Don’t Forget About your Hometown

Written by Plant With Purpose on July 27, 2010 in General

by Corbyn

Tequios (tech-key-os), ‘is a form of communal work which is unpaid and done by community members for the public benefit.’ Tequios, I learned today, is a rural indigenous custom that is still practiced in the Mexican state of Oaxaca where Plant With Purpose has worked for over 11 years. It is because this piece of cultural history is still in existence that Plant With Purpose has adapted its programs in Oaxaca to conform with the local tradition.

Every Tuesday at our office here in San Diego we have staff training. Today our training was led by Milmer Martinez Vergara, our Mexico and Haiti program officer. I was captivated as I sat and listened to the strategic thought process that our 16 Oaxacan staff go through to develop longterm relationships with the rural indigenous Mixteco people in 52 communities throughout Oaxaca.

It is always interesting to think about how I can take the stories and testimonies we receive from the field and translate them (figuratively) into dialogue that will be relevant and engaging here in the US. One thing that has become increasingly popular in conversation here in the United States is sustainability. Are we driving cars that emit less emissions, using energy more efficiently, looking for cleaner ways to power our cities, reusing everyday items like plastic bags and water bottles etc.? Well, sustainability is something that has been around since the beginning of time, and when we look at the situation in Oaxaca where families are being forced to migrate because they can no longer provide for their basic needs, we have to enter into a relationship that allows each party (Plant With Purpose and the farmers) to learn from each other and adapt.

Oaxaca has one of the highest migration rates of any Mexican state. Families are leaving the land they have grown up on for generations to try to find some other sort of opportunity. Take a look at this picture of a sign on the way out of one of the communities where we have started to work. It is a sobering reality of the situation in Oaxaca. Translated, the sign says, ‘Thank you for your visit- if you emigrate, don’t forget about your town.’ Plant With Purpose is committed to being a part of the long term development in Oaxaca, and it is so encouraging
to see families benefitting and growing stronger in their communities as they partner with our organization. Whether it be greenhouses, family gardens, chicken and rabbit coops, ecological latrines, cisterns, business training, savings groups, tree nurseries, goat and sheep pins, or any other of the many programs that help families to have the ability to live sustainably and provide for the needs of their loved ones, there is a lot of good work that is being done in Oaxaca.

The programs have been developed specifically with the long term in mind, and they have used the cultural history of community (Tequios) that already exists in Oaxaca as the foundation to build upon. We have to thank those of you who are supporting the work in Oaxaca; without your commitment, the exciting advancements would not be possible.

We would love to have you join the transformation that is taking place. Through our Sponsor a Village program, for as little as $30 a month you can commit to supporting the work of an individual village in Oaxaca. You will receive updates and testimonies from families like Godofredo’s (pictured here with his Wife Luisa and their three children) about the progress being made and the barriers being


When you sign up to sponsor a village your recurring donation will be matched for an entire year, doubling your donation! Please take a look at the villages that are available for your partnership here.

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