It takes Carmen three days to weave a medium size hand cloth with flowers and a pretty crochet border. For that, she gets just 25 pesos (just over US $2). Fair enough, she doesn’t work three days solid. She fits it around her three children; getting them ready for school, walking the 30 mins round trip to drop them off, cooking and cleaning and also tending her rabbits. But still, $US2 seems unfair considering the amount of work involved for such a small profit.
She tells me that with her next loan, she wants to make a 3 x 3 meter table cloth and it will take her about a month to make. But she’ll be able to sell it for around US$40. The price is low because there are other women in San Felipe doing similar work and not a lot of tourists. She can sell her table cloths for double the price in Mexico City, but she needs to wait for a friend or family member to go there and take her things to sell.
Carmen is the first client I have met on this MicroFlicks trip, and I have to say that she radiates pride as she holds up her different designs. Despite how little her work pays, you can tell that she just loves doing it and she’s so grateful that she has the money to invest in this small little venture.
Carmen’s three children were so cute. On the way to pay off Carmen’s loan, her 8 year old daughter Itzel was excitingly showing us her school and also the kindergarten where her younger brother Isael goes. They also took me inside to show me their rabbits. (It stunk). I felt a bit bad knowing that the rabbits were going to be sold for meat, but for now, the kids were happy playing with them like pets.
When we took Carmen to pay off the loan, we met another family with a micro loan who raise turkeys. They invited us to come and film their business too and I spent some time chatting to the eldest daughter Ana Jasmin. She’s 14 and learns English in school, so we managed to chat a little bit – enough for me to tell her to follow Team Mexico microflicks on Facebook – she promised she would.
San Felipe itself is a small little town, but has as much energy and colour as Mexico City. Once again, I’m amazed by the amount of people out and about ‘doing stuff’ – whether that be selling tacos, working on their farm, or making table cloths, etc. Everyone is working hard to make a living, and it’s awesome to know that Carmen can use her skills to work doing something she clearly loves doing.
It was a great way to kick off the filming, be sure to check out our short video log of the day “Weaving Through Life in San Felipe”
Till next time
Ciao for now