Friend Joanna, and a group of stalwart do'gooders (I do not say do-gooders as a negative thing, it is a VERY positive thing, To Do Good) from the International Women's Club of Merida have taken on a project in the small community located just outside of Uxmal called Santa Elena. They are working with one family in particular trying to assist them into a more sustainable life. From this family, more families will come to see the value and benefit and the circle will complete.
This particular family were previously quite sustainable with their chicken, turkey, and pig production but relied on Abels income from a nearby resort restaurant for those things they could not grow or trade for. Unfortunately that position was eliminated a few years ago and the ability to pay for things like masa and medical care became nearly impossible.
Another fine article on this very same family was done by some other local do-gooders Yucatan Living
Here is where Joanna and her group stepped in - They set the women up in a cottage industry of producing oil cloth market bags, hand painted table linen and wall decor, and crochet items such as glass cozies and handbags.
Abel himself leads tours into the countryside. We recently had the opportunity to contact him and set ourselves up for one of his 'Tours'. With friends Kathy and Ken visiting from Colorado we met up with Abel just on the outskirts of Santa Elena. First order of business was to stop at The Pickled Onion restaurant for a quick bite to get us through our wilderness adventure and then set off, fully intending to return to Valerie's after our excursion to cool off in her pool and with something refreshing and cold to drink.
Our tour that day would be to the unexcavated ruin of Xcooch, (shkoshhh). We had read a bit about this site in our John L. Stephens, Incidents of Travel in the Yucatan book. I must say the one rendering of the site from their 1840ish journey was quite similar to what we saw that day. Not much has been done, save keeping some of the brush cleared, and the placement of a sealed iron gate over the mouth in to the cave where water was found.
Here are some photos from that trip
(I will apologize in that there was some setting wrong on my camera and my photos all came out as if on a viagra weekend binge; blue tint)
|Abel telling us stories about the region|
|Abel, Ken, Rosa, Kathy, and one of the sons|
|this turkey let me pet it and feel its blue and red parts, eeeschk!|
Contact with Abel can be made through Joanna and/or Valerie -