Bases of comixcal ovens
On the basis of the damage and vulnerability diagnoses, Cooperación Comunitaria AC implemented the Social and Comprehensive Habitat Reconstruction Project in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, that includes reconstruction of housing, bread and comixcal ovens, and kitchens; as well as constructions of new housing, school-kitchens, and of the first center of arts and trades in Ciudad Ixtepec. From the studies on housing and kitchen of Ikoot and Binnizá indigenous groups, all of this structures recover the traditional istmeña [regional] characteristics and techniques to be included into a reinforced system —specific for each case— against the earthquakes and strong winds in the region.
In March and April, 50 bases of comixcal oven [used to make a kind of tortilla toast] were built in four neighborhoods. This process was developed through workshops with the families that are part of the Project along with the labour, which encouraged the assimilation of the reinforced constructive system, the appropriation of the recent-built oven, and the comprehension of collaborative work between neighbors and with Cooperación Comunitaria.
For the construction of kitchens, we have developed 50 diagnoses and several collaborative design workshops, where women revealed how much time they dedicate to produce food in the oven, and how important is the kitchen as a space used for production, for family gathering and for transmission of knowledge. This has allowed us to identify how the proposal of the kitchen could adapt to each of the people’s needs and preferences.
In addtion, Cooperación Comunitaria made a proposal with bahareque cerén [an earth constructive system], which also resists climatological conditions in the region, that it is being used in the construction of the first center of arts and trades of Ixtepec; in this case, logs have been replaced with sticks to reduce impact on deforestation. This traditional technique has also been proposed for the kitchens, since it recovers earth construction and the use of local materials. However, it is currently out of use, so this has implied many difficulties when looking for the materials, and for skilled labor with this knowledge.
Along with the kitchens and ovens, the project to build new housing and reinforce the ones that were damaged, in which traditional istmeña houses have been rescued from demolition in cases were they could be repaired, reinforced against earthquakes and strong winds in the region and inhabited. Currently, 44 houses are in process for being reinforced, and 18 new ones are in the process of construction.
Also, at the end of last year the construction of a kitchen-school was concluded in San Francisco del Mar —a community of the Ikoot indigenous group—, conceived as a model for traditional kitchens that can be replicated in other communities of the same group. Subsequently, another kitchen-school will be built based on the traditional characteristics of the Binnizá indigenous group in Ixtepec, for the moment.
Such processes have meant a challenge for everyone because of the constant increase of material and manufacture prices and later on because the raises of tempeture of 40 centigrades degrees that make people tired, but it has allowed relationships between neighbors to strengthen and for them to assume collaboration as a tool to work as a community for the reconstruction.
Construction process of a base of comixcal oven
Collaborative design workshop for kitchens
Workshop: daily activities in kitchen thru photos
First center of arts and trades of Ixtepec
Construction process of center of arts and trades
Workshop for construction of bases of ovens
Construction of reinforced traditional housing
Traditional houses reconstruction & reinforcement