As week 3 is coming to a close, I can’t help but notice how much team Initiative has been able to accomplish in just 5 days. This Monday, we arrived in the city of Sololá, which is about 2 hours out of Antigua, and ventured across Late Atitlán by boat to a small town called San Juan. When we arrived, we were greeted by the lovely women of the Lema Weaving Cooperative with a hot lunch. The weaving cooperative is a group of local women who use traditional weaving practices and all-natural dyes to make their classic yet modern products. Lema would become our workspace for the week, and I think it is safe to say that, as a result of being around these wonderful women, we have all gotten a bit more in touch with our feminine sides—yes, even the guys.

The week started off with a hike up Mayan Nose Mountain, which is supposed to resemble the profile of a Mayan person looking up to the sky. The hike consisted of both steep trails and open fields. We were awe-inspired to say the least. But of course, we are not here just for the beautiful views. As soon as we descended the mountain, we got straight to work with our consulting projects for the women of Lema. Our group of ten was divided into two. Five of us focused on developing a customization system so customers can select the style, pattern, and colors desired for their scarves. The other half of us focused on expanding the product line offered at Lema by combining existing products and suggesting new ones. These new product suggestions included sarong wraps, hammocks, and dishtowels. These consulting projects taught us a lot, and I’m not just talking about the fact that the guys all now know how to tie a stylish sarong wrap.

Team Iniciativa is continuing to do research for our “macro projects.” Specifically, we are conducting a Cooking Habits Survey throughout Guatemala to analyze the habits and needs of women who cook. Additionally, our team is organizing an Urban Gardening Competition, which will foster ingenuity and problem solving from within the community in a creative manner.

What is next? A sales campaign as well as a weekend full of rest, relaxation, kayaking, and cliff jumping!