Coffee, Justice, and Cultivating Change

So many of you supported our first trip to Chiapas in January and I wanted to extend my heartfelt gratitude for your generosity! That trip allowed us to get to know our new partners and find the best ways for us to collaborate, grow together, and participate in the journey of the Tseltal Maya community. Their ingenuity, resilience, and determination to preserve their way of life and values is incredible. 

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Following our first trip, I was so deeply moved and connected to the work of this community that I returned for a longer stay in order to further understand the complexities of this organization and their work. My two months here has been an incredible learning experience, but has also opened some unexpected paths and ways we can partner with this community in its efforts.

As we partner with this community, it's important to fully understand each organization's needs and gifts. In addition to supporting the community by telling their story and connecting people to the sustainable organic coffee, honey and soap from their Cooperatives - we are going to be assisting with a communication project. 



THE CURRENT PROJECT:
The goal of this project is to cultivate deep and enduring relationships with the supporters of the community through consistent communication, shared goals, and connecting them to the narrative of the Tseltal Maya people.
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One of the biggest challenges of preserving the indigenous values and way of life while still navigating international business, relationships, and local government is communication. During my time here, I witnessed the incredible application of indigenous democracy and they way this community collectively considers the problems, solutions, and their  implementation. It’s not an easy processes to bring together many people who have different political views, ideas, and priorities and decide on a common solution. Their perseverance to this process of community decision-making is incredible. It’s also time consuming and challenging as the leaders of the community operate as mediators and guides, as well as community members.

When I spoke with the community director, we discussed the need to be able to communicate on behalf of the people to their international community of supporters - to create a path of communication between the Tseltal community, the leadership team, and its partners all over the world - to bring everyone into the narrative of the community. We have taken on the task of walking with the community in this endeavor. Assisting with the strengthening of international relationships will create the foundation for the growth and sustainability of our collaborative projects.

PROJECT DETAILS:
This is a three-phase project expected to be fully self-sustaining within 2-3 years.

The first phase will involve getting 1HC completely up to speed with the community projects, goals, needs, and story in order to adequately design a communication plan, begin connecting to the current international community, and develop new contacts. As the project moves forward and the international community grows,  it will become progressively more self-sustaining. 

(For more detailed information, please send an email to bechange@onehomecollective.org, or visit the website. We will be happy to provide a complete project plan and reports upon request from donors.)




A QUICK OVERVIEW OF THE COMMUNITY:

The primary crop for this community is high quality sustainable organic coffee. They also specialize in sustainable organic honey, organic handmade soaps, and hand-embroidered textiles. However, it's important to understand that everything in the Tseltal Maya culture is intertwined. We need to know the general structure and relationships of the community in order to understand the significance of the Solidarity Economy they've created around their products, and hoe it's one of the keys to providing them the stability needed to end forced migration, end violence, preserve their land and way of life, and create 'good life' for the entire community.

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Mission Bachajón is the Jesuit mission that started 60 years ago. It was initially focused on the Native Church and supporting the spirituality and cultural growth of the indigenous Tseltal Maya people. Over the last 60 years it has grown to walk with the people in every aspect of life:

-The Native Church (spirituality)
-Defense of Human Rights, Indigenous Territories, and the formation of an indigenous Communal Government (Social organization)
-Communication (internal and external) including a pretty impressive radio station
-The Cooperative for Coffee, Honey, Soap, and textiles (Integral processes of solidarity economy)
-Education
-Health and Well-being
-Management of Accounts/Projects (Administrative)

The economy is one piece of the puzzle to creating the Tseltal ideal of 'Good Life' for all in the community. It also creates a financial foundation for the other work to continue, including the defense of territory and human rights (which preserves their way of being).

The way they do coffee and economy here is reflective of the indigenous values. The control of consistent and fair prices allow for each individual to create ‘good life’ and prevents exploitation of the micro-farmers, organic farming and agro-ecological research helps protect and preserve the land (which is sacred), and the communal benefits of the cooperative include access to additional education, health programs, and more resources to improve the overall quality of life in the community. 

Everything here is intertwined, which makes it complicated, beautiful, and unique. And it’s working - step by step. 
To learn more about our previous trip, the work we are doing, and how to be part of our 1HC community, check out the website! www.onehomecollective.org

Thank you again for all of your support and for being part of the OneHome Family!

Abrazo, 
Leigh

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OneHome Collective 
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Atlanta, GA
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