Amalia Gue, master weaver and president of the Ixbalamke weaving cooperative who has participated in the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market since 2011 and the 2020 Selvedge World Fair, has shared photos of the current situation in Samac.
All of the homes in the lower lying areas of the community have been lost as well as all their personal belongings. This includes the homes of twenty weavers who participate in both the Santa Fe Folk Art Market and the Selvedge World Fair events. These homes were built or improved in large part with money earned through purchases at the Folk Art Market over the past decade.
Samac is a coffee cooperative comprised of Q’eqchi’ families who were severely affected by the internal conflict in Guatemala and had to flee their original territories in the 1980s. They were resettled in Samac and have developed a successful coffe cooperative that supports the community along with the Ixbalamke weaving cooperative.
Today, nearly 100 members of the Samac community alone have taken refuge in a small chapel in a local cemetery which is above the floodplain (photos below). They have received some tortillas from neighbors in Tactic who can reach them but have little food and clothing and limited access to leave the community to get supplies. they feel safer staying in place. Local firefighters have been alerted but they have no access to the region.
Olga Reiche, another IFAM and Selvedge participant, is working to coordinate humanitarian aid to be delivered into the region, if possible.
We are friends and supporters of the Ixbalamke Cooperative and are working to get aid into Samac Coffee Cooperative for the entire Samac community and other Q’eqchi’ communities as possible. We are requesting $5,000 in donations to assist the communities with immediate needs and seed money to begin to repair homes if possible and purchase basic furnishings once the flood waters subside.