The Ladysmith Rotary Club will sell hand-woven scarves to raise funds for access to education in Guatemalan villages. (Photo courtesy of Gerry Beltgens/Rotary Club of Ladysmith)

The Ladysmith Rotary Club will sell hand-woven scarves to raise funds for access to education in Guatemalan villages. (Photo courtesy of Gerry Beltgens/Rotary Club of Ladysmith)

Central Island Rotary clubs to sell authentic Guatemalan clothing

Club will raise funds for access to education programs

On Nov. 27, Central Island Rotary Clubs are will present Jacqueline Mealing’s private collection of weavings, collected over the last 25 years, to be sold for fundraising. There will also be a special fashion show where Ladysmith High School Interact members will model traditional dress (trajes) of ten different Guatemalan villages. Scarves woven on backstrap looms in simple designs will be for sale. They have been woven by women in Guatemala to raise funds to help their children attend school.

Guatemala has the highest percentage of Indigenous population in all of Central America. Visitors are amazed by the brilliantly coloured intricately woven embroidered clothing worn with great pride by Mayan women, according to Mealing. Each small village has its own design and colour, worn by women (and on ceremonial occasions by the men). The intricate art of the backstrap stick loom has been passed down by grandmothers for many generations. Mealing said the elaborate designs indicate the current economic condition of the village and Mayans can tell within seconds what village a woman belongs to.

Each year the style changes a little and all must learn and admire the new fashion. The outfit, much like an Indian sari, is pleated carefully and pulled tight to the figure. It can be adjusted easily with pregnancy. To wear a dress associated with one’s community is an active gesture of belonging and pride of identity. Very elaborate outfits are worn on festive days.

Mealing is a retired home economics and art teacher from Mill Bay who has worked with the Mayan women since the Guatemalan War ended in the 1990s to help them rebuild their economies through the production of these beautiful items. Her entire collection of rare Indigenous collectible weavings will be for sale. The event will be at the Ladysmith Eagles Hall from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m and admission is by donation. There will also be Guatemalan music, Hibiscus tea and cookies available.

ALSO READ: Central Vancouver Island Rotaries raise funds for access to education in Guatemalan villages


 

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The Ladysmith Rotary Club will sell hand-woven scarves to raise funds for access to education in Guatemalan villages. (Photo courtesy of Gerry Beltgens/Rotary Club of Ladysmith)

The Ladysmith Rotary Club will sell hand-woven scarves to raise funds for access to education in Guatemalan villages. (Photo courtesy of Gerry Beltgens/Rotary Club of Ladysmith)