GLOBAL PROJECT ENGLISH
RESUME: REGIONAL PROJECT: IMPROVING SOCIAL AND ECONOMICAL CONDITIONS AMONG MIXTECS INDIANS OF OAXACA, MEXICO.
Professor Ethelia Ruiz Medrano
Santander Visiting Scholar
David Rockefeller Center for Latin America Studies, Harvard
Scope of the Proposal
The proposal focuses on addressing and resolving several problems which beset the indigenous zone of the Mixteca Alta. On the basis of careful analysis, I have managed to collapse these problems into three critical areas. The first involves cultivating a drought-resistant bean, one that does not require the use of fertilizers, within a two-hectare experimental field. This type of cultivation is needed by communities when—as has happened for some years—their corn and bean harvests are unsuccessful. These foodstuffs form their main production and enable them to satisfy their basic alimentary needs on their own. Two members of my research team, Dr. Beatriz Xoconostle and Dr. Roberto Ruiz Medrano, have developed new varieties of beans on the basis of physiological and molecular studies measuring tolerance for drought. Our strategy of transferring this technology entails training the small-scale growers of the Mixteca Alta region in the techniques of planting the seeds, beginning with the campesinos of the community of Santa María Cuquila.
The second set of problems in the Mixteca Alta involves two serious health issues troubling the region: gastrointestinal illnesses and illnesses of the respiratory system. A simple solution to the first illness lies in the construction of of baños secos, or ecological toilets, followed by training people in their proper use. This is a low-cost technology with direct benefits to the health of a local population. The ecological toilet is a system for treating fecal matter and urine based on separating them. After proper treatment, the two substances can then be used as natural fertilizers. The second main public health problem within communities of the Mixteca Alta pertains to respiratory difficulties. These are closely tied to the direct inhalation of smoke that occurs, primarily by women and children, as food is being cooked in traditional open-air stoves. According to the national statistical institute [INEGI], 90 percent of homes in the Mixteca Alta use firewood to cook in open stoves or in stoves improvised out of large rocks, the smoke from which causes serious lesions of the eyes and a high level of respiratory illnesses. The introduction of non-wood burning stoves not only reduces health risks by completely eliminating the emission of toxic fumes; it also opens a path toward developing environmental consciousness.
In contrast to public health and food self-sufficiency issues, the third set of problems centers on the region’s rich culture and historical past which have bequeathed to it many pre-Hispanic settlements as well as a number of important colonial churches and convents (eg., Yanhuitlán, Coixtlahuaca, Santa María Cuquila) which are being restored by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). Since this rich history is virtually unknown outside the region, an ecotouristic site could very profitably be developed in one of its communities. Santa María Cuquila offers the best advantages in this regard. Not only does it contain a stupendous arqueological site dating back 2,000 years to the Classic Period and a beautiful sixteenth-century colonial church with important seventeenth and eighteenth-century altar pieces, but it is also situated on the edge of the main highway connecting the Mixteca Alta to the coast. There is a substantial amount of public and private traffic on this highway. In addition, Santa María Cuquila is well connected to many other communities within the Mixteca Alta with important touristic appeal.
La última actualización de este sitio fue el: 10 de junio de 2013include("contador.php")?>