How to feed impoverished people has always been a challenge in Mexico. Now, with the ravages of coronavirus destroying fragile infrastructure, street corner businesses, and tourism that feeds Oaxaca’s economy, needs are even more acute. Here are a few stories about people rising to the occasion to help.
Face Masks and Distribution
Getting masks is one thing. Distributing them to Oaxaca friends and people in markets or on the street is another thing. Explaining in Spanish how and why to use the masks in public is essential for public health education.
For a start, Kalisa Wells ordered 50 face coverings from Patzcuaro for distribution in Oaxaca. They arrived today. She announced on Facebook that “They are here at my place in the centro, ready for pick-up.”
“The Mujeres Mágicas are a group of low income women in Pátzcuaro who have been taught to sew and sell high quality products to help support their families, increase their self-esteem, and gain lifetime skills. The changes in their lives and those of their families have been phenomenal. As their shop is closed now and they are in quarantine at home, they are sewing pleated protective face masks from double fabric with elastic ear loops. They can be washed dried, and are reversible. For only 30 pesos each [$1.26USD], you can purchase these masks for everyone you know and help empower women at the same time.
Donate via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org
“For more in-depth information about the Mujeres Mágicas, please visit their Facebook page, Pátzcuaro Mujeres Mágicas. They need donations and can receive them in dollars or pesos via PayPal.
The problem is that many local women do not feel at risk. Kalisa plans to hand some out to people she meets on the street, but this necessitates explaining the importance of using the mask — in Spanish, which fortunately, Kali speaks well.
Shannon Sheppard says, “The masks will probably help protect us and others from the droplets/spray (cough, sneeze, breath) coming from the wearer. If we all wear masks, we protect each other.
Cheri Verber says, “Education is everything. Those who are distributing the masks in Pátzcuaro are native speakers who explain to people exactly how they can protect themselves and everyone with whom they come in contact.
I suggested adding hang tags in Spanish to explain how to use and why it is important just in case the giver doesn’t speak Spanish.
Feeding Vulnerable People in Oaxaca: Friendly Food Donations
This message is from Jesi Jello, a founder of Friendly Food Donations.
“Hello, everyone! ❤️ My partner Erick Garcia Gomez and I have just created a Paypal account to receive direct donations that will go toward the immediate purchase of produce from local farmers.
“All donations go directly to supporting small local vegetable farmers who will deliver a month’s worth of produce directly to the door of the most vulnerable people and families in the different communities surrounding Oaxaca City, Mexico.
“The donations consist of generous amounts of fruit and vegetables with staples like eggs, beans, rice, and cooking oil.
“All money goes toward the purchase of food directly from the farmers and all food goes directly to the door of those who need it, no price inflation.
“My partner and I started this so that we can be 100% certain that no one is profiting and that all money goes directly to feeding people in need. We are also more likely to get donations from our own personal connections, clients, friends, and family this way…. There is so much poverty here, I say we need all the help that we can get. This is my personal effort to help people and I am just sharing it in case someone is back in their country and wants to reach out and help people in Oaxaca.
“We are opening a donation account in case we are able to reach even more vulnerable people and families. We have been doing our research through the people we know and have our own personal and confidential list of families who are presently suffering, who have no money or food. We will not be taking any profit for ourselves.❤️ Donation link is: http://www.paypal.me/friendlyfood ❤️ Please Share ! ❤️”
Help for Monte Alban Street Dogs
Earlier this week, Norma received this message [below] from Mark Allen Brown asking for help to care for street dogs on the road to Monte Alban. Norma immediately referred him to Merry Foss in Teotitlan del Valle who runs TeoTails, Tanya LaPierre who volunteers with APA OAX the Oaxaca animal rescue and sterilization organization, and Rebecca Durden Raab founder of Friends of Megan Animal Rescue. They responded quickly. Please help; you can make donations directly.
Here is what Mark wrote:
There are 15 to 20 abandoned dogs along that short climb to Monte Alban. They’re usually grouped into 2 packs; they include puppies and old dogs.
I’m on a bicycle. It’s the only transportation I have. But every day for the past couple of weeks I’ve cycled up there carrying as much water and food as I can. It’s never enough. I notice other people are aware of the problem and help, but all the help combined is not enough. I will worry about them if I were to miss a day.
I would like to see the population reduced.
All of the dogs are well mannered, most are kind, appreciative, and loving. They clearly have been with families and will make great companions.
Some of them need to be fixed. I’m willing to pay for that.
I’m also willing to support a number of the dogs with their medical issues and food while homes are found.
I rent an apartment in Oaxaca and cannot keep any dogs myself. I intend to stay here long-term, but as soon as the pandemic has passed, I’ll be traveling for several months.
Can you tell me of any organization, or better, any person who can advise on this matter or help me with it? I know nothing of Facebook or Instagram.
What About Beezie? Oaxaca Dog Rescue and Finding a Home
This story has a happy ending!
Two days after I returned to Teotitlan del Valle and my home here, I wrote about the skin and bones campo dog that Janie started feeding and named Beezween, which is Zapotec for deer. Beezie leaps like one with his long legs, so it was fitting. I posted Facebook pictures of a dog who looked close to death. I thought, OMG, what am I going to do with FOUR dogs, and I put out the call for a rescue. Beezie needs a home.
Beezie taking a snoozle.
What I got were several generous donations from friends in the US, Canada and Germany to help sustain him until we could figure out a resolution. Thank you to Linda Mansour, Kate Rayner, Judith Grossmann, Barbara Szombatfalvy, Susie Robison, Donna Davis and Karen Nein.
Bottom to top: Beezie, Tia, Butch. Mamacita is missing.
Janie wanted to bring him back with her to North Carolina when she leaves next week. She fell in love! Beezie responded to her by sitting, laying and rolling over. It was a heartfelt bonding.
Janie teaching Beezie to lay down
Meanwhile, I started making buckets of chicken soup and got big bones from the local butcher. Meals were supplemented with chicken livers and gizzards. My three loved the extra treatment and Beezie started to gain weight.
Healthier Beezie after three weeks of care and feeding
After a ton of research and many phone calls, Janie found that the least cost to transport Beezie to the US via private courier (the airlines are no longer taking responsibility for transporting animals) was out of reach — over $1,500 to start.
Beezie in distress, June 29, 2018
Way back in the beginning of my return and in a panic, I found Rebecca Durden Raab who started a not-for-profit dog rescue organization years ago in San Pablo Etla called Friends of Megan. I contacted her and got the name of the vet, Luciano, who has worked with her for over twelve years. They offer a shelter and dog placement service, including spay/neuter and healthcare. Janie followed up.
Dr. Luciano, the vet from Friends of Megan, with an outstretched hand
Yesterday, Beezie happily (and miraculously) submitted to collar and leash without a fuss. Janie led him down the drive to Omar’s waiting car and they set out for San Pablo Etla and new beginnings. We both cried but knew he would be in good hands.
Beezie sat in Janie’s lap for the entire road trip to Etla
Janie applied for and won a textile residency at Meredith College in Raleigh that starts in September, based much on the volunteer work she did with Galeria Fe y Lola here in the village during the time she house sat and cared for the dogs. She would have had her hands full with a campo dog trying to adjust to city life!
I have used the funds entrusted to me to support Beezie’s journey back to health to buy food and medicines. The funds I did not spend have been donated to Friends of Megan and to the Teotitlan del Valle Spay Neuter Clinic run by Merry Foss.
Beezie. It was hard for Janie to let him go.
Merry’s website is defunct, so if you want to donate, you can send PayPal funds to me using Friends and Family at email@example.com and I’ll make sure it gets to her.
The donations to Friends of Megan are tax-deductible in the USA.
My prayer is that no other starving dogs show up at my front gate! Three is enough and it’s too hard turning a distressed animal away. There are so many here!
Thanks to everyone for following the journey.
This is not tourist life in Oaxaca. It’s the underbelly of what happens day-to-day, much the same as in other “civilized” countries where animals are mistreated, cut loose to fend for themselves. The overpopulation of dogs here is rampant. I wish I didn’t have to write this story. I’m certain not all stories, those we don’t hear about, end up like this one.
Posted in Cultural Commentary
Tagged animal rescue, animal welfare, dogs, humane society, Mexico, Oaxaca, spay and neuter clinic, Teotitlan del Valle