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Nov 30, 2018

Comprehensive reconstruction in Guerrero

Sharing knowledge with Intercultural University
Sharing knowledge with Intercultural University

As part of the third phase of the Comprehensive Reconstruction of Habitat Project in communities of the Montaña region of Guerrero, affected by hurricanes Ingrid and Manuel in 2013, the construction of the second Indigenous Education Center in the community of Ojo de Agua restarted after it was suspended due to the raining temporary. The first one was built in La Ciénega in May.

The support of the people of the community, in collaboration with the field team and with the community promoter Grabiel Cantú, has been decisive to continue with the different processes. It is foreseen that these will show substantial advances through December.

In addition, a piece of land was designated for the construction of the Sustainable Classroom with reinforced adobe at the Intercultural University of Guerrero State based on the connection established since 2017; and Cooperación Comunitaria agreed to develop four practical workshops each month from January thru June 2019, during the constructive process.

The classroom itself will serve to strengthen the recovery of traditional knowledge among the young people in the region. There, the implementation of theoretical and practical workshops will continue, whose purpose is to diminish vulnerability through the analysis of territorial risk and through the construction of different ecotechnies —such as dry toilets and firewood saving stoves—, as well as the models of reinforced housing against the impact of the earthquakes in their home communities, located in different municipalities of the region.

Also, as part of the collaboration with the University, a recording studio in their building was set to our disposal, which can be used to continue the production of radio capsules that can make people aware of themes related to social production of habitat. Those could be disseminated in community media and commercial media, as well as in the digital platforms of Cooperación Comunitaria AC.

Besides, next December 4 we will participate in the activities of the University’s Week of Involvement, to which we were invited to talk about how we first connected with the institution and about the collaborative work from then until now.

Currently, a series of interviews have been carried out with people who live in houses built with traditional adobe, with the reinforced system proposed by Cooperación Comunitaria and with industrial materials to compare and develop an analysis based on multiple indicators of habitability defined throughout the project in the different communities we worked at.

During the previous two stages of the project, we developed diagnoses in response to the emergency post-disaster, and recovery of traditional knowledge to develop a proposal of reinforced adobe housing against the strong earthquakes and winds in the region, adapted to the local weather and culture, in some communities of the municipality of Malinaltepec.

Construction of Education Center at Ojo de Agua
Construction of Education Center at Ojo de Agua
Land for construction of Sustainable Classroom
Land for construction of Sustainable Classroom
People interviewed for habitability analysis
People interviewed for habitability analysis
Nov 26, 2018

Advances of reconstruction a year after earthquake

Comprehensive and Social Reconstruction of Habitat
Comprehensive and Social Reconstruction of Habitat

Last September marked one year after the earthquakes that severely affected the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region, in Oaxaca state, Mexico, where we developed the Comprehensive and Social Reconstruction of Habitat project, that has consisted in the recovery of constructive traditions, adequate to the environment and local culture; as well as in the use of local materials and adapted technology that enables safe systems, which resist the strong winds and earthquakes in the region.

During the last trimester of the year (September-November) several commemorative, reflective and training activities have taken place with the purpose of placing the inhabitants as key players for decision-making and taking action in the reconstruction’ process. Also, we sought to foster the recognition of the different processes that compose the whole project by the participants of each one of them; and to exchange their experiences and learning during this last year.

Throughout the project, we have built three school-kitchens where the constructive process serves as practical workshops to learn the reinforcements of bajareque, a traditional constructive system of the region, that adapt to each locality to resist the strong earthquakes and winds in the area.

The first one was built with the Ikoot community of San Francisco del Mar in December of 2017; and two others with the Binnizá communities of Ixtepec and Xadani, this last one was built along with the Centro Operacional de Vivienda (Copevi).

Besides, the last three months two more kitchens were concluded in Ixtepec —three in total— while six other are still in process. All of these have been built with the system of bajareque cerén, based on the traditional bajareque, but instead of placing tree trunks, the branches of trees are woven into columns for each corner. This contributes to diminish the severe deforestation that we have identified in the region.

Also, between September and November, thirteen traditional bread ovens have been finished and six more are in different phases of the construction process.

On the other hand, since last trimester we started the planning and design process of 22 kitchens of bajareque cerén in Niltepec along with Fundación Origen; and the reconstruction of seven bases of comixcal ovens in Santa María Xadani, in coordination with the civil association LUUM, with totopera women (who produce a regional kind of tortilla toast) that work with those organizations to improve the production, distribution and sale of their products.

This part of the project also includes 40 kitchens in San Mateo del Mar, where we reunited with the local Reconstruction Commitee to continue relations and pending commitments since September and October of 2017.

In the case of the housing reconstruction, 18 have been inhabited again by the families who lived there before the earthquakes damaged the structures. Meanwhile, the construction process of 17 new houses continues, as well as 44 reinforcements against the strong earthquakes and winds in the region. To this process, ten houses have been added, which include two of them that will be rebuilt with the system of traditional bajareque, with materials that were recovered from collapsed housing, such as trunks and roof tiles.

In the Center of Arts and Crafts the phase of walls flattening has ended, and it is currently in the roofing process. The construction of this Center has enabled the training of the builders in the technique of bajareque cerén, so now they are also tasked to build the kitchens.

As a transversal axis of the whole reconstruction process, tequios and workshops have taken place, based on their traditional ways of collective work and mutual support; as well as a part of the collaborative methodology proposed by Cooperación Comunitaria AC that engages the community with the constructive work. This fosters the assimilation of the proposal and the people's active participation during the construction of all structures. This allows them to know about the proposal of reconstruction with reinforcements and its appropriation.

Finally, during September and October we developed an environmental diagnosis related to the productivity of traditional ovens and a series of workshops about territorial risks' management and analysis; raising awareness about the use of local materials; and the right to adequate housing as a constitutional law and a human right.

School-kitchens
School-kitchens' construction serves as a workshop
School-kitchens
School-kitchens' construction serves as a workshop
Reconstruction of traditional istmena housing
Reconstruction of traditional istmena housing
Walls finished in Center of Arts and Crafts
Walls finished in Center of Arts and Crafts
Workshops during the reconstruction process
Workshops during the reconstruction process
Sep 4, 2018

Knowledge sharing and partnership for construction

Workshop to identify different types of earth
Workshop to identify different types of earth

The Comprehensive Habitat Reconstruction project has been developed along three stages with communities of the Montaña region of Guerrero, affected by the hurricanes Ingrid and Manuel in 2013. The first one focused, mostly, in addressing the emergency after the disaster, through the recovery of traditional knowledge and self-productive capacities to increase the habitability of the people affected in the community of El Obispo. For the second one we extended the project to San Miguel, Moyotepec and Laguna Seca, where we identified the need to emphasize the formative area of our work.

During the third phase —started in 2017—, last trimester we concluded the construction of the Indigenous Education Center in La Ciénega, while the foundation of the other Center in Ojo de Agua also finished. However, it has not been possible to continue with the construction process since May, due to the raining season.

Both constructions were led by Grabiel Cantú, who started collaborating with Cooperación Comunitaria AC (CC) since 2013 to learn the reinforcement model and rebuild his home. He has also contributed to increase the constructive capacities of other people in the region.

Additionally, we continued working with students from the Intercultural University of Guerrero State, as part of the agreement signed a year ago to strengthen the recovery of traditional knowledge with young people from different communities, through theoretical and practical workshops that raise awareness of the importance to use eco-techniques, such as waterless toilets, firewood saving stoves, and about the reinforced housing model.

As part of this process, we started to plan the construction of a sustainable classroom built with reinforced adobe to include all the ecotechnies proposed by CC. This will work as an exhibit house to show the reinforced model in a community with better access, since the other places where we started the project are harder to reach.

Besides strengthening our relationships with key actors in the region, we also consider important to foster the exchange of knowledge between inhabitants of the same area and with other people from other parts of the country.

For this, we have enabled the encounter between a Me’phaa indigenous association of organic producers from the Montaña of Guerrero and the Tseltal organization Caretakers of Mother Earth from the municipality of Chilón, Chiapas. We decided to work with both groups because their job already includes training between communities of the same region they inhabit.

The first part to share constructive and productive knowledge was developed in April, when eleven Caretakers visited Guerrero; and for the second part, the Me’phaa association visited the jungle region of Chiapas in May.

During both visits, multiple workshops took place not only about agro-ecological techniques but to deepen into earth construction, from an introduction to each of its elements with the pedagogical tools developed by CRAterre —an organization focused in disseminating earthen architecture— to a methodological practice to identify different types of earth; as well as a detailed insight into the model proposed by CC. All of these activities were given by our specialized team along with the community promoter Grabiel Cantú.

Later on, in July, we attended to an informative forum where several organized groups in the region participated. This allows us to get to know the context where we work.

And finally, in August we went to plan the reactivation of activities in the construction at Ojo de Agua when the rainy season stops. Also, we met with the community of El Tepeyac to talk about the possibility of building a center to share knowledge.

Workshops at Intercultural University of Guerrero
Workshops at Intercultural University of Guerrero
Students of the Intercultural University
Students of the Intercultural University
Indigenous education center finished in La Cienega
Indigenous education center finished in La Cienega
Foundations of education center in Ojo de Agua
Foundations of education center in Ojo de Agua
Planning construction of Knowledge Sharing Center
Planning construction of Knowledge Sharing Center
 
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