Guatemala – Clothing
Over the next several weeks and months, I will intersperse facts and figures about Guatemala through the blog. As I share this information, it’s my hope to further understand this country that has captured my heart. Today, I’ll share about the clothing in Guatemala. Last week, I shared some information about education (click here).
From my experience last summer in Guatemala, the men dress fairly plainly. I observed that most men wore button down shirts or T-shirts. I don’t recall seeing a single man wearing shorts. They were wearing blue jeans or khaki pants. Many of the men wore some type of hat. These hats were often fitted with a wide brim which I assume was used to protect them from the sun.
The boys in the community where I served (Xenacoj) wore blue jeans, sneakers, T-shirts, and sweatshirts. Many of the T-shirts and sweatshirts were decorated with American images and logos. And I’m assuming the community thrived on clothing passed down from the United States.
The woman in the Guatemala dress more formally. They wear a skirt and a colorful, hand-made blouse called a huipil. Each town or region is known for its own color scheme. The women in Xenacoj wore a reddish, purplish top with colored patterns. These blouses are quite expensive compared to the average pay in Guatemala and often become the most prized and fanciest attire for the women in the villages of Guatemala.
The girls wear a mix of formal clothing like the older women, but they also wear T-shirts and skirts. Again, I would assume that many of the shirts and skirts come through the United States and more advanced countries (although I would guess that many of these items are made in China).
For more great information on Guatemala clothing, I would encourage you to check out this website. There are some great pictures and proper names for the clothing that we saw in Guatemala.
On a side note, one of the sad things I saw when we were in Guatemala this summer related to the clothing we wear here in the United States. In the town of Xenacoj, workers were working ten to twelve hours a day for a few bucks a day making Hollister jeans. I don’t own any of these jeans, but I’ve been told that they sell for approximately $80 per pair in malls and shopping centers in the United States. As I think about this, a passage from Matthew comes to mind:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”Matthew 25:31-46
Obviously, you and I don’t need to go to Guatemala to clothe the needy, feed the poor, and looking after the homeless, the sick, and the prisoners. There are people all around us who could use a helping hand. While our family is looking forward to helping the poor in Guatemala, we are also challenged to look to those around us right where we live. Hopefully, learning a little bit about Guatemala will give us all a deeper appreciation for what we have an a better understanding of those around us and around the world who are needy.
What’s your favorite piece of clothing? What’s your most expensive piece of clothing? Are you willing to give up your favorite or most expensive piece of clothing to help someone in need?