Tag Archives: cubrebocas

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

The Oaxaca Mask Project Report #6: The Final Push

This is our final push for now to make and distribute masks in Oaxaca and surrounding villages. We need your help. Will you make a donation today to give us the means to get 300-500 more masks made this week? To do this, we want to raise $1,250 more. To date, we have made and distributed 2,355 masks. Please use this link to give:


We want to wrap up receiving donations for this project (for the time being) by May 15. That means we want to contract and pay for more mask making by this Friday and have all the distribution complete by May 30.

My doggie and casita caretakers, family of Arnulfo Lazaro Bautista, Teotitlan del Valle

Then, we are going to take a break and assess our successes and where we could have made a greater impact. Perhaps there will be another wave coming and we will be better prepared to move faster and cover more faces.

Disease will plummet if 90% wear masks! study shows.

And, the New York Times reports that Mexico is underreporting number of cases and deaths. A sad situation that is also true in the United States of America! Of course, some are disbelievers, too.

La Merced Market Story

Reports from Kalisa Wells in Oaxaca City are promising. The streets are empty. And, she says:

“This morning at La Merced Market: To enter, one must wash hands with soap and water, under supervision. Then a temperature check, followed by a gel squirt. The inside was bustling with fully-masked customers and vendors. No way to stay distanced, but big bottles of gel everywhere… at each station. I felt very comfortable! This market got it right!!!!

“Not ONE mask-less person. But it gets better ….. here is where The Oaxaca Mask Project comes in.

“While waiting to wash my hands, a very young (15- 17 years old) couple was trying to get in to pass the hat and play the accordion. They were very rancho, indigenous, poor, with a baby in tow. An official came out to talk to them. She said they may wash and enter and pass the hat, but they must wear a mask.

“Voila ! I gave them one flowered and one plain, and they were admitted. I do not carry a camera, it so wished I could send you a pic of them in masks made [here in Oaxaca] by Rocio Bastida Cruz and Telarcito Lindo [made possible through donations to The Oaxaca Mask Project].

“I carried a couple of masks with me this morning in a plastic bag… for this! But who knew! Thank you Norma. I imagine they made enough today to eat and maybe buy a few groceries to take back on the long bus ride home.”

Note about the above photo: Left to right is Rodolfo, then Arnulfo Menor (Jr.), mom Natividad Ruiz Vasquez, and two-year-old Esmeralda. Arnulfo Lazaro Bautista is taking the photo. They are my Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, friends who are wearing masks made possible through this project. Arnulfo comes to my casita twice daily to feed my dogs in my absence. I’m eternally grateful to them.

Wear Your Mask. Love, Norma

Sam Robbins, mask-maker, who contributed 150 masks to this project

The Oaxaca Mask Project Report #3: Thanks to the Makers–Our Heros

As it is said, It takes a village, and we have one!

Women are sewing masks in Oaxaca city, Teotitlan del Valle, Tlacolula de Matamoros and throughout the USA. Mask-makers in the US are friends who have responded. They are mailing me masks. I will then send the masks via DHL to Oaxaca using funds raised here. Thank YOU!

Masks from Shuko Clouse

I want to give a shout out to teacher Cristy Molina Martinez who lives in Teotitlan del Valle. She is organizing work with two seamstresses there to make 400 masks for fast distribution. One of the seamstresses is my friend Rosario Lazo, who has a sewing machine that I gave her several months ago. This project will give work to Rosario and who needs to feed her family. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Mask pattern — one version of many

I especially want to thank Kalisa Wells who paired me with Cristy.

Masks made in Tlacolula

Cristy went to Oaxaca city yesterday to buy 100% tight weave cotton cloth. She bought the remaining yardage at Entretela, an excellent fabric shop on Arteaga. All the other fabric stores are closed, she says. Others say the same. Cristy then went deep into Abastos Market to buy the filter cloth.

We talked about how to best get the masks distributed and used. We think it’s most effective to go through the village municipal leaders and Cristy will talk with the community president and head of public health to help. This is because there is a lot of disbelief, especially in the older population.

Contact me to donate masks.

Help The Oaxaca Mask Project. Donate here: paypal.me/oaxacaculture

Karen Nein, Eldorado, New Mexico, is making 100 masks to send directly to San Martin Tilcajete. We are paying for the DHL shipment to Jacobo and Maria Angeles Ojeda who will distribute them there.

Hollie Taylor masks with nose fastener

Hollie Taylor, from Chapel Hill, NC, is making 50 masks for adults and 50 masks for children, that I will ship to Oaxaca. I’m set to receive them on April 24.

Shuko Clouse, Los Angeles, California, has made and collected 95 masks. I will receive them on Friday, April 24, too. and combine this gift with the one from Hollie.

DHL can get a box to Oaxaca in three to five days!

Public health education message in Zapotec, translated by Janet Chavez Santiago

As fabric and supplies dry up in Oaxaca, these USA mask gifts become even more important to keep the supply chain open. I have a pattern if anyone needs it — in English and in Spanish!

Thanks to Mask-Makers, Organizers, Distributors

  • Rocio Bastida Cruz, in San Felipe del Agua, is sewing 200 masks.
  • Alvin Starkman is taking 100 masks to Tlapazola and Guila tomorrow.
  • Eric Ramirez Ramos is having 100 masks made in Tlacolula for local use.
  • We received 100 masks yesterday from Cherie Verber in Patzcuaro. She tells us it is the last because of safety concerns to mail.
  • We are trying to identify makers in San Jeronimo Tlacochahuaya

News today is that Mexico is entering Phase 3, the height of the pandemic. Still many people are incredulous. There is definitely more to be done for public health education! And, of course, it is no different in the USA where state governors are talking about opening up! Suspend judgment.

Teotitlan Municipio Government Message prohibiting outsiders from entering

The Oaxaca Mask Project: Progress Report #2–Thanks to Donors

Good News! We have 600 masks ordered. 200 will be delivered by the end of this week and ready to be distributed. 400 masks are being sewn now and we hope to get them into people’s hands by the end of next week. Ojala!

We have four mask-makers in Teotitlan del Valle, one in Oaxaca city, and one in Tlacolula. We are concerned about quality control and requiring that seamstresses use 100% densely woven cotton. We had to correct one seamstress who wanted to use curtain fabric with a open weave! Intervention is essential to protect people.

Public health campaign called for. We attach use and care instructions on each mask.

Teotitlan del Valle Market, April 21, 2020–What do you notice?

Send gifts to paypal.me/oaxacaculture

BIG THANKS to all donors (most recent listed first, as of April 22, 10:45 a.m. PDT) who are making The Oaxaca Mask Project possible. Together, we have raised $2,566 USD. Gifts are coming from the USA, Canada and Mexico. People who have a relationship with Oaxaca care deeply.

Winn Kalmon, Taos, New Mexico, and Oaxaca
Beverly Oda, Los Angeles, California
Phil Schlak, Evanston, Illinois
Mike Bronn, Oaxaca
Janet and Jude Waterston
Kajal Patel, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Shuko Clouse, Los Angeles, California
Lesa Porche
Gail Barraco, Great Barrington, New York
Lynn Nichols, Denver, Colorado
Lisa Michie, Newport Beach, California
Carolyn Urbanski
Kay Michaels, Oaxaca
Dennys Eymard, Kula, Hawaii
Julia Erickson, Massachusetts
Sam Robbins, Columbus, Ohio
Chris Clark, Lake Chapala, Jalisco
Sunnie Hikawa, Chicago, Illinois
Natalie Klein, South Bend, Indiana
Laura Renger, Long Beach, California
Lynda Nelson, Reno, Nevada
Nancy MacBride
Phyllis Milder
Barbara Beerstein, Santa Cruz, California
Anne Damon, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Catherine Johnson
Maureen Parker
Sandra Wilcox, Long Beach, California
Gloria Yeatman,
Diana Huber, San Diego, California
Liz Styles
Robin Greene, Fayetteville, North Carolina
Ellen Benson, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nancy Craft, Telluride, Colorado
Marla Jensen, Auburn, California
Diane Manning, Los Gatos, California
Susan Barkoff, Atlanta, Georgia
Jacob Singleton, California
Mary Earle
Susie Robison, California
Deborah Mersky, Johnson City, Texas
Wendy Sease, Durham, North Carolina
Elaine Saunders
Martha Sorensen, Oaxaca
Diana Huber
Claudia Michel, Oregon
Kate Rayner, Canada
Donors to The Oaxaca Mask Project as of April 22, 2020–THANK YOU

Please let me know if you have additions or corrections! And, if you want to tell me your city and state (location), send me an email and I will add it after your name, above.

The Oaxaca Mask Project: Progress Report #1

Rocio Bastida Cruz (right) is sewing masks for us, with help from Dave Crosley (left)

As of today, The Oaxaca Mask Project has

  • raised $1,831 USD
  • received gifts from 31 generous people
  • ordered 300 masks for delivery in the next 10 days
  • help from Eric Ramirez and Zapotrek eco-tours
  • help from Kalisa Wells
  • help from Alvin Starkman and Mezcal Educational Tours to distribute masks to San Marcos Tlapazola and
  • help from Teotitlan del Valle teacher Cristy Molina
  • received mask patterns from Hollie Taylor Novak and Judi Ross
  • translation help from Janet Chavez Santiago, Fe y Lola Rugs

Eric is identifying seamstresses in Tlacolula de Matamoros and Cristy is identifying seamstresses in Teotitlan del Valle. They will both commandeer distribution in their villages. Our goal is to decentralize production and distribution to get the masks out into the villages faster. I’ve asked Arturo Hernandez in Mitla to make and distribute masks throughout his pueblo. All mask-making and distribution costs are supported by this project.

In addition, public health education is essential so people understand why it is important to wear a mask and how to care for it. We are asking each maker to print and attach hang-tags to each mask with this message:

Protégete de la infección viral COVID19. Cada vez que salgas de tu casa usa un cubre bocas. ¡Si te cuidas tú, nos cuidas a nosotros! lavar primero y después de cada uso.

Ways to GIVE and Support the Project

You can make a gift to me directly using this PayPal link: paypal.me/oaxacaculture

You can read more about The Oaxaca Mask Project here.

What Your Gift Will Do

  • $25 will buy and distribute 10 masks with hang-tags
  • $50 will buy and distribute 20 masks with hang-tags
  • $100 will buy and distribute 40 masks with hang-tags

Time is running out. The virus will reach its peak in Oaxaca around May 5, 2020. We need to get these masks made and to people NOW. Can you help?

Contact Norma Schafer with any questions or to volunteer.