We have been in Mexico City for less than 48 hours, and we are keeping a pretty busy pace! Our first day was used to settle in and get basics taken care of, capping it off with a team meeting in the evening. The four women we will be working with come from 3 different NGO’s, Renata Fenton and Carmen Hernandez of Isla Urbana, Rachel Smith from Sistema Bio Bolsa, and Liliana Riva Palacio of Proyecto ConcetrArte, are all formidible forces in terms of the work they do here in Mexico. The Mexican ground partners all collaborate on interdisciplinary projects around natural resources and education, through the NGO platform IRRI Mexico (Instituto Internacional de Recursos Renovables AC) and C4C is collaborating on the Agua Nuestra Vida project funded by the Porticus Foundation. Being involved with so many partners can be a tricky road to manoeuvre but working with these ladies is proving to be fantastic, their knowledge and experience is amazing, but so are their hearts! It is so great to be able to work and learn from them, see all that they are doing and share our process too.
“Quiltepec”, the name resonates with the romance of the Aztec language; tepec actually means mountain, and the informal community we will be working in is literally on the top of a mountain on the south end of Mexico City. Today our meeting took a different turn however, as the road we needed to access the community was peppered with high security swat team police, who told us we would be going up at our own risk and we would have to walk up.
Driving towards Quiltepec
Carmen decided that it was too risky, and so we will wait until tomorrow when hopefully the whole sting operation is over! Thank goodness for ground partners that know the score, and when to make the right decisions!
In the meantime we are taking the time to fully organize ourselves and get more background info on our community!
Quiltepec is a small informal community nestled high up (around 8000 ft) amongst 8 other pueblas in San Miguil de Xicalco in Distrito Tlalpan, one of the 16 Delegacions of Mexico City (DF). Beside and behind it are homes that are recognized by the delegacion of Tlalpan, and so they have water, electricity, sewage and other infrastructure, but not so Quiltepec. The children of the community however do attend school down the mountain, but as far as the policy makers are concerned, they do not exist, and so therefore they do not need to provide any infrastructure in the way of basic needs.
Isla Urbana decided a few years ago, that they do have the right to water and to begin installation of their Rainwater Harvesting Systems whenever they had some extra resources to do so. So a relationship began and has grown tremendously which has been wonderful thing for this community, because now, the community has numerous rainwater harvesting systems, as well as two water treatment systems, 5000 liter water cistern, 4 hydroponic systems and 4 biobolsa bio digesters.
Our goal tomorrow will be to meet with the 15 chosen participants and dig right into our program. Tomorrow we fully expect to come home with many photos of the kids as they get their hands on the Nikon Cameras and run with them!! Stay tuned! Hasta Pronto!!!