More Stories About Who Makes Your Mexican Hammock and Their Lives.
There are hundreds of Mayan villages in the Yucatan State of Mexico. The families that live there are living in very simple, basic conditions. For many, their only income is hammock weaving. Here's a story of one such family who we work with who is growing his economic independence.
As one of the more "successful" villagers, Eustacio and his wife Juana Francisca were very proud to show us their homestead, inviting us in for some fresh tortillas which were still piping hot. He was eager to show us around his humble branch hut. In the yard he eagerly pointed out and made a point of showing his one cow that was going to be slaughtered and sold in early January. As he took us to see his prized cow, we were accompanied by the kids and his family. While by no means rich by our standards, he is the local entrepreneur In the Mayan village of Kinil, having made a significant investment in a corn grinder. He charges a small fee of 5 pesos for the locals to grind their maize for their tortillas.
The grinder is noisy but can do in a few minutes what would take hours to do by hand. Eustacio is proud to say that he saved money over the last ten year to pay for the grinder by abstaining from drink. His grinder has made life easier for him and those in the village.
Along with the grinder, he also has chickens and turkey running free range throughout the yard. Cages and pens are unheard of apart from the cow tied up. The fowl and people seem to live side by side, coexisting in harmony. With part of his income from his farm and mill, his family of 6 daughters and 2 sons also participate in the hammock trade. In this family, the women make the hammocks producing a hammock a week to add to the family income. While still a basic level of subsistence by our standards, Eustacio is proud of his success and that of his family in how they earn their living through these diversified ways.
Mayan Village Life
The Mayan way of life is a simple, but hard one. Often discriminated against, the Mayan people face great challenges. With little access to employment and opportunity, their economic outlook is limited. With little opportunity, many of the families we visit live in one room branched huts or cememt block buildings. They eat and live simply usually cooking on the open fire. Yet, their outlook seems genuinely positive. As in many homes, there are hammocks strung up for everyday use. Hammocks are both a piece of furniture providing a place to sit when visiting, or at night become their sleeping place. During the day, the Mayan women also use them to rock their baby to sleep as they work nearby making a hammocks.
For many Mayan families, the hammock trade is their only source of income. We work with hundreds of familes in the local communities to support their self-sufficiency through the production of fair trade hammocks. We provide them with the cord as well as pick up the produced hammocks. We then deliver their handmade hammocks directly to you and your friends to enjoy. If you and your group would like to see how the Mayan hammocks are made and visting a Mayan village, read more here on the Mayan village tour.