A Future Without Poverty- What if God were listening… This past summer I tried to walk a mile in their shoes, the homeless shoes. The drive to do this was because the feelings that use to surge through me whenever someone would stop by our migrant camp has never left me.
In 2010 some retirees from many lands who settled on the north side of Lake Chapala had the idea to open a community Center to help the people of Tepehua, one of the poorest barrios in the City of Chapala. The Center is divided into units. Each unit has a leader. Each leader controls the volunteers of that unit. Reports to the Board of Directors are only required from each unit twice a year. Below are the programs and schedule of a typical week that have been developed in the past two years.
Recently a FWOP Board Member visited the Santa Rosa Farm, west of Lake Chapala, south of Guadalajara. This working farm is also an educational site for students from two urban schools (www.SuBire.mx K- 12) and ( www.colegiounionmexico.com k-9 ) to learn about environmental and agriculture issues. As we explained below in another news item, students visit the farm five days a week, often with some parents.
The members of FWOP and I are excited about the opening this Fall of Colegio Union Mexico –CUM ( K to 9 grade, with 10thgraded next fall, 11th grade in Fall of 2014, and 12th grade in Fall of 2015) in Los Molinos in northwest Guadalajara. Some 600 students from working class community now have access high quality education at very reasonable cost, some $80 per month. With a strong focus on environmental and sustainability education they are being prepared for lead Mexico forward. FWOP and the University of North Texas will partner up in building a unique more sustainable neighborhood around the school.
A Future Without Poverty (FWOP)
FWOP membership is free to anyone who believes that every person in the world has the right to have a life without poverty. If you believe that everyone should have the opportunity of adequate food and shelter you should be a member of FWOP.
Membership in FWOP is open to anyone with an e-mail address and it is free.
Sahuayo, Michoacan ( Mexico) on the Move!
On September 18th Mariann Contreras , Edwards Ochao (Pato) Contreras and Stan Ingman met to discuss various items that Mujeres Vigilantes, COFIMICH and FWOP need to consider in building more livable, strong, and sustainable neighborhoods for low income families.
The highlight of our meeting was a visit to some 50 houses under contruction in Sahuayo. The plan is to build 150 houses at this location. Houses measures 7 x 20 meters, have three bedrooms, one bath room and one common living area. At this stage our team also has houses under construction in Zimapan, State of Hidalgo (200) and Sahuayo . Go to www.remuni.org to view a YouTube or click on Mujeres Vigilantes logo on our sponsorship list.
Below you have a photo of Stan, Mariann, Celia (Pato’s wife) , and Pato with children and grandchildren from both families. People are looking at the roof and as you may know families can add a second floor to their house if funds become available.
Citizens must fund street lights. While in Guadalajara Ingman met with Solar Technology ( www.solartechnology.com.mx) to explore the best options to solve this issue. In addition, Syl Flores contacted a solar panel company in Ripley, Ohio to find out if they might have a good solution at a good price. Tom Benjamin is also working on the issue in Virginia. Walmart has a solar flood light that could be another solution.
We are now discussing in more detail how we develop this neighborhood to create a self-managed liveable neighborhood. What committees, what educational programs do we bring to the site, and what links to alternative employment do we create nearby?
San Martin and Mazamitla, Mexico : Self Management and New Low Income Eco-Housing
For some 8 years FWOP have worked with San Martin to make this small settlement more livable. Initially, a gasoline generator from Texas was installed to supply two light bulbs per 10 houses. Later three solar panels were installed to substitute for the generator. Now they use them both. A TV antenna show that someone now watches TV.
Villagers had to walk mile or two to locate a bucket of water. So , our team located a spring some 2 miles away from San Martin. GPS help us determine it higher than San Martin. A gravity system of pipes pushed the water tank to San Martin, and finally lines to each house per water access.
Stan and Pato visited San Martin on 19th and sat down with Antonio the chair of the village committee. First we learned that the spring went dry some two years ago. Antonio had watched Tom Benjamin do the initial project. So he merely located another site of water in the ravine a site of old water tank and dug a hole and reconnected the system and water continues to flow to San Martin.
Second , the evaluated the generator – solar panel system and determine that we could merely relocate the panels and perhaps secure more sun light and thus , they may not need to use the gasoline generator for electricity.
Our next stop was near Mazamitla and the site of where some 500 houses for low income families. These houses will have some exciting features. Solar water heating systems on the roofs will provide warm showers . Bio-digestor had the bottom of the hill will receive all toilet waste. Methane gas will be piped to individual homes will allow families to cook meals without buying butane gas tanks or burning wood. They also have a rebate for program to reward families who recycle.
Currently, electric boxes are installed. The septic line have been laid out for all houses and come down the hill to be linked to the biodigestors. Finally federal permit will allow them to cut the trees down to then move ahead with constructing houses in November.
While it may be unfair to put the world’s troubles on the backs of women of the world, it is instructive to review the roles of women with respect to national and community building across our planet. Stereotypes are not always helpful.
National leadership in the hands of women does seem to be on the rise, e.g., Germany , Brazil, Argentina, Thailand and Australia. Their impact is as yet unclear. More impressive is the role of Aung San Suu Kyi , leader of the opposition in Burma.
Perhaps more concrete social change is the work of Dr. Yunus and the creation of the Grameen Bank, which focuses upon micro loans to mostly women in Bangladesh and around the world. In Mexico FWOP has tried to support En Via Foundation in Oaxaca that provides microloans to women in two villages. (www.envia.org ) .
The Green Belt Movement that was organized by Professor Wangari Masthai , Nobel Prize for Peace in 2004 has been empowering women for thirty years across Kenya and Africa. Their goals is now one billion tree campaign . Turk Pipkin is recent film Nobeity focuses in part on her outstanding work. ( www.greenbeltmovement.org )