Marcelina, Her Mother, and Her Ropa Tipica

John Benjamin

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Marcelina Gutiérrez Hernández, her mother, and her daughter sit at three wooden looms the size of pianos where they daily weave ropa tipica, the brightly hued, traditional outfits worn by the 300 or so women in the town of Santa María Guelacé, Mexico.

Marcelina emanates kindness. Her clothes-making supports an entire family, and provides for the women of her small town.

On this day, her large family was busy preparing lunch (it was a Saturday), and she patiently sat with me, discussing her business and asking questions. She also (very patiently) sat for these photos, then invited me to share the meal with her family.

I met these women in 2018, when I was teaching English and administering interest-free microloans for Fundación En Vía, an organization that gives interest-free loans and educational resources to female entrepreneurs in the Tlacolula Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico.

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