Interviews and collective evaluations
Cooperación Comunitaria AC continues strengthening the constructive and productive capacities of communities affected by the earthquakes of September 2017, through the Comprehensive and Social Reconstruction of Habitat Project in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca.
Kitchens, traditional bread ovens and comixcal bases
Until May 15, 2019, 154 comixcal bases have been built, which is a traditional oven where women in the region prepare totopos, tortilla toasts and other corn products mainly, to obtain income. From those, 86 have been built in Ixtepec, 25 in Niltepec, 26 in Chihuitán, and 17 in Xadani. In additon to this, 22 traditional bread ovens were also built in Ixtepec.
Through the reconstruction of such infrastructure, the economic activities of many women in the region has been recovered and strengthened, that was stopped abruptly due to the destruction caused by the earthquakes to their productive tools.
With the same purpose, Cooperación Comunitaria has implemented the construction of kitchens of bajareque cerén with the communities of Ixtepec and Niltepec, 13 in the first community, and 7 in the second one, which adds up to 20 until now.
Recently, it also started the construction of 2 school-kitchens in the public middle school “20 de Noviembre” of Ixtepec, that add up to the ones built previously in Ixtepec, San Francisco del Mar, Niltepec y Xadani; 6 in total. During this process, teachers, students and their families are recovering traditional earth constructive systems (called bajareque, but commonly known as “mud construction”) through activities of mutual support (called tequios), as they get to know the reinforced kitchen model with bajareque cerén —a different kind of the same technique that reduces environmental impact— proposed by Cooperación Comunitaria.
Moreover, we continued developing diagnoses and gathering information from different lands in San Mateo del Mar, where we presented the kitchens’ project to interested families on March 24, since we portray to build some kitchens there soon.
In all the communities mentioned, the participation of people in meetings, workshops and tequios has been crucial to consolidate the recovery of constructive traditions and strengthen the capacity building to react and recover after an emergency.
Feedback and environmental projects
In one hand, as part of the Feedback project, we have developed several evaluations and conversatories with the participants of the Comprehensive and Social Reconstruction Project: inhabitants, construction workers and the field team of Cooperación Comunitaria. The meetings arranged with construction workers were meant to get to know what have they learned in the technical area but also personally during the whole process.
Also, we met with the women whose kitchens, bread ovens and comxcal bases were finished and that are already being used so they can let us know how they felt with the building process, the reconstructed space and with the operation of the ovens.
At the same time, we are developing interviews with each family to learn from their opinion about the constructive process, the successes and errors of Cooperación Comunitaria towards considering the participation of the housing inhabitants during the whole process, and their satisfaction level.
It is worth noting that some women participating in all of the projects (housing, kitchens, comixcal bases and ovens) organized a tequio to prepare a traditional dish in Mexico called barbacoa for the Day of the Holy Cross on May 3rd, during which construction workers are traditionally celebrated in Mexico.
In the other hand, as part of the environmental project, many productivity and environmental workshops have been developed with the participants to get to know their perception about the existing risk due to the lack of timber species; and the small actions being done for reforestation to ensure its preservation and avoid its depletion, since the families’ productive activities include the usage of firewood.
The workshops about environmental and natural risks have resulted in community risk maps and in the anticipation of actions to prevent and reduce the vulnerability against risks, such as the strong earthquakes, rains and winds identified in the region.
Additionally, we have continued to develop workshops to recover the traditional practices of prevention and maintenance, since one of the issues that caused more damage to housing during the earthquakes of 2017 was precisely the lack of maintenance, mostly in their roofs.
In the case of housing reconstruction, until now 15 new houses have been concluded and 36 have been reinforced completely, which adds up to 51 finished homes.
Center of Arts and Crafts
The first Center of Arts and Crafts in Ixtepec has been completely roofed, and we are only pending to place the floor, electrical installation, doors and windows.
This space will be managed by the community, through the local organization Comité Ixtepecano para la Defensa de la Vida y el Territorio, to develop workshops related to different traditional activities of the region such as carpentry, electricity and embroidery. It has also been suggested to implement itinerant programs that will be decided collectively, according to the proposals of the inhabitants.
Kitchens, ovens and comixcales in 3 communities
Meeting to develop kitchens' project in San Mateo
Until now, 51 families have recovered their homes
Environmental and natural risk workshops
First Center of Arts and Crafts in Ixtepec, Oaxaca