Saturday, November 4, 2017
9:30 to 4:00 p.m.
Parkdale United Church
2919 8 Ave NW



Sunday, December 3, 2017
5-1011 Canterbury Drive SW
1:00 - 4:00 P.M.
CHRISTMAS SALE in Support of

Maria Esperanza Hernandez LopezMeet Maria ESPERANZA Hernandez Lopez, 37 years old, owner and manager of the Mayan Boutique www.mayanboutique.com in Antigua, Guatemala.

Esperanza comes from the indigenous town of San Antonio Aguas Caliente near to Antigua. She is one of 10 children-7 girls and 3 boys from a very poor family. In Guatemala only the first 6 grades of school are, in theory, free and mandatory.

Esperanza left school after the third grade because she didn’t like it and she saw that there was never enough of anything in her home and she wanted to help. When she was twelve years old she became a street vendor like many others from her town in Antigua where there are many national and foreign tourists. Street vendors sell ‘tipicas’, that is hand woven scarves, table runners, bead jewelry made by indigenous craftsmen. They often carry up to fifty pounds of goods wrapped in a bundle over their backs and on top of their heads. Their days are long- 8-12 hours and they can go for days without selling anything. This is the work that Esperanza did until she was 25 years old. During this time she got an education. When she was 15, she attended night classes for two years to complete her primary school to Grade 6. Then she studied weekends for five years to complete secretarial school. Next was a college business degree which took three years attending part time from 6-10 p.m. two evenings a week. Along the way, she picked up enough English to work with foreigners and as a hotel receptionist.

Her goal was to set up a shop in Antigua where the rents are high and the competition is fierce. Her husband, Martin, whom she met in 2000, was like minded. Together, step by step, they built a business that actually creates goods made from repurposed hand woven fabric. They produce bags, clothing, jewelry and boots. They have foreign wholesale clients, like Casa Corazon, who they work with to make custom designed goods. The business now employs seven family members in production, sewing and design. Esperanza is a wonderful example to her Mayan community of what hard work and education can accomplish.

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