Santa Cruz Cuautomatitla, Puebla, Mexico is a small town situated on the south side of the active Volcano Popocateptl. Just kms from the megapolis of Mexico City, the quite traditional life of this rural town was disrupted when the earthquake on the 19th September tore through the village of 1500 people destroying half of their homes and causing many landslides widening the gully between the town.
A group of friends formed a convoy of 10 vehicles to take aid to some of the smaller towns outside of Mexico city, this is when they first came in contact with the community of Santa Cruz Cuautomatitla. The help was gratefully accepted and they stayed to help with the demolition of some of the damaged houses. The town is community run without aid entering from the government . Before the earthquake most of the inhabitants lived from the fertile volcanic earth and the regions production of pears.
Most of the community were quite restrained by poverty and the inequality that the hinders Mexico from before the earthquake hit and this tragedy only heightens some of the existing problems that riddled the town such as unstable economy and immigration of young men to the USA.”
Now the town is facing the reconstruction of many of its homes and community buildings and planning how to make the structure of the town more resilient to natural disasters. Due to the nature of the ground ( much of the earth is made up of volcanic ash and is very soft ) plus the detrimental affects of deforestation causing the ground to become less stable – they are becoming more vulnerable to landslides . The result of the earthquake has left huge crators and dangerous terrain for building new homes.
During these times it is so important to bring joy ,light and creativity to a difficult situation and embrace these connections that are being made between this small community and the influx of volunteers and support from various organisations. The local children are such are an integral part and essential energy for the future of the pueblo and with this in mind , we thought it would be wonderful to offer some creative workshops to the schools in order to offer a platform for creative expression + FUN :).
Over October we raised funds to deliver an art as therapy creative play program with the children effected from the natural disaster in the town.
Yesterday after an early rise @5am and a 3/4 hour journey up to mountains, we made a visit to see how the town of Santa Cruz Cuautomatitla is getting on.I travelled with Sarah and Diego who have been working alongside the community for the past 2 months.
We took a tour of the town and the areas effected by the earthquake on the 19th of September.We also explored the beautiful landscape and massive crators formed across the town post sismo. You can see the reconstruction in action and there are already a few bamboo houses in place. We also enjoyed a delicious lunch from the community kitchen in the plaza and met some of the very welcoming locals.
After a walk further up the hill I met the lovely director of the school : Escuela Telsecundaria Emiliano Zapata : Rutilo – he was very welcoming and supportive of the project. At the moment resources are stretched as both the secondary and primary schools are all working away together , sharing spaces in some temporary UNICEF tents and existing buildings. The school is a school of 192 pupils in total + 10 teachers.
The town and school is surrounded by fields of flowers , Amaranth , avocado trees and pear orchards and of course the big Volcano Don Popo in the near distance (it is the final town before your reach the still active volcanic beast) .We are excited to incorporate some of the stunning nature and foods into the creative programme.
Las Casas bailaban project will offer the pupils a programme of fun creative activities , art and play as therapy with visiting artists from mid January. We are all very excited to connect .
Watch this space..