Training and supervision of the construction of the cabins has been constant, building the skills of the local women in charge of the project. They have been learning basic accounting so they can run their business independently, customer service and attention so they can offer a better and more professional service to their clients, and the advanced skills to build and finalize the construction by using different clay preparations as the final layers of the locally-resourced cabin. They started with a mixture of clay to fill in the walls and finished with a finer one to give it the texture and color desired.
Although preparing and working with clay is hard work, the women have worked happily and enthusiastically. Various women now plan on improving their own homes using the techniques learned. They have realized that they do not need to invest so much money in this technique but rather time and effort; both of which they have in abundance.
Over the year, the project has been receiving a significant number of visitors such as: donors visiting to see the improvement made, student groups who stop by to learn about building with clay, tourists that enjoy the spectacular view, and journalists interested in telling the project’s history.
Although they’ve been experiencing some setbacks due to the heavy rains, the hard workcontinues and soon the cabins will be finished.
The women in Cuatro Palos have developed different skills throughout the years, not only for the management of their project but also in self growth and self-esteem, showing great improvement in their corporate vision.
The youngest members, at 22 years old, are Paulina Yañez Reséndiz, who fills the role of Committee Secretary in the cooperative, and Graciela Vega Hernández who is in charge of the information kiosk at the entrance to the community. Respectively they are motivated to grow the business to provide for their parents, siblings, and 3 children after having divorced and like the other 12 women, seek to build a healthy and safe home with a hope for a better future.
After a long wait, the structure has finally been finished and the women are already constructing the walls with clay after having received training on the method to mix clay with other materials and how to properly adhere it to the structure. The result will be pleasant, perfectly isolated rooms to lodge visitors.
It has been very gratifying for GESG personnel to witness the women's enthusiasm and to listen to their comments about how they will be able to improve their homes using the same techniques and materials they're using to build the cabins.
Cuatro Palos is a community with a cooperative that goes by the same name and five years ago, with the approval of the Council of the Ejido where they live, refurbished an old chapel to open a small restaurant run by enterprising local women with the drive to overcome their circumstances and to gain a certain amount of economic independence.
One of the founders is Doña María Irene Aguas Melchor, the eldest of the cooperative’s twelve members. Working towards the shared goals of the project, each member has their obligations and each tourist who arrives to enjoy the amazing views, a meal and to walk the trail are greeted and guided by Doña María or one of her peers. Despite serious health issues with her heart, Doña María has 5 children who live in Queretaro City and took a few months to recuperate and has returned to work recently. At 70 years young, she lives alone with her husband and looks forward to building and offering lodging to tourists in the next few months.
After more than a year of negotiations on behalf of the cooperative, our team accompanied the women to a meeting of their Ejido´s Council, the local authorities in tourism and the local government. As a result of this meeting an act was signed by all concerned authorizing the construction and management of the cabin by the Cuatro Palos Cooperative. The women are very content and excited to start learning and building. In the coming weeks they will begin to prepare the site, so stay tuned and see how this project becomes a reality.
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