Phase II, Oaxaca Mask Project, Starts Today

COVID-19 cases are rising in Oaxaca and the villages. This week’s news reports closures at Abastos Market (Central de Abastos), the huge central food distribution center in Oaxaca city due to high rates of disease. People are testing positive in villages in the Tlacolula Valley. Concern is rising. Demand for face masks is stronger. We must continue to respond. Thousands are at risk. No time to sit back and take a break!

Donate Today: Please Share

If you gave earlier, please consider making another gift. If you haven’t yet given, now is the time. The need is still with us.

New Oaxaca Partnerships

We have formed distribution partnerships with:

  • Food for All A Oaxaca-based collective of farmers, chefs, drivers and citizens in Oaxaca, Mexico, providing market boxes from farm to table, founded by Rachael Mamane, James Beard-nominated chef.
  • Puente Works with food producers and micro-enterprises in vulnerable Oaxaca communities to maintain production and economic solidarity
  • Cafebre A Oaxaca city coffee bar that roasts and distributes artisanal beans from independent growers in the highlands
  • Mama Pacha Chocolate A small Oaxaca workshop that makes rich and nutritious chocolate without agrochemicals, promoting a fair economy for cacao bean growers

Each of these organizations will take our masks and distribute them to those in need. The partnership allows us to go deeper and wider with more urgency!

Urgency: We are out of masks in Teotitlan del Valle. People are coming to Cristy’s house to ask for masks. Please help!

Use a face mask in all public places

With help from Food for All‘s Rachael Mamane, our point person, we will be able to get more masks quickly into the hands of farmers, consumers, fruit and vegetable vendors, taxi fleets, and others.

You are key to this project’s continuing success. Right now, we have commitments to make 300 more masks this week and need to pay for them! We want to provide a steady source of face coverings for the near future.

Few have an income source in Oaxaca now and people cannot afford to buy masks. They can barely afford to buy food!

We also continue to work with Cristy Molina in Teotitlan del Valle, where she organizes seamstresses to make masks for us. These are the masks that we will give to Rachael for distribution. Cristy my essential partner who volunteers to protect her village and her neighbors.

Cristy gave our last 100 masks to Macuilxochitl villagers, where cases just diagnosed

Sewing Masks Provides Income

Our strategy has changed. We now want to focus on sending funds to Oaxaca seamstresses for mask-making. This provides an important source of income when all other work has evaporated. We are grateful for all the masks made by friends in the USA up to now. We found that the cost to ship to Oaxaca is better spent providing income to seamstresses there.

Sections of Central de Abastos Market closed for the next two weeks

To keep up-to-date with Oaxaca Covid-19 statistics, please use the Municipio de Oaxaca Facebook page. I am told, however, that actual data is lagging and cases may be as much as 20% higher than what is reported. Hospital beds are filled to capacity. This is what it takes to get people’s attention, unfortunately.

Cristy Molina designs public health messages to create awareness

Another key person whose help we value is Alvin Starkman, Mezcal Educational Tours, who says that masks are direly needed at Abastos — and he feels safe with his N95 and protective shield going there to distribute face coverings!

Alvin Starkman with N95 mask, protective shield and 6 ft. pole

13 responses to “Phase II, Oaxaca Mask Project, Starts Today

  1. Me encantan sus mascarillas. Los quisiera encontrar en Facebook para comprar de ayi. Por favor mandeme El nombre de su pagina de FB. Gracias!:)

  2. Dear Norma, we are with you. 100%. Our Oaxacan community here in the U.S. has gotten help and is gradually resuming life. Many people have risen to the challenge here. And every family has had food, shelter, school on line, and many teaching materials for the kids. We have gotten donations for chrome books which my husband is programming. We expect a summer full of e learning through tutors and our local library system. While much of New Jersey is still closed, we are grateful for the help and

    We are quite concerned about the Pueblo families. I hope the roads can stay closed, the communities in lockdown, and people can weather this storm without terrible suffering. Thank you for keeping us posted.

    In solidarity,
    Susan and Larry

    • Love you, Susan. Thank you.

      News isn’t good. I just got word of 2 funerals in Teotitlan today and others are sick. Funerals are large gatherings. Perfect breeding places for the virus. worrisome. We will need many more masks plus social behavioral change which will be difficult to achieve.

      I’m thrilled your own project is such a success. A welcome relief among all this misery.

      Isolation is not the cultural norm for Mexico.

      Biggest hugs.

  3. I’m sorry, but not surprised, that the virus is spreading. Even in Toronto, some people don’t get it. Good on you, Norma, for your efforts. I hope it’s possible for me to return to Oaxaca next January. I’m counting on it, but who knows?

    • Kate, thank you for another generous contribution to the cause! Couldn’t do this without you and people like you.

      I’m thinking about an October or November return but I don’t know either. So much remains to know, so much is unknown.

      Let’s hope it is promising for us and others.

      Deepest gratitude.

  4. Norma,
    Thank you for your work and coordination. My heart goes out to the people of Mexico and especially dear to me the people of Oaxaca. I hope these masks can make a difference.

    • Dear Jenny and Marc, thank you for your continuing love of Oaxaca and her people, through your support. I am grateful that you always find a way to step up and give when the need calls. You are treasured friends. Thank you. Norma

  5. Well Norma, you are a Gringa Oaxaca’s can be very proud of. You’re working hard to create as much safety & employment as you can during this pandemic which has sadly reached the villages we love & cherish. Bravo for your continued efforts on this front!

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