Greetings from Antigua, where the streets are thrumming with reverence and rituals of Semana Santa!

The week leading up to Easter Sunday is an intense and outrageously colourful explosion of devotion in Guatemala. From the intricate alfombras (carpets) of dyed sawdust that adorn the cobblestone streets to the thick copal smoke that wafts alongside the solemn processions that weave centuries-old Mayan and Catholic traditions - there is nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world.
Semana SantWhile many formal businesses in Guatemala close during Semana Santa, the women entrepreneurs in Namaste's program are particularly busy as they cater to the surge in local and international tourists who venture out to experience these unique festivities. 

This also happens to be the final week of Women's History Month, during which I've had the opportunity to spend more time with our 20 new Women's Economic Empowerment (WEE) Community Mentors and get to know their incredible stories. I couldn't help but highlight a few of these remarkable women before the end of the month.
Our WEE Community Mentorship training went far beyond just training the trainers on financial literacy. It explored the impact of gender-based violence on self-esteem, restorative justice, regenerative leadership, and creating safe spaces for women. It also fostered significant personal reflection for our mentors to focus on owning their unique stories and struggles as evidence of their strength and encouraging them to trust their vulnerability as they step into leadership roles within their communities. This beautiful quote from Ursula Le Guin has become a guiding mantra for our mentors:

“We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains.” 
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