Each participant on the tour contributes $50 and at the end of the day, the tour group must decide which group of three women will receive the loans. It was a wonderful opportunity to see how people are living out in the pueblo, which is still extremely simple and traditional, limited water, scruffy dirt yards, filled with chickens and the acrid smells of animals close by. Piles of corn and squash were drying in the sun, fences made of rusty wire bed springs, everything being utilized to its fullest.
Our first group included two women who had market stalls selling fruits and vegetables and who wanted the loans to buy more produce to fill their stands, offering greater variety and improving the look of their tables.
Our tour group decided to award the loans to the second group of three as they seemed a bit more ready and in need of supplies to expand already growing businesses. It was really enlightening and felt great to see where our money was going, without much overhead. We were able to ask questions and see how much hard work goes into the textiles which are sold quite cheaply (about 400 pesos for a 2x3 foot rug) considering the amount they must pay for materials (about 200 pesos) and the time it takes to weave each one (6 hours). These ladies are industrious and working hard to improve their lives, their marketing and their merchandise. If you visit Oaxaca you should take advantage of this unique experience.