Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico

by MANOS QUE RECONSTRUYEN OAXACA A.C.
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Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Productive, Healing Center for Women in Mexico
Guitar workshop children
Guitar workshop children

Since UMPO started we were focus on the importance of creating secure and recreative spaces for children's development. The first workshop we opened was traditional guitar and zapotec singing, but we are always looking for other kinds of opportunities for the promotion of a place in which they can socialize, learn and share expiriences, a place in which they can express their emotions and be heard. That's why during this year, our most faithful children public: Zahir, Miranda, Ivonne, Alexandra, Brando, Sebastián, Cecilia, Kimberly, Emiliani, Luis, and Abi, participated in a workshop to develop artistic painting abilities. They were guided by Valentin, a graphic artist who shared with them how to mix colors to express through art what UMPO means in their lives. 

The group was surprised by Alan, a boy who was walking down the street selling candies, kids invited him to participate in the workshop. “My name is Alan, tomorrow I want to come again, May I arrive later? I have to work early in the morning, but I want to paint, I liked being here today, it makes me feel good” he expressed to the group, while he was leaving after the first day of the workshop.  

The pandemic lockdown limited a lot of educative and artistic activities for children in our community. This generation of children was affected by two crises, the 2017 earthquake and COVID-19, during the last 4 years they have had no more than 2 years of regular school.  “I have 10 years old, and I have come to UMPO since I was six, for me, UMPO means practicing our culture, I feel very happy when I come here, I enjoy arts and of course to paint,” said Zahir, one of the oldest participants of our workshops for children. 

We aspire to a stress-free childhood, the economic affectations for zapotec kids are worrying, most of them have grown up surrounded by villages in reconstruction and social chaos. Half of their lives have been based on uncertainty. Ivonne an 8-year-old girl shared “I am grateful UMPO helps children to avoid stress, I am always stressed about school, being here is being in a space of freedom”

Face the actual emotional situation of the community children was hard, but also it is a motor for boost more activities for them, their happiness for us is invaluable, we want to have more sharing moments. As part of the activities to promote a healthy childhood we are looking for new experiences, volunteering, and workshops to give children the stimulation they need to grow in a healthy environment.

Thank you for being part of this dream,  UMPO's Health and cultural community center is an open space for everyone, thank you for providing a safe space for children. 

Painting workshop
Painting workshop
Cecilia's painting
Cecilia's painting
Miranda and Alexandra
Miranda and Alexandra

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Elsa who we admire for her wisdom and discipline
Elsa who we admire for her wisdom and discipline

"My name is Elsa, I am 49 years old and I am from Asunción Ixtaltepec, Oaxaca. I choose to take the natural medicine workshop to initiate my career as a healing guide. I had my first approach to ancestral wisdom because of my mom, she used to make “limpias”(spiritual cleaning) for the newborn children through the preparation of teas and oils. When I was a girl I liked to watch her working as curandera and I learned a lot from her. When I became mom of my two children, one of them was born with bronchi sickness. I was very worried about administering pharmacs to him because of the secondary effects. 

That was when I heard about the Una Mano Para Oaxaca workshop, I thought it was an opportunity to learn about medicinal benefits from plants and herbs. I have participated in many workshops  and I am very grateful about all the learning that has amplified my vision about ancestral medicine and increased my interest to investigate more about them. 

After the healer training, I decided to launch my own products such as soaps, creams and medicinal syrups. I like to be sure about the effects and reactions of the products I make, so I am the first user before putting them up for sale. I also sell some products to my family according to their needs such as tinctured passion-flower as a remedy for insomnia, I explain to them how to take it and I make sure they consume it correctly to witness the benefits. Due to the pandemic I have not been able to continue sales and have focused on family-friendly products.

With the learnings I have gotten, I feel more confident in using herbs and recommending others which plants and how to use them. For me It is very satisfying when people come and tell me about their illnesses and I can recommend herbal teas or baths for their improvement. I think that traditional medicine was in my genes but my love for plants woke up when the herbalism workshops began.When you really like to do something, you start asking, observing, and then you can apply all your knowledge to help your family and your community."

 

Thank you, for thank you for allowing us to create this network of women to heal our communities. We wish you strenght and health. 

 

 

 

Medicinal community garden. Elsa and Cynthia.
Medicinal community garden. Elsa and Cynthia.
Spirit water for depression, grief and loss
Spirit water for depression, grief and loss
Healing ceremony
Healing ceremony
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Joanna and Perse pulping mango
Joanna and Perse pulping mango

"My name is Iris, I am part of the women promoters of “My fruit, my town” project with which we dream of getting alimentary sovereignty for everyone by avoiding waste of regional fruits. In April I started working with Joanna and Mary, who are community liaison coordinators in Chihuitán and San Dionisio del Mar, respectively. These villages have an excess of fruit trees, and in each frutal season, almost 1500 pounds of fruit per family are wasted. During this season Chihuitán was rich in mango and plum while San Dionisio had tamarind and nanche.  

We are a total of 26 women organizing between both communities working to transform fruit into dehydrated products, marmalade, ferments, vinegars and even bocashi (accelerated compost). During this season we saved around 150 pounds of fruit per organized session. 

Because of the rains and damaged roads sometimes I can’t reach the communities, and with pandemic measures communication it's complicated, but we have found good ways to organize ourselves through local promoters.  For me Joanna and Mary are the motivational link, being a local promoter means being the young mind who is not afraid to experiment new things. If women want to try a new process or a new fruit, Joanna always said “Well then, who knows what it will come out but for sure it will be delicious”.

Every time we meet, we share different techniques for transforming fruits and methods for speeding up the processes. Last time in San Dionisio del Mar, we were trying to remove raw tamarind seeds with knives, which is a hard task, when one of the older women suggested cooking them before cutting to smooth the peel. Besides our hands were very grateful, we reduced cleaning time in half. Sometimes the most obvious is not obvious at all!

Many of the women that are part of the collectives are traditional cookers, tortilleras, bakers and other traditional trades in which they are exposed to ovens and heat. What I can see, is that most of them are very interested in changing that economical activity to fruit production in the collective because they can share time with other women and also because it is more profitable in terms of time and money.  One of them told me “Imagine, if I am going to fry empanadas it will take me 20 hours, and after that I can’t go out or eat something cold because I can get sick, that’s why I liked to make peanut marzipan, we don’t need firewood to make them” 

As promoters we are very excited about creating collectives, we want to save mangos, avoid fruit waste but most of all we want more women participating. We must seek to motivate more villagers to work with fruit and vegetable waste because for us, this represents community progress. We want to embrace productive activities that don't damage the earth and promote preservation and regeneration of soils." 

Thanks a lot for being part of UMPO productive programms, we dream with the biggest red of organized local promotores for avoiding fruit waste. 

Iris making tamarind sauce
Iris making tamarind sauce
collecting mango
collecting mango
nopal cutting
nopal cutting
Ana with jam
Ana with jam
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Montserrat a young handicraft entrepreneur
Montserrat a young handicraft entrepreneur

“My name is Montserrat, I am 16 years old and I want to be a traditional Istmeño embroidery guardian. I decided to practice this handicraft because I want the others to know my culture and traditions, that when they meet me, they value me as a designer but also to embrace my embroidery, my traditional clothes, my entire zapotec culture. In the future I want to share this knowledge to people from inside my community and outside it. I like to participate in the embroidery workshop because it is a relaxing therapy, it is cero stress. Everyday I am learning new tricks and creating creative concepts. I want to have my own traditional clothing brand, with customized embroidery designs, in which people identify their own feelings in the pieces they select.”

In Una mano para Oaxaca  we are working with our educational post disaster model intervention, with which we share ancestral knowledge as traditional handicrafts to the women of our communities so they can start new business. We like to self-appoint as traditional crafts guardians.  Since we started this project, in 2017 we are focused on promoting social networks between women to launch new productive activities that embrace our zapotec culture, we are improving on how to provide emotional health and developing more ways for learning handicrafts. We notice that there was a fortuite interest of the younger generations for learning about traditions too so we decided to evolve our pedagogic model to a creative and dynamic one. 

“My name is Sinai, I am 31 years old and I love to use traditional clothes. I decided to start a local business with my sister in which we want to use traditional embroidery in t-shirts we believe is a good way to innovate and that new generations will like them.”

 For the next three months new groups will be learning embroidery, carpentry and handmade woven bags.  Monste and Sinai represent hope and change, they show the resilience of zapotec people in adapting to crisis, no matter the nature of it, our traditions are safeguardings of our emotional health and a possibility of economical reactivation. 

Once again thank you so much for your solidarity and valuable support.

Regards, 

UMPO team 

First carpentry practice
First carpentry practice
Esmeralda, handmade purses teacher
Esmeralda, handmade purses teacher
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Chela, local potter artisan and teacher
Chela, local potter artisan and teacher

Hi there! We are very glad to tell you that this new year we are full of ideas for changing our world. Thank you again for being part of 2020, it was a very unpredictable year, but we feel that our people are more united than ever.  

As we told you in other reports, we are trying a mixed digital and semipresencial educational model for our communities. We are trying to involve our participants in learning cycles for collective healing, especially because now the living environment has been more violent and difficult for all of us. 

Simultaneously we continue with the ancestral knowledge workshops such as pottery, textiles, food conserves, and family backyard gardens for self-consumption. 

Today I want to share our pottery workshop experience which was full of revelations of the pandemic effects. The workshop was a real challenge, first of all, many of the participants didn’t have any kind of access to digital sources nor knowledge for using them. Secondly, the class was driven by Laura, a ceramist from Torreón (Mexico’s north) and Chela, a pottery artisan from our community in Oaxaca; this difference of contexts slowed the group integration. But finally the participants were from 4 different zapotec communities, which enhanced and diversified the cultural perspectives of each one. The objective of the workshop was to open creative possibilities for creating new products based on the traditional pottery knowledge but adapted to their actual needs. The results were awesome! They made clay jewelry, sculptures and cooking utensils and most of them are now producing and selling. 

Origalia an indigenous Zapotec, 66 year old, woman, shared with us the next message of encouragement: “I have been a sculptor since ever, but I decided to participate in the pottery workshop because it was a complete challenge. The digital part was so difficult, my husband told me I was lucky to take that computational workshop 20 years ago (laughs), and even with that I needed UMPO’s team help even for turning on the class . I mean I want to learn more about everything and you want to protect my health, then I must learn how to use this things (tablets and zoom). The most powerful result for me is that I am truly motivated to do new activities. Some months ago I participated in the gardens for self-consumption workshops, and now I am eating tomatoes from my garden and I am preparing a sculpture exposition. I feel alive.” 

This 2021 we will continue revalorizing the traditional arts and crafts,giving entrepreneurs, such as Origalia and the pottery workshop group, opportunities to boost their growth. Together we are generating community, which we believe is the key for maintaining our communities. Thank you for being part. ¡Feliz año nuevo!

Origalia
Origalia
Clay pot
Clay pot
Workshop participants
Workshop participants
orange juice clay extractor
orange juice clay extractor
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Organization Information

MANOS QUE RECONSTRUYEN OAXACA A.C.

Location: Asunción Ixtaltepec, Oaxaca - Mexico
Website:
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Project Leader:
Alejandra Rosado
ASUNCION IXTALTEPEC, Oaxaca Mexico
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