Tag Archives: masks

Mask-eR-Aid and More for Oaxaca

Lots to report since the last time I wrote about The Oaxaca Mask Project.

The recent 7.5 earthquake in Oaxaca eclipsed news about Covid-19 last week. Fortunately, in the city and surrounding villages, damage was light. The quake was centered near Huatulco along the Pacific Coast, where indeed, some villages suffered.

This week, the Welch-Allyn Vital Signs Monitor arrived in Teotitlan del Valle, a Usos y Costumbres village. Armando Gutierrez Mendoza, a member of the village health care committee, took it to Municipio President Andres Gutierrez Sosa, who received it — our gift to them. Señor Andres sends his thanks to all of us!

Here are photos of the committee opening and using it at the public health clinic.

Four donors made this vital signs monitor possible: Kate Rayner, Claudia Michel, Boojie Colwell and Dr. Deborah Morris.

All set up and ready to use!

A special thanks to Larry Ginzkey who organizes Hoofing It in Oaxaca hiking group. His group of hikers collected and donated $250 USD for The Oaxaca Mask Project.

Clinic nurse reading blood pressure and oxygen levels
Pulse oximeter measures oxygen levels in blood, can help detect Covid-19

If you live in Oaxaca or the pueblos and you want to receive and distribute masks to those in need, please let me know: norma.schafer@icloud.com

Jorge Toscani wear a mask

Rachael Mamane from Food for All took 70 masks to Jorge Toscani who is part of a Oaxaca taxi fleet. He told us that they disinfect the taxis regularly and has distributed our masks to all 15 drivers for themselves and passengers. She also took 150 masks to Puente. Rachael is looking for a contact in Ocotlan where she thinks there is an on-going need for masks.

Masks also went to Mama Pacha Chocolatier, Oaxaca. Thank you, Antonio!

Mama Pacha chocolate is some of the best in the world, I think. It is tempered, which makes it so smooth and creamy — fine eating chocolate rather than the Oaxaca chocolate we know for making the hot drink!

Cristy Molina Martinez sent this photo of a Macuilxochitl woman

We continue to send masks where requested. We had another request from Macuilxochitl for an additional 100 masks, so Cristy took them over there.

A family of mask-wearers in Macuil

Cristy’s cousin Catalina Martinez, who operates the folk art gallery WA’HAKA, has organized a food pantry in Teotitlan del Valle to help 50 older people. We gave her 80 masks to distribute.

We are slowing down as requests for masks subside. Lately, we are waiting to sew and distribute based on whether we hear there is more need. So far, we have made and distributed 3,119 masks.

I’ll give you more tallies of what we have accomplished in coming days.

Fabric for mask-making to Oaxaca

Berle Driscoll is moving from New York City to Florida this week. She wrote to ask if we could use more fabric for Oaxaca mask-making — she had a lot of unused cloth! It’s hard for me to turn down an offer like this. I received two boxes yesterday and will consolidate to include colorful elastic cording I will donate to the cause.

Hang tags for our masks–how to use and wash!
Kari Klippen-Sierra brings masks to the Santiago Family

Kari Klippen-Sierra has helped immensely. For the past two months she has worked with us to get masks to families and the health clinic in San Andres Huayapam, where she lives with husband Rudy Sierra. She has also made sure that two non-profits operated by the Episcopal church to help at-risk families receive masks. She repeatedly picks-up and distributes!

Celebrating Father’s Day–With Flowers and Masks!

First, a bouquet of flowers for all the dads out there — past, present and future!

Flowers from McGraw Farms, delivered this morning by soon-to-be-dad Bret McGraw

The Oaxaca Mask Project is percolating along. We have made and distributed 3,110 masks so far throughout Oaxaca, and continue to do so.

Kari gives masks to Juves family in San Andres Huayapam

This week Kari Klippen-Sierra will take 150 masks to two IMSS hospitals (public health) in Oaxaca for doctors, nurses and staff. She also gave masks to her village veterinarian who rides around town on a scooter, and to the Juves family. She sends thanks to Dave and Rocio for meeting her for mask transfer.

Mama Pacha chocolate makers use our masks, too

Alan Goodin continues to distribute masks to Santiago Ixtaltepec where he lives. We have provided almost 100 masks there.

Yesterday, I talked with Jacki Cooper Gordon using Facebook video messenger. She tells me that Envia director Viviana asked us to provide funds to seamstresses in the villages Envia works with sew more masks to distribute. They may need 200 or more.

Rachael Mamane has gotten masks into the hands of Cafebre coffee roaster, Mama Pacha chocolate makers, Oaxaca taxi drivers, and to the Puente farmers cooperative.

Oaxaca city taxi drivers receive masks made by Rocio Bastida

The Teotitlan del Valle public health clinic received the vital signs monitor on Friday, June 19, that we shipped 10 days ago. They have promised to send photos with the doctors using the equipment.

I have just sent more money to Eric Ramirez in Tlacolula to make and distribute more masks, since the need is still acute.

Rachael Mamane picks up masks from Rocio Bastida and Dave Crosley

If some of our distribution channels sound repetitive, well, they are! We continue to give masks to the people who continue to tell us they need more! And, we are happy to do this as long as funds are in the bank! We are getting low, so if you are so inclined, please help.

To contribute to The Oaxaca Mask Project, click here:

A pile of 100 masks made by Rocio Bastida.

Still, the virus has not yet peaked in Oaxaca. It’s the same story throughout Mexico: I hear this from friends in Ajijic and Chapala, in San Miguel de Allende, in Mazatlan and Puerto Escondido.

Our Teotitlan mask wrangler Cristy, has made them available at this gallery

And, here in the USA, we know that mask-wearing has become polarized and politicized while the virus also continues to run rampant.

Please wear your mask outside your home, and ask your family and friends to, also.

Thanks for all your help.

Oaxaca’s EnVia Foundation Gives Out Masks

We know it takes a village to make a difference. And Oaxaqueños and gueros know how to do this. Last month I asked Jacki Cooper Gordon, who volunteers with EnVia Foundation (and is also president of The Oaxaca Lending Library), if she would receive a box of 100 face masks to distribute to them. Of course, she said. EnVia agreed to distribute them to the women they work with in villages throughout the Valles Centrales de Oaxaca.

Mask recipient, San Sebastian Abasolo

These 100% cotton masks were sewn by Sam Robbins in Columbus, Ohio, and shipped to Oaxaca by my son Jacob Singleton who received them in Huntington Beach, California. Sam is a quilter and had a stash of fabric. It was only natural that she coverted the cloth to masks, responding to our call, and sent along extra cloth.

Jacki received them at her apartment in El Centro and transferred them over to Viviana Ruiz, the EnVia managing director, for distribution to the pueblos.

Santa Maria Guelace mask wearers

Many of you know EnVia. They offer micro-financing to three-woman teams who want to start or grow a small business. After proving their success and ability to repay the first round of financing, they can become part of a cultural tour. That’s how EnVia provides funding for its loans — there is a cost to attend the tour and the funds raised are used to provide the loans. It’s a win-win because there is Zero Percent Interest on the loan. This is unusual in a climate where big box Mexican stores can charge over 80% interest to borrow to buy a stove or refrigerator, for example. Using this system, people can never get out of debt and there is no federal regulation on interest rates.

Wearing masks in apron-making village San Miguel del Valle

Jacki is a cultural guide. If you have gone on her tours, like I have, you know what an excellent resource EnVia is to many families in many small pueblos along Federal Highway 190. In the photo above, in the background, is EnVia van driver Norman, who helps with so much more.

To contribute to The Oaxaca Mask Project, click here:

Vivian sent us photos of women who were the recipients of mask in four villages. She will be giving the un-sewn fabric to local seamstresses to make up and distribute, too.

Red clay pottery makers in San Marcos Tlapazola

We will keep sewing and distributing masks until our funds run out or until there is no more need — whatever comes first. Let’s hope it’s the latter!

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:

paypal.me/oaxacaculture

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: Sew and Give to Keep Oaxaca Safe

Dear Friends: If you sew masks in the USA, I am expanding The Mask Project to ask you to mail me masks as a donation to keep Oaxaca safe. Our intention is to give out a FREE mask to all who will wear one in the city and surrounding villages — market and street vendors, customers, NGOs to distribute to their constituency. This will require a lot of masks!

How? You mail masks to me in Huntington Beach, California. I will collect the masks, put hang-tags on them explaining use, and send them via DHL to Oaxaca for distribution. When you SEND ME AN EMAIL, I will send you the mailing address. Thank you.

Send me an email to participate.

We are building a distribution network now — people on the ground who will go out and encourage mask-wearing. The government has mandated that everyone wear masks. Their use is not widespread. Perhaps this is because masks are hard to find. Perhaps, it is an unfamiliar practice. Perhaps it is because some people may not believe the gravity of the virus. We are in novel times.

Our job is to educate and disseminate. Our job is to help Oaxaca and her people. We can do this from afar, too.

Send me an email to participate.

I accept gifts of masks of any quantity, starting at ONE. The more the better!

Don’t make masks? Make a gift.

If you don’t sew, send a gift of money to support the effort to buy and ship masks. Send to: paypal.me/oaxacaculture We are buying masks made in Mexico — in Oaxaca and Patzcuaro, too — to fill the need. This necessitates money. Please give what you can. You can also send direct via PayPal to my account there — use Send to Family and Friends: oaxacaculture@me.com

Mask made by Rocio Bastida Cruz, San Felipe del Agua, Oaxaca

What the hang tags will say:

Protégete de la infeccion viral COVID19. Cada vez que salgas de tu casa usa un cubre bocas. ¡Si te cuidas tu, nos cuidas a nosotros!

Protect yourself from coronavirus. Each time you leave your house use a face mask. It protects you and all of us!

Thanks, Janet Chavez Santiago, for the translation.

Rocio in her workshop

We are using hang tags as an educational tool because many people do not believe there is a virus. It is something they can’t see. Many are uneducated. Many are poor and need to continue working to feed their families. Most have no savings to carry them through. Our help has no judgment.

Send me an email to participate.

Whatever you can do to help will be greatly appreciated.

Rocio’s Story

Rocio Bastida Cruz is a professional seamstress. She worked in a clothing store in Colonia Reforma and recently lost her job. Dave Crosley encouraged her to start making masks. She uses high quality cotton, double faced and elastic ear bands. She explains that to make the cubre bocas, she cuts two 17x20cm pieces of fabric. Everything is double stitched and ironed. She can make 450-500 mouth covers per week. My goal is to employ her and distribute this quantity or more per week, and perhaps she can hire on others to help her. This also expands employment opportunities for those who have lost their jobs.

Thank you for helping!

Dave Crosley is helping Rocio develop her mask-making business