Monday, May 16, 2011

Two Weeks and Counting!

With only two weeks to go until I leave for Guatemala, I’m beginning to finalize my packing list and logistics for the trip! After meeting in Houston, Darcy and I will fly together to Guatemala City, and then drive about 3 hours to Panajachel, which will be our new home for the following two months. We will be met by Andrea, our site supervisor, who works with Nest’s partner organization in Panajachel, Oxlajuj B’atz’ (Thirteen Threads). Andrea will help us get settled in our apartment and get oriented with Oxlajuj B’atz’ and with Panajachel before we begin our work as Nest Fellows. 
From that point on, Darcy and I will be busy working through the different projects that we’ve been assigned for the summer. In Panajachel, Nest works with Oxlajuj B’atz in generating a more robust market for the goods produced by Mayan Indian weavers, in a sustainable manner and without the use of middlemen. Some of the projects I will be working on to support this mission include:
  • Creating a professional “look book” of all of the products produced by the cooperative in order to entice potential buyers
  • Compiling a production guide, detailing each of the steps taken in producing each product, in order to help streamline and simply the production process for artisans
  • Designing new marketing materials
  • Conducting market research to expand the cooperatives’ marketplace opportunity, both locally and abroad
  • Conducting pricing and community audits to evaluate the appropriateness of product pricing and ensure that each group meets industry standards for fair trade and corporate social responsibility
Meanwhile, Darcy will be producing a marketing video, conducting Nest’s annual survey, and gathering life-histories and testimonials of the women that work with Nest in Panajachel, and we will be working together on overseeing the teaching of Nest’s business curriculum. Though we have a lot to accomplish - and though the next two weeks will be jam-packed with last minute preparations - I'm eager to get started on what's sure to be an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling summer!

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