Maya Traditions Journal > Meet Laura, Our New Community Tourism Coordinator!

lauraHello!  My name is Laura Gehring, and I am proud to be the newest addition to the Maya Traditions’ team.  I will be working as the Coordinator of Community Tourism, which means I will have the huge honor of bringing visitors out into the field to see our programs and artisans in action.  Visitors have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture of the region through visiting Maya Traditions’ Organic Medicinal Herb Garden in Panajachel and the surrounding communities where our collaborating cooperatives are located.

At the Garden, visitors are free to look, touch, and taste the plants as they learn about their medicinal properties.  The properties contained in these herbs are well known to traditional Maya healers, but their knowledge is dying due to the proliferation of Western medicine.  At the garden, visitors learn how Maya Traditions is working to preserve the traditional knowledge of Maya healers and respect for these powerful plants.GardenPanarama

When we visit the weaving cooperatives, participants meet our artisans face-to-face in their own communities and learn about the painstaking process that these women use to create their woven works of art.  The artisans teach our visitors about making cotton thread, natural dye techniques, ikat tying, backstrap weaving, and brocade.

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I am so excited to be working at Maya Traditions, an organization that truly champions the culture of the indigenous peoples of this region of Guatemala.  This small corner of the world has meant a lot to me since I first arrived in 2010, shortly after the infamous Hurricane Agatha had ravaged much of the Highlands region.  Over the next 5 years, I interned and worked with different local organizations and gained as much knowledge as I possibly could.

I am so happy to be in a position to put that knowledge to use.  I cannot wait to share Maya Traditions’ work with the world!

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