Women of En Vía

Travel • Learn • Empower

Meet Teresa

Maria Luisa is from Teotitlan but moved to nearby Tlacachahuaya when she got married. She brought with her the skills and tradition of weaving the wool rugs called tapetes from her hometown, and taught her husband the trade. They are now among the only weavers in Tlacachahuaya.

Maria Luisa and her husband weave small tapetes, pillowcases and beautiful bags that she finishes with leather handles. She makes the smaller items because it takes less investment than the large tapetes and they also sell quicker.

Currently she sells her items from their home, but she and her husband have been working hard to open a shop on the main street in town. Her husband worked in Los Angeles for six years and returned with enough money to purchase a piece of land. They recently moved out of his families' home and are constructing their new home. The store will be called “Galnazak,” which is a Zapotec word for “abundance” – but the special kind of abundance that money can’t buy.

Before receiving the loans from En Via, Maria Luisa says she could only afford to buy very small amounts of materials at a time. The loans enabled her to purchase items in bulk, get a better price, and build up her inventory. In addition to making larger profits from buying in bulk and building up her inventory, Maria Luisa says that the tours help as well.

"Sometimes they don’t buy anything, but they always give me ideas," she says.

Maria Luisa has two sons, the elder of which is studying accounting in college, the first in the family to receive a higher education, and the younger of which is finishing high school.

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