Archive for December, 2008|Monthly archive page

Mujeres Ambientalistas de Jiquilpan: another Mexican success story


Jiquilpan is a typical, very small Mexican town (population about 2000) in the state of Jalisco, about 2kms outside another small town, San Gabriel (population about 5000), which is famous as the place where one of Mexico’s greatest writers, Juan Rulfo, spent his childhood. To get there from Ciudad Guzman, where I live, you have to cross to the other side of the volcano del Nevado, a spectacular drive, full of twisting curves, that climbs up to about 3000 meters, before descending into the plain where San Gabriel is located.

I had been invited to San Gabriel by Alejandro, the coordinator of tourism there, who was keen to show me and my son around the area. Part of our two-day trip, just before Xmas, was to visit a project called ‘Mujeres Ambientalistas’ (literally translated as ‘environmental women’), a group of women who had set up a co-operative to produce jam and other products mainly from the fruit guayaba, and using particularly the fruit that was judged not to be suitable for selling and which otherwise would have been thrown away.

When we visited the cooperative, I was fortunate enough to be able to talk to not only the president, Tamar, but also a consultant from Mexico City, Gerardo Chavéz Segoviano, who was helping the cooperative with the production, distribution and sale of its products.

Tamar told us the history of the cooperative. Continue reading

Ixtapilla Turtle Sanctuary


In 1994, the 50 or so families of the indigenous Nahua community who live at Ixtapilla on the coast of Michoacan, near the state border with Colima, decided they wanted to take action to save the turtles whose numbers were declining rapidly. Throughout 1994, they estimated that only about 300 turtles had come to the beach to lay their eggs. The numbers had been devastated because people came to the beach in lorries to kill the turtles for their meat, and take away the eggs which are believed to have aphrodisiac properties. The government had passed a law in 1984 banning the killing of turtles and the consumption of their eggs, but like many laws in Mexico, it was ignored.

This year, the numbers of turtles arriving have been very roughly estimated to be around 150,000. This is an extraordinary success story.

On Friday 19th December, I set off at 7am to visit this community for the second time, along with the coordinator of the course in alternative tourism at the university, his wife and three year old son, and two electricians from the university, who were on board to install in the community’s primary school the fifteen computers we were carrying in the minibus. Continue reading

First Post

I had been wondering what to include as my first post here, when in the course of investigating how to set up a blog which involved looking at other blogs written in English about Mexico (the best of which I have found so far are included in my blogroll), I came across an interesting story.

Two days ago, whilst having the radio on in the background, I thought I heard a story about an American expert in kidnapping being kidnapped in the state of Coahuila, whilst giving a series of lectures on the theme of public security and kidnapping. As I was not paying particular attention to the radio, and as it was in Spanish, I was not sure if I had understood the story properly.

But today I was delighted to come across the same story written by Jeremy Schwartz on Uncovering Mexico.

Here are some of the key excerpts from the story as recounted by Jeremy Schwartz: Continue reading