On Thursday, September 7, our companions in the isthmus region lived the strongest earthquake that has occurred in Mexico in 100 years; less than three minutes sufficed for their achievements and the work of many years of their lives to come crumbling down. Fortunately, we don’t have to regret that some of them or their families suffered physical damage at that time, but, as we were told weeks later, “their souls were damaged.” The fear and startle before any movement of the earth are indescribable. It is hard to live like that.
We decided to support affected women building worthy spaces where they could reactivate their economic activities, our motto being #TechoYTrabajo (a roof and a job); since, among other things, we want to bring them back to the production of tortilla chips.
Without a doubt, September 7 and 23 have been a watershed in the life of many people, not only of the earthquakes’ victims, but also in the life of the inhabitants of the affected areas and of people, organizations and companies that had some kind of work relation in the Oaxacan isthmus region. In the case of the GEM team, we have worked for more than eight years for and with women, mainly Zapotec indigenous women from Juchitán, Unión Hidalgo, Santa María Xadani, Chahuites and Santo Domingo Zanatepec, and now we also started supporting women from Niltepec and Ixtaltepec.
We very well know that this will be a path and work in the long run and that we will both start over, but we are also sure that being alive allows us to rebuild ourselves together, as we women know how.