Construction with traditional bajareque system
Two and a half years after having started the Comprehensive and Social Reconstruction of Habitat Project in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca we presented the qualitative and quantitative results. Also, we delivered the reconstructed ones in Ciudad Ixtepec, Oaxaca, and we made an exhibition and a reception at the Center for Arts and Crafts (CAO for its acronym in spanish).
Following the earthquakes of 2017, we turn to the call of the Ixtepecan Committee for the Defense of Life and the Territory, in order to implement comprehensive and social reconstruction with the population of Ixtepec. Although the project was not only carried out in this city, it was there that a comprehensive project was carried out, which included in addition to the reconstruction of housing, the analysis of territorial and environmental risk, environmental care, revival of productive activities and the construction of the collective space CAO through a training-participatory program.
From these areas of comprehensive work the following results were obtained:
- Reconstruction of 78 traditional istmeñas reinforced houses
- Recovery of women's productive activities through the reconstruction of traditional ovens (256 comixcales and 27 bread ovens) and 48 kitchens
- Construction of the collective space for Arts and Crafts (CAO)
- Activities with the families of the population for the reconstruction of the social fabric through participatory and training processes
- Training of 135 construction workers in reinforced construction techniques
- Workshops for the recovery of zapalote corn, endemic race of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, as well as its organic production
- Recovery and reuse of approx. 93 thousand units of demolished housing materials
- Recovery and strengthening of traditional and sustainable construction systems
- Analysis of territorial and environmental risk
- Natural goods mapping
- Three manuals of traditional reinforced construction techniques
For us, the comprehensive and social reconstruction does not only mean recovering the damaged infrastructure, but also recovering the emotional and physical integrity of the community, it is also the opportunity to increase its technical and self-management capabilities. That is why a training-participatory program was carried out that was given to 718 families and a workshop on reinforced construction techniques to 135 construction workers.
As a result of this program, today participants can build with local materials, have recovered traditional construction techniques that adapt to the climate and local culture, and which in turn are more resistant to earthquakes and strong winds in the region.
In a reconstruction the amount of wood used puts at risk the loss of innumerable natural and forest goods, that´s why we consider in the comprehensive reconstruction, the care and recovery of the nature. In this regard, the following actions were taken into account:
- About 93,000 units of scrap materials were demolished from houses demolished between bricks, tiles, and tropical timber that were used in roof structures, doors and windows. This also avoided contaminating river banks, reducing material and transportation costs, and consequently lowering CO2 emissions.
- The system of construction of bajareque ceren was used, an improved technique from El Salvador that uses a rod system that allows to reduce the use of wood.
- The natural assets of the different municipalities used in the reconstruction were mapped in order to raise their reforestation and restoration by the inhabitants.
Reactivation of productive activities
Traditional ovens (comixcales and bread) were rebuilt, and reinforcements were implemented in their bases to resist future earthquakes. It is worth mentioning that this experience was replicated in 7 different municipalities: Santo Domingo Chihuitan, Santa Maria Xadani, Ciudad de Ixtepec, Santiago Niltepec, Santo Domingo Ingenio, San Francisco del Mar and San Mateo del Mar. We also finished 16 traditional kitchens in the community La Blanca (Santo Domingo Ingenio, Oaxaca)
On the other hand, together with the Ixtepecano Committee, the Agricultural Society and the Environmental Studies Group, a series of workshops and activities were carried out to recover the zapalote corn, as well as its organic production. In addition, together with the members of the Cattlemen's Association we built the space where they carry out their organizational activities.
In the following stage we will enter into a process of evaluation of what has been done in the 7 municipalities we have worked in Oaxaca. Likewise, we will continue to work on the construction of traditional kitchens in San Mateo del Mar. At the same time, given the great need in this area, we have proposed a broader diagnosis in order to initiate a stage of activities aimed at resilience.
We thank you for your trust and solidarity with the communities of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.
Thank you very much!
Center for Arts and Crafts (CAO)
Traditional istmena house
Traditional istmena house
Traditional istmena house
Exhibition at the CAO