The Bootmakers of Pastores
It doesn’t feel like we’ve even left Antigua. 20 minutes out of the bus plaza behind the market, we’re pulling in to the little town of Pastores. It could be something right out of a spaghetti western. Windswept streets with tumbleweeds rolling down the middle and a looooong lonesome whistle in the background. But I digress and might have made up the bit about the whistle.
We came looking for boots. ….It’s not like you could miss them—there are more than 50 shops in this little village, population 3700 or so. I’m meeting with Alicia Lopez, the director of an English language program for local kids. It turns out that Lopez’s English students have uncovered an extraordinary nugget of their town’s history and why it’s now on the map as the go-to place in Guatemala for handmade boots. This it the tale of their grandfathers and fathers. This is the story of Don Julio Acual 86, retired.