I arrived in Chiapas, Mexico only three weeks ago, but have found myself in good company here. Living just outside a very international city, San Cristobal de las Casas, has been a good place to land, make friends and start to organize with new people. It has been emotionally difficult adjusting from working in Nicaragua, however the beauty of Southern Mexico has made the transition easier.Future Roots has been working with mostly teachers the past 5 years. Those teachers are almost all women, so to work with women here seemed like a logical place to start. I spent almost six months in Minnesota fundraising and preparing for my move to Mexico. Our project always keeps sustainability and resourcefulness as one of our goals and through the years we have really mastered it.
Last year while working with a 3rd grade class in Haulover, Nicaragua I started using the idea of “Tiny Books” as a tool in my English classes. It transformed into a really wonderful way of incorporating art, imagination, and vocabulary into the classroom and it requires minimal resources to make.
This teaching tool not only was a new and fun project for the teachers and students, it also taught me a lot. The stories that were coming from the children through these books were magical, and they inspired me to develop a Tiny Book workshop that I could use to start collecting stories in the communities I work in.
“Understanding languages and other cultures builds bridges. It is the fastest way to bring the world closer together and to Truth. Through understanding, people will be able to see their similarities before differences.”
― Suzy Kassem
I created a one page template for how to create your own “Tiny Book” or zine, and planned a my first workshop & women’s bridge building event in Minneapolis. Art, story sharing, and zine making are an international language and sharing this same workshop with the women in Chiapas is the perfect way to connect these two communities.
In the past two weeks I have been introducing the idea of the Tiny Book to many people. I started networking and out of luck make a connection the Rotary Club of San Cristobal.
I have settled in a house of women who represent five different countries. We have started to create a space as an international hub for community service work here in Chiapas. There is much work to be done, as Chiapas is the poorest state in Mexico and I am looking forward to keeping you updated as this new Future Roots project takes root!