A Story from Cuzco

Remigo Gutierrez and his wife Marija live together with their three sons in Cuzco, Peru. Here is their story as told by Kristen Reffle, store manager of Ten Thousand Villages on West Broadway.

Remigo and his wife got pregnant in their late teens and both of their parents kicked them out of the house and they had to quickly find ways to support themselves and their new child.  Marija started to sell clay whistles at the local archaeological sites nearby and one day wondered if she could make the whistles herself.  The two of them went to the hills to collect some clay and start experimenting.  Their first batch came out broken, the second batch came out black from the smoke and not fully “cooked’ on the inside.  Marija took this second batch, cleaned and painted them and took them to sell.  That night she came home with an empty basket, she said “they sold like hot bread!”

Remigo happily working on his clay instruments in his workshop in Cuzco.

Then one day the couple met the founder of Manos Amigas, a fair trade organization dedicated to the exportation of Handicrafts and Alternative Tourism, their lives changed forever.  Yannina, the founder of the organization wanted to take a sample  of the clay whistles back to LIma with her however the couple was nervous.  This hesitation came from the numerous times buyers would visit, take a sample and then copy their designs.  When Yannina offered to pay for the sample, Remigo was shocked.  Since then Remigo and his wife have been working with Manos Amigas for 18 years.

After meeting Yannina that day, Marija and Remigo have been working together to refine their skills and now live a successful life with their three children. Marija still sells at the local sites to help in between orders and their three sons all attend school.  They live in a two story house with a workshop and are very grateful for the orders from Ten Thousand Villages.

An great selection of brightly coloured musical instruments at Ten Thousand Villages.

We are almost halfway through the Ten Thousand Villages partnership.  Make sure you take this great opportunity and visit Ten Thousand Villages. There is a diverse selection of items for yourself or for someone else!  Just mention “L’Arche” and you’ll be helping two great causes.


About L'Arche Greater Vancouver

L'Arche Greater Vancouver is a charitable organization that provides residential care and day programs for adults with developmental disabilities. We are located in Burnaby, BC Canada.
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