My information on German’s health and economic needs comes from many sources. Maria Choc, who bears the weight of lived experience, as well as human rights organizations and individuals who share their words of supportive solidarity. However, this information tended to be clustered around a single month, November, 2011.
When I was researching nickel mining in El Estor, Guatemala for my post “German Choc is a Human Rights Defender–intersectional identities,” I came across more recent information. German was able to acquire the funds to open his store! Rights Action Co-Director Grahame Russell, who visited German in January 2012, reported that German “was able to build, stock and open a small grocery store” in a room in his brother’s house “with funds from North American donors, and support from his family and local community” in December, 2011.
How does the news of German Choc’s store affect EdgyAmelia? First, I am elated that so many people came together to support German–members of his own community and North Americans. I am excited to learn that he has a means of earning money and becoming economically self-sufficient. I also think it is a cool coincidence that German opened his store on December 22, 2011, and I launched EdgyAmelia on June 22, 2012–six months later to the day.
But what does the news of German’s Choc’s store mean for my fundraising project? Although German’s store is open and operational, “he still has huge ongoing health and income-generating needs,” to quote Grahame Russell in our email exchange in May, 2012. German lost the use of his left lung when he was shot and paralyzed in 2009. From exchanging emails with a professional working at Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA) in June and July, 2012, I understand that German’s parents and young son also have many needs. The store’s opening is a great development, and my goal is to use my arts and craft to help ensure it stays open.
So here is what is in store for EdgyAmelia…
This week, I learned valuable techniques for hemming pants, darning sweaters and socks, and mending holes in garments. I am now offering these services at low-cost to people living in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. I am taking the next few months to hone my tailoring skills, and starting in the fall, I will also provide clothing alterations.
I also took this week to stencil, sculpt, and sketch the aleph bet. Soon, I will have Hebrew Calligraphy paintings and drawings, and Star of David and Hamsa pendants sculpted from polymer clay to display on my Etsy Store. I am experimenting with constructing a pattern for a yoga bag that can carry a Manduka (the eight pound Cadillac of mats), and contemplating how to include the principles of Ayurvedic Dosha in yoga towels, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and inspirational cards. Accessible designs for people with dexterity, vision, and material sensitivity issues are important parts of my creative process. If you have a custom request, please reach out, I would love to satisfy your own unique needs for handcrafted quirk.
Of all the art that I do, I consider myself a writer first. On my blog, I have so much more in store–books and movie recommendations for learning about Guatemala and exploring disability related issues, and insights into how my own personal experiences sparked my passion for this project. In closing, the best is yet to come.
1. Rights Action Team. “In German’s Store, Discussing long-term health and wheelchairs…and justice for victims of repression caused by Canadian mining companies.” Rights Action. January 19, 2012 http://rightsaction.org/action-content/germans-store-discussing-long-term-health-and-wheelchairs-and-justice-victims
2. Sampson, Ben. “Some Courage with your Coffee?”Living with Locational ADD…Tales from a Nomad. November 1, 2011 http://bensampsonite.blogspot.com/
3. Rights Action Team. “Special Fundraising Appeal–Health needs and Family Store for German Chub Choc.” Rights Action. November 16, 2011 http://www.rightsaction.org/action-content/special-fund-raising-appeal-health-needs-family-store-german-chub-choc