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Earthquake Aid to Weavers in Oaxaca

$2,313 of $60,000 goal

Raised by 27 people in 2 months

El escrito en español esta abajo.

On February 16th, 2018 at 5:30 pm a very strong earthquake hit San Juan Colorado, Oaxaca. In the following weeks there were more than 3,000 after shocks. Many houses were severely damaged. Some make-shift homes like Otilia's fell altogether.

The U.S. Geological Survey put the quake's magnitude at 7.2 and its epicenter was 33 miles northeast of Santiago Pinotepa Nacional near the Pacific coast and the border with Guerrero state. It had a depth of 15 miles.

As the coordinator of Katyi Ya’a, a native cotton spinning and weaving collective, I made the 10-hour drive from Oaxaca city to San Juan Colorado in order to investigate the damage to the artisans’ homes.

Katyi Ya’a means brown cotton in Mixteco, the local language. 25 women spin native brown and white cotton and weave textiles using natural dyes to gain additional colors. The project aims to maintain the local production of native cotton,  preserve the traditions of making thread with a drop spindle and cloth with a blackstrap loom, provide an economic channel for the artisans and create the opportunity for the  empowerment that comes from their collective work. In San Juan Colorado this is the only means of generating income for most women. The entire area is highly marginalized, indigenous and struggling to survive both economically and culturally. You can visit the Katyi Ya'a Facebook site for more photos of their work.

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When I arrived, I discovered not only more damage than I anticipated, but also became uncomfortably aware that four of the 25 Katyi Ya’a spinner/weavers didn't really have a house even before the earthquake; Otilia being one of them. The roof of cardboard still stands, but the walls that were made of piled-up bricks fell down. Now she has no walls at all. In total, 13 of the 25 Katyi Ya’a artisans have inadequate or seriously damaged housing.

A government-sponsored, post earthquake damage census was recently taken in San Juan, but no action has ensued. Probably nothing will be done for at least 3 months since all government programs are shut down until after the national elections in July. On one hand this is good, it buys us time to try to repair and build houses that will be traditional and environmentally sustainable; houses that will be built from local materials by local people. We want to avoid the practice I saw after the last major earthquake three years ago, of knocking down the adobe houses that are cracked and replacing them with tiny houses built of Styrofoam.  On the other hand there is urgency to make the repairs and construction as soon as possible since the rains will begin very soon.

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As an alternative, we plan to send several community members to be trained in ecological construction and repair (On-site learning doing volunteer construction in Juchitan, the site of massive earthquake destruction in September 2017) so that we can save the adobe houses, repair the cement ones that are repairable and build new adobe or waddle and daub houses that are earthquake resistant. The plan is to build-in resilience to earthquake damage of the future, be cost effective, and create important local jobs. 

Earthquakes are ongoing in coastal Oaxaca, thus we need to address the longterm situation, not focus on quick fixes: Located atop three of the large tectonic plates, Mexico is one of the world's most seismically active regions. The relative motion of these crustal plates causes frequent earthquakes. Most of the Mexican landmass is on the westward moving North American plate. This movement of the  Mexico landmass is slowed and crumpled creating the mountain ranges of southern Mexico and earthquakes near Mexico's southern coast.

We are raising funds to pay for:

1. Profesional assessment of damage and repair and construction work. 
2. Volunteer-based training in ecological home construction
/repair for 3-5 community members.
3. Materials to build and repair homes for 13 families.
4. Wages to pay the people trained to repair and build the houses. 

We don't yet know how much this will cost. We will update the site when we know. The $60,000 goal is probably on the low side given the little bit that we know already.

If you have experience in ecological construction and speak Spanish (or mixteco) and would like to come and volunteer with construccion  for a period of time you would be most welcome. 

We need to to raise most of the funds in a fairly short period of time. It would be most helpful if you could make your donation before the end of May 2018. Thank you.


ESPANOL

 El 16 de febrero de 2018 a las 5:30 pm, un fuerte terremoto golpeó San Juan Colorado, Oaxaca. En las siguientes semanas hubo más de 3.000 replicas. Muchas casas fueron severamente dañadas. Algunas casas improvisadas como la de Otilia, cayeron por completo.

El Servicio Geológico de Estados Unidos ubicó la magnitud del terremoto en 7.2 y su epicentro fue 33 millas al noreste de Pinotepa Nacional cerca de la costa del Pacífico y la frontera con el estado de Guerrero. Tenía una profundidad de 15 millas.

Como coordinador de Katyi Ya'a, un colectivo nativo de hilado y tejido de algodón, realicé el viaje de 10 horas desde la ciudad de Oaxaca a San Juan Colorado para investigar el daño a las casas de las artesanas.

Katyi Ya'a significa algodón cafe (coyuchi) en Mixteco, el idioma local. 25 mujeres hilan algodón cafe y blanco nativo y tejen textiles con tintes naturales para obtener colores adicionales. El objetivo del proyecto es mantener la producción local de algodón nativo, preservar la tradición de confeccionar hilo con malacate y tela con un telar de cintura, proporcionar un canal económico para las artesanas y crear la oportunidad para el empoderamiento que proviene de su trabajo colectivo. En San Juan Colorado, este es el único medio de generar ingresos para la mayoría de las mujeres. Toda el área está muy marginada, es indígena y lucha por sobrevivir tanto económica como culturalmente. Puede visitar el sitio de Facebook de Katyi Ya'a para obtener más fotos de su trabajo.

Cuando llegué, descubrí no solo más daño del que esperaba, sino que también me di cuenta incómodamente de que cuatro de los 25 hilanderos / tejedores de Katyi Ya'a realmente no tenían una casa incluso antes del terremoto; Otilia es una de ellas. El techo de cartón sigue en pie, pero las paredes que estaban hechas de ladrillos apilados se cayeron. Ahora ella no tiene paredes en absoluto. En total, 13 de los 25 artesanos de Katyi Ya'a tienen viviendas inadecuadas o seriamente dañadas.

Recientemente se realizó en San Juan un censo de daños post terremoto patrocinado por el gobierno, pero no se ha tomado ninguna medida. Probablemente no se hará nada durante al menos 3 meses ya que todos los programas del gobierno se cierran hasta después de las elecciones nacionales de julio. Por un lado, esto es bueno, nos da tiempo para tratar de reparar y construir casas que sean tradicionales y ambientalmente sostenibles; casas que serán construidas con materiales locales por personas locales. Queremos evitar la práctica que vi después del último gran terremoto de hace tres años, derribar las casas de adobe que están rotas y reemplazarlas con pequeñas casas construidas con unicel. Por otro lado, es urgente hacer las reparaciones y la construcción lo antes posible ya que las lluvias comenzarán muy pronto.

Como alternativa, planeamos enviar a varios miembros de la comunidad a capacitarse en la construcción y reparación ecológicas (aprendizaje in situ haciendo la construcción voluntaria en Juchitán, el sitio de la destrucción masiva de terremotos en septiembre de 2017) para que podamos salvar las casas de adobe, reparar los de cemento que se pueden reparar y construir nuevas casas de adobe o de bahareque que sean resistentes a los terremotos. El plan es aumentar la resistencia al daño sísmico del futuro, ser rentable y crear empleos locales importantes.

Los terremotos continúan en la costa de Oaxaca, por lo que debemos abordar la situación a largo plazo, no centrarnos en soluciones rápidas: Situada sobre tres de las grandes placas tectónicas, México es una de las regiones con mayor actividad sísmica del mundo. El movimiento relativo de estas placas de la corteza causa terremotos frecuentes. La mayor parte de la masa de tierra mexicana se encuentra en la placa de América del Norte en movimiento hacia el oeste. Este movimiento de la masa continental de México se ralentiza y se arruina creando las cadenas montañosas del sur de México y los terremotos cerca de la costa sur de México.

Estamos recaudando fondos para pagar:

1. Evaluación profesional de daños y reparación y trabajos de construcción.
2. Capacitación basada en el voluntariado en la construcción de viviendas ecológicas
/ reparación para 3-5 miembros de la comunidad.
3. Materiales para construir y reparar viviendas para 13 familias.
4. Salarios para pagar a las personas capacitadas para reparar y construir las casas.

Todavía no sabemos cuánto costará. Actualizaremos el sitio cuando lo sepamos. El objetivo de $ 60,000 es probablemente el más bajo dado el poco que ya conocemos.

Si tiene experiencia en la construcción ecológica y habla español (o mixteco) y le gustaría venir y ser voluntario con la construcción por un período de tiempo, sería bienvenido.

Necesitamos recaudar la mayoría de los fondos en un período de tiempo bastante corto. Sería muy útil si pudiera hacer su donación antes de fines de mayo de 2018. Gracias.

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We are making progress, slow but sure. Carlos Gomez is the local architect who is in the process of assembling a diagnostic and a plan for the repairs and construction that we need to do. The plans have recently gone on to an engineer in Mexico City who will give the final review and estimate on cost to complete the projects.

In the meantime, the artisans of Katyi Y'aa continue to spin and weave as usual.
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In the name of good governance and transparency, this update discloses how the funds that we raise will be handled.
Cross-boarder fundraising is a bit more complicated than you might imagine. That said, I am pleased to tell you that we have international support for this campaign. The donations will move from the Gofundme depository to a personal but sedentary bank account of mine in the USA. From there I will transfer the accumulated money to the Angelica Foundation, which is a 501(c)3 in the USA. The money will then pass through the Tides Foundation, who is authorized to transfer international donations, to the One Foundation Oaxaca. Once the funds are in Mexico they will be dispersed to the local non-profit which I helped to start in San Juan Colorado, Consejo de Desarrollo Sustentable San Juan Colorado AC. Most of the the funds will pay for construction material and labor.

If you would like to make a donation over $500 you can make it directly to the Angelica Foundation and receive a tax deductible receipt. If you are in Mexico you can also do this through the One Foundation Oaxaca, AC.

Thank you for your interest and your help.
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Hello dear friends. Happy mother's day. I am thankful to be the mother of Tahoma, a wonderful human being who I love very much and is doing well and having fun in NYC.

Otilia is also a mother. Her youngest daughter lives at home, however, they have no home at this time. I wish things would move faster towards building her a new home and fixing the other artisans adobe houses. But things don't move quickly here in southern, rural Mexico. Those of you who have been here know all about that.

Within the next two weeks we will be sending a few people to Juchitan to be trained in earthen home construction (ojala). The money we have raised so far will cover that, but we will need more money when they get back in early June to start the repairs. We need to see the funds coming in now in order secure the successful completion of the project.

Please donate now. I know you may have just paid taxes or you may be on a tight budget, but think about the income gap between you and Otilia. She has no way to pay for house construction. She and her sister weavers and spinners really, really need your support.

The dollar to peso exchange rate is particularly good right now (1:19.5), that means that $100 is $1,950 pesos. That is more than Otilia earns in a MONTH of spinning and weaving.

Thank you to all of my friends who have donated. And a plea to all of my friends who have not donated. Now is the time.

The rains have started! Good for plants, bad for the homeless.

Rosabla, 4 kids, house sure to collapse.
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You can see the work of our guiding architect:
www.ecoconstructoresoaxaca.com

Marcos Sanchez will teach community members how to build a waddle and daub house and how to repair their adobe homes. Selected people will travel to Juchitan to learn the building techniques via volunteer work. In parallel, Marcos will also come to San Juan Colorado to give a presentation on the benefits of earthen homes and a five-day training on how to fix them!

We are not only going to fix specific homes, but also work towards a more stable future!
+ Read More
Read a Previous Update

$2,313 of $60,000 goal

Raised by 27 people in 2 months
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YY
$20
Yael Yanich
14 days ago
AA
$25
Angela Alston
15 days ago
LS
$50
Lydia Shepard
20 days ago
$100
Mary Frank
25 days ago
$200
Anonymous
1 month ago
SS
$200
Susan Sunshine
1 month ago (Offline Donation)
MR
$150
Marilyn Romatka
1 month ago
LA
$50
Laurence Auclert
1 month ago (Offline Donation)
JC
$100
James Castner
1 month ago (Offline Donation)
ML
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