Samuel and Lucia
Samuel and Lucia are a young couple from Tenejapa, a very small municipality located in the Chiapas mountains, close to Aldama and San Cristobal. Samuel, the eldest of 9 children, started working at a very young age together with his father, handcrafting beautiful and colorful pom poms- a traditional San Juan Chumlaan decoration.
His father’s decisions to make this the family’s main source of income was actually quite unusual at the time, when most others in the community chose more ‘practical trades’, such as farming. His father realized that in order to support his large family he couldn’t entirely rely on seasonal sources of income, and pom poms allowed him to work year round.
Samuel’s main challenge has always been finding habitual customers who understood the value of handmade decor items. He was forced to travel 16 hours by bus to the city, with all of his beautiful merchandise in hand, hoping to sell his exquisite pom poms to tourists who were eager to decorate their homes and themselves with this special, colorful craft.
Samuel’s life changed when he met The Nopo’s partners, Ubuntu Market. For the first time he was able to reach a much larger audience abroad, and no longer needed to take the long journey into the city. Since then, Samuel has managed not only to build a spacious and comfortable home for his family, he has also been able to provide jobs for others in his community, all while preserving an ancient craft that sparks joy.