Community Solidarity During Pandemic
The success of Doña Guadalupe’s small family farm has made a big difference to her community. Even before the start of the pandemic, neighbors who were not yet engaged in the program took note of how Doña Guadalupe’s family worked together at practices like improving their soil with the droppings of their chickens and goats. This family had vegetables all year round, even in times when water was scarce.
While no one would have wished the disruption of a global pandemic on these fragile indigenous communities, it has had a profound economic impact and actually strengthened relationships among otherwise isolated families. Program participants like Doña Guadalupe shared their knowledge with their neighbors, provided seeds and encouragement, and gave portions of their vegetable crops to others in need. People used medicinal plants they have known for generations to help them treat symptoms.
Sixty families have joined the program’s working groups since the start of the pandemic. They have received training from local partner INESIN on conservation agriculture, rainwater harvesting, patio gardening, healthy cooking, medicinal plants, community organizing, and leadership skills. Doña Guadalupe and others have said they want to continue learning, and are grateful for everyone who has made it possible for INESIN to work with them. More families are cultivating vegetables and fruit trees, and most have constructed chicken coops and incorporated other small livestock like goats into their farming practices. Family nutrition and the standard of living are improving day by day.
Note: In December 2020 one of the communities was attacked by paramilitary groups of unknown origin, resulting in deaths, injuries and burned homes. This appears to be part of an ongoing land dispute. The displaced people have been able to return, but still do not feel safe. Please pray for their safety and the safety of staff.
Mexico Chiapas Ocosingo Program
Led by Mennonite Central Committee and Local Partner INESIN