One Family’s Labor of Love Is Helping Others Stay Instead of Flee

What does it look like to create a world where we stop the next crisis before it starts?

In the mountains of southern Mexico, it looks like a tiny piece of amber, chiseled from deep within.

Luz stands as she works, packing up orders of beautiful amber jewelry. Her husband Hosue (pronounced ho-SWAY) sits nearby, polishing pieces of amber on an outgrown onesie. Their children are nearby too, curiosity bringing them close to listen to the conversation.

They are a close-knit family, in a close-knit community, living in the remote mountains of Mexico’s southern Chiapas region, near the border with Guatemala.

Each piece of amber that Luz and Hosue use in their work is made of tree resin hardened over millions of years. It is still mined by hand, removed from veins in the mountainside with a pickaxe, hammer, and chisels. One by one, each piece is held to the light, and examined closely to see how it should be shaped. Each piece is shaped and polished by hand, crafted into wearable art one piece at a time.

It is a labor of love.

Every piece of amber is unique, and often includes fragments of life from 25 million years ago. Photo by Haniel Galvez/Preemptive Love.

You could say that staying in their remote town is a labor of love, too. There’s no cell service. No internet connection. Few job opportunities.

Luz and her husband are skilled at making jewelry with amber mined in their area, but not everyone shares their talents. It sometimes seems they live on an island rather than a mountain. Tens of thousands of migrants from the entire stretch of South and Central America flow past them as they make their way north to the US-Mexico border.

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Many migrants are searching for safety. Some for opportunity. And while there are some who find what they need along the way, many travel until they find the hard-stop border of what they believe is their promised land: the United States.

Even in Luz’s community, it’s hard to stay when disaster strikes. Twenty families lost their homes in recent floods. When life is already this hard, how do you recover? How are you able to stay?

Winter floods devastated Luz and Hosue’s community this year. Photo provided by Hosue.

When we purchase handmade goods from artists and makers like Luz, the income helps them meet their daily needs. It allows them to rebuild their lives.

Luz and her neighbors spend their income locally, helping the economy where they live. For Luz and Hosue, it was only natural they would pour part of the income they earn making earrings into their community in a time of need.

Through your purchases, hand-crafted earrings became bags of groceries for neighbors who lost homes in the floods.

It gave devastated families something to eat when they needed it most.

It showed their neighbors that they are not alone.

Gabriel melts and forms silver into fastener components for earrings. Photo by Haniel Galvez/Preemptive Love.

What does it look like to create a world where we stop the next crisis before it starts?

It looks like handmade jewelry crafted in the mountains of southern Mexico by families who won’t become the next wave of migrants at the US-Mexico border, because they already have what they need—right where they are.

You can give help that changes the future, not just the present.

Give families the income and stability they need to stop the next crisis before it starts.

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