All photos by:  Brenda Phillips
Website created by:  Brenda Phillips and Robin Anderson

WOMEN'S HEALTH PROMOTERS PROGRAM

Isthmus of Tehuantepec

Oaxaca, Mexico

Steeped in the mountains on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, there are women willing to take the matter of health care into their own hands - for themselves, their families, and their community.
 

The revival of traditional medicine is not only practical from an economic standpoint, but lends itself to larger themes of biodiversity, indigenous land rights, and migration.
 

Pre-Columbian people, the Zapotec, have inhabited this area for more than 2,500 years years have a rich history of traditional environmental knowledge.  It is their hope that revisiting this history will in turn provide answers to issues that disrupt their communities.

Rogelia maintains a large garden on her property for medicinal plants.

In 2016, The Common Ground Collective partnered with Rogelia to create this space for communal use, expanding it to include fruit trees and other produce, including beans, corn and squash.  This traditional crop rotation is known as Milpa

Rogelia shown with Dr. Irma Cruz Nava in her garden

This ancient petroglyph marks the natural water source for Rogelia's garden. 

Women utilize the herbs grown to make

tinctures, salves, and teas for their communities and families

 Under this program, each house will have it’s own traditional medicine cabinet, with native Zapotec botanicals and Chinese medicinal plants.

The women of the communities also requested acupuncture training to be used as a preventative measure as well as a way to treat chronic illness, which is often neglected in rural healthcare programs.

A buzz has spread among the communities of this region, resulting in members traveling hours to seed share and participate in workshops on traditional healing.