Momostenango who put a lot of efforts into the baskets that now just sit. Or to the other vendors as they have families to feed too. I always feel a very strong sense of being a good steward in the relationship I have with all of my business acquaintances and the sneaking friendship that naturally occurs.
I like to keep things moving but sometimes the stops are important. I have no idea if this stop is going to make any traction, be safe, make a difference, or how long it will go on. But I do know some people felt it important enough of a cause to make it happen.
I will be on the sideline waiting and watching to make my next move for my vendors and for my little business as soon as the road clears. I'm a guest after all. I take the lead of the Guatemlan people making their country better one move at a time. We all need to feel our moves make a difference. Hats off to them in making a difference.
More info about the protests: