Opportunities Blooming in Oaxaca
Written by Plant With Purpose on August 23, 2011 in General
Plant With Purpose has worked in Oaxaca since 1998 to empower indigenous Mixtec communities to achieve greater spiritual, economic,and environmental health. On a recent visit to Oaxaca, Plant With Purpose Director of Development, Doug Satre, had the opportunity to visit the community of Loma Chimedia to learn about their latest efforts. The following is a brief interview that Doug had with Alier, one the community’s key Mixtec leaders:
Plant With Purpose: So how are things in Loma Chimedia?
Alier: The community is making great strides to fulfill our vision. We really want to be a place where people have a strong sense of pride in their culture. Many of them have absorbed a mentality that says they have no value, and that their language and culture have no value. There is a lot of prejudice against indigenous people. We are working to change that.
Plant With Purpose: That sounds like a real challenge. Where do you start?
Alier: It really begins with teaching each other that we all are made in God’s image, and that Mixtec culture and language are precious to God and something that they can be proud of. The change has to begin in people’s hearts and minds. We study the Bible together, and offer Mixtec language lessons in the new community center. We also teach classes in Mixtec culture and traditions.
Plant With Purpose: How about economic development? How is that important?
Alier: It is crucial, because God has made us to work and be productive, to be creative, and develop our talents. As people gain confidence, they are willing to try new things and take risks. The new flower program is a good example. We have been growing tomatoes successfully, but we were growing too many and the price was going down. Just this year we started growing lilies in our community greenhouse, which people in the town and in the city buy for weddings, parties, and holidays. We started it as a small project- a test- and it has been a great success! We plant a new section of the greenhouse each week so that there is a continual harvest of flowers. We’ll still grow tomatoes, but now we have a more diverse income to support our families.
Plant With Purpose: How have people felt about the project?
Alier: We are thrilled! It has been a really joyful experience, and given us an even greater sense of hopefulness for the future.