Peace on earth, goodwill toward men by etssetcf


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									           A Promise of Health
419 East Fraser Drive, Pueblo West, CO 81007    CHRISTMAS 2009 

Peace on earth, goodwill toward men
Dec. 8, 2009...From my win- the targeted rural communi- can immigrants here in the
dow today I look in awe at 6        ties 1 1/2 hours south of the     US have lost their ability to
inches of pure fallen snow          capital city of Oaxaca.           continue to send money
topped off by Colorado's Ko-                                          back home to their families
                                    With your help, I believe it's
dachrome blue sky, making                                             as they once faithfully did.
it all sparkle like diamonds.                                         Many have returned to Mex-
My health is good and my                                              ico penniless.
family's blessings are many.
Bill and I are grateful to be
                                                                      A Promise of Health has also
                                                                      endured a tough year as
alive and well in this season
                                                                      have so many worthy small
of hope with Christ's simple
                                                                      non profits across the coun-
yet powerful message of
                                                                      try. And still, hanging by thin
love, peace and goodwill.
                                                                      threads, we all struggle to
Maybe because of this extra                                           prevail. Somebody once said,
special day my thoughts turn                                          if you find yourself at the
all the more to my close                                              end of your rope, tie a knot
neighbors in Oaxaca, who                                              and hang on! Some days it
are also preparing for Christ-                                        sure feels like that to me.
mas in this season of hope.
                                                                      We need each other, now
What are their family tradi-
tions and rituals? What's the
                                                                      more than ever. We are one
                                    I am very anxious to get to       on this good earth.
weather like? How are they
                                    Oaxaca. I know that you, our
feeling? Are they well? Are                                           If you find you can make an
                                    faithful and generous do-
they hopeful? Who among                                               additional donation to A
                                    nors, are anxious too. As I
them is sick without doctor                                           Promise of Health's first Oax-
or medicine, perhaps hungry
                                    thank you for your kindness
                                    and your continued support        aca Medicine Wheel this
and cold, without recourse?                                           holiday season, please know
                                    to A Promise of Health, I also
Like myself, the people of          know it has not been an
                                                                      it will be greatly appreciated
Oaxaca seek and need                easy year for folks here in the
                                                                      and wisely used.
goodness in their lives too.        United States. So many have       Wishing you peace, now
As of today, A Promise of           lost their livelihoods, homes     and in the New Year, that
Health needs to raise               or both, experienced set          passes all understanding,
$33,000 more for our first          backs and are struggling to                    Barbara Grannell
Medicine Wheel to begin in          keep up. Thousands of Mexi-
A dream for Rural Oaxaca gathers strength
By William Grannell                ined the land for other crops,     worked, sent money home to
APOH co-founder                    most of the male population        their families. Today, with a
and president                      was forced to look for work        crumbling economy, most of
                                   outside the community. As a        this money has dried up and
What is a better Christmas         result, around 65 percent of       without the men to work the
story than the struggle of mak-    the population of Ayoquezco        fields the people of the pueb-
ing a dream come                                                                    los  are    even
true     through                                                                    poorer.
                                                                                    But for Felix Cruz
That is the story of                                                                and      Francisca
the villages of                                                                     Cruz Sanchez, the
Ayoquezco         in                                                                dream of bring-
southern Oaxaca                                                                     ing jobs, health-
and two people                                                                      care and a better
who were born                                                                       life to Ayoquezco
there.                                                                              has        never
Our organization,                                                                   dimmed.
Promise of Health,                                                                  How strange are
became a part of                                                                    the paths of des-
this story when                                                                     tiny. Felix now
last year we part-                                                                  lives in the United
nered with a Oax-                                                                   States. Francisca
aca migrant coali-                                                                  Sanchez         left
tion in Escondido,                                                                  home and then
California to begin                                                                 she       returned.
to raise funds to                                                                   However        both
initiate a basic                                                                    shared this dream
health care project                                                                 for     Ayoquezco
there. Since that                                                                   and then went
time, APOH has                                                                      about making it a
become partners                                                                     reality independ-
with all the players                                                                ently.
in this great en-
deavor.                                                                             "When we left
                                                                                    Oaxaca, we mi-
First let me tell you                                                               grants said we're
about Ayoquezco.                                                                    going to come
It is a community                                                                   back one day.
                      Jobs created by MENA, the women’s cooperative, and U.S. mi-
of more than 10 grant investment bring work to the people of Ayoquezco.             Every time we call
villages     located                                                                home, it is with
about 1 and 1/2 hours by car migrated to northern Mexico that hope, and we reaffirm
from Oaxaca City. For years the and the U.S. Left behind were that moral commitment we
people who lived there grew the women, their children, and made to our land. With God’s
and processed tobacco. But the families who were too help we will transform our
after the local factory closed timid to leave their homes.             town into a better place to
down and the agrochemicals
                                    The migrants, when they live," says Cruz.
used to grow tobacco had ru-
                                                                           (Continued on the next page)
bringing hope to a community                                          Quetzalguela
                                                                      Oaxaca Festival
A small and driven man, Cruz,       Now she had to struggle to        Raises funds for
45, was 12 when he went to          feed her family.
work at a butcher shop in the
                                                                      Oaxaca healthcare
city of Oaxaca. His father had    In Ayoquezco there were few
                                  jobs and those were taken. Left     The annual Guelaguetza
sent him to study at a middle                                         Festival, sponsored by the
school, but Cruz quit when he     on their own, the women had
                                  to look for alternative liveli-     Coalición de Comunidades
saw the financial burden his                                          Indigenas de Oaxaca
father was taking on.             hoods. All they had were their
                                  small backyard gardens where        (COCIO), a coalition of Oax-
                                                                      aca hometown clubs in the
"I felt sorry that   he was send- they grew nopales or prickly
                                                                      San Diego, California area
ing me the                                        pear    cactus
                                                                      raised $2000 for the Oaxaca
small amount                                      pads for their      Medicine Wheel.
of money he           “When we left Oaxaca, own consump-
earned for our                                    tion    which       These funds will be matched
family and gave
                      we migrants said we're they started to          by a private family founda-
it to me for bus      going to come back sell on the lo-              tion that has been support-
fare and my           one day. Every time we cal market. But          ing the healthcare mission
lunch,"      says     call home, it is with they received             work of A Promise of Health.
Cruz.      "That's    that hope, and we reaf- very         little     COCIO is a partner in the
why I dropped         firm that moral com-        money.              projects with A Promise of
out of school."                                                       Health. It is the goal of the
               mitment we made to One day, tak-
He came to the our land.”         ing  matters                        two organizations to estab-
                                                     into her own     lish much needed basic
United States
                                                     hands, she in-   medical service to rural com-
when he was
                                                     spired    two    munities in Oaxaca.
19. By 1987, he'd made his
way to California's Central         friends to meet with her and      The fundraising goal for the
Coast, where he worked as a         she convinced them to look for    project is $74,000. This will
blackberry harvester for eight      ways to create jobs.              establish two basic health
years. All that time, he and        “There were very few jobs         care projects in rural indige-
dozens of his compatriots                                             nous communities in Oax-
                                    available so a person had to
dreamed about ways they                                               aca.
                                    find a way to make a living off
could help their hometown.          the land. That was how we         The first will be in Ayoqu-
“Maybe we could plant or-           came up with this idea to mar-    ezco’s pueblos in the south
chards, build a sports complex      ket nopal and we formed a         of the state. The other is
or even a dance hall. But, no-      group,” says Cruz Sanchez.        slated for a group of poor
body ever really did anything                                         communities in the Mixteca
                                    From this idea blossomed Mu-      region in northern Oaxaca.
because we never had enough         jeres Evasadoras de Nopal de
money. Always I carried the         Ayoquezco (MENA), a women-        The Guelaguetza Festival is
dream with me."                     run food cooperative by 120       an annual event in southern
                                    nopal farmers who were the        California, patterned after
In Ayoquezco, it wasn’t much                                          national festivals in Oaxaca.
                                    single mothers, widows and
different for Francisca Cruz                                          It features authentic folk
                                    women left behind. Founded
Sanchez. She and her husband                                          dancing from the regions of
                                    in 2001 (ironically the same
had tried working as farm la-                                         Oaxaca and typical foods.
                                    year APOH was founded) their
borers in the U.S. and had re-
                                    original plan was to grow,
turned home disillusioned.
                                            Continued on page 4
        With your help, healthcare will come
package and sell their nopal in      creation in 2004, of a new           The good news of this story is
other parts of Mexico.               company, Procesadora de Ali-         that there is now a small plant
They discovered a Mexican         mentos Nostálgicos de Oaxaca in Ayoquezco that is process-
foundation that would listen to
                                  (PANO) owned by the mem- ing nopal, mole and chocolate.
                                  bers of MENA and the migrant Today some 160 women farm-
their plans and agreed to help.
                                                                          ers cultivate about 16 hectares.
In the beginning the MENA investors of MIGPAO.
women received training and In the U.S. the MIGPAO inves- Fresh nopales are sold on the
technical assistance. Then an tors formed Chapulin Distribu- local market while the indus-
                                                                          trial plant processes and pack-
agricul tural
                                                                                            ages      some
engineer was
                                                                                            two tons of
hired to help
                                                                                            the product
them      with
                                                                                            each month
the crops.
                                                                                            that is sold in
At the same                                                                                 Mexico.         A
time, back in                                                                               small market
California,                                                                                 has been de-
Felix     Cruz                                                                              veloped        in
had founded                                                                                 Mexico        for
Migrantes                                                                                   the mole and
por Ayoqu-                                                                                  chocolate.
ezco Oaxaca                                                                                 Through
(MIGPAO) to                                                                                 MENA,        the
explore ways                                                                                w o m e n
to help his                                                                                 growers earn
hometown.                                                                                   on     average
When       the                                                                              $400            a
Mexican                                                                                     month from
foundation                                                                                  the sale of
learned     of                                                                              their     prod-
this      new Making traditional Oaxaca tortillas on a wood fire spells comfort food in     ucts.    It     is
                Ayoquezco.                                                                  more        than
group of mi-
grants, it put                                                                              five      times
its members in touch with Ayo- tors to market food products what they were paid ($75) be-
                                  made by PANO including pre- fore they formed the coopera-
quezco’s women farmers.
                                  served organic nopales, and an tive.
The association with MIGPAO expanded product line includ-
gave the project an added di- ing mole (a traditional Mexican The bad news is the economy.
mension. Besides being a busi- sauce) and chocolate candy.                MENA, Chapulin and PANO
ness run by women, it forged                                              are all struggling to survive.
strong links with the migrant
                                  It is in Ayoquezco that APOH Under capitalized, there is no
community in the U.S. 82 mi-
                                  and our partners want to build money and no real expertise to
grants from Ayoquezco have
                                  our first rural medical program expand their markets. Working
contributed their savings to for Oaxaca.                                  with the Mexican foundation
finance the construction of a This is still a very poor commu- that has limited funds and with
processing plant in Ayoquezco. nity where many cannot af- a little help from the Mexican
The outgrowth has been the ford medical service.
                                                                               (Continued on the next page)
to the people of Ayoquezco in 2010
government, the processing meet. This means new invest- cation and fewer resources.
plant was completed in 2007. ment for packaging and stor- But they will not give up.
Capable of running 3 shifts a age equipment and money for
day, employing up to 105 transport and marketing.”               “What we dream of is our com-
workers, it falls far                                            munity of Ayoquezco, where
short of that. Fighting                                               we can offer jobs that
to hold onto current       “In our community are many pay a fair wage, a doctor
markets, it can barely     small pueblos in desperate need and medicine for all who
                                                                      are sick and suffering,
maintain one shift.        of medical service.                        and where the workers
Though their products      The APOH Medicine Wheel pro- and farmers can their              ade-
have been certified                                                   quately provide for
“organic” by the U.S.      gram will not only bring a doctor families. We share the
Department of Agri-        and medicine to these suffering dreams of many people
culture and Mexican        people, it will also provide health who want only this for
authorities, no U.S.
market has been es-        education to help the people to their families,” says Cruz.
tablished. Now they        begin to live a healthier and bet- In July of 2009, Felix
are working to get an                                                              became A
                           ter life. In this endeavor, PANO, Cruz also Health direc-
                                                                      Promise of
official “fair trade” des-
ignation which will
                           MENA, Chapulin and A Promise tor. He sees health care
help market their          of Health are all partners. We as a vital, but missing
product.                   must deliver on our promise for component, of PANO’s
                                                                      development. Working
“This is all very compli-  health care to the pueblos of with a broad coalition of
cated for us,” says        Ayoquesco early in 2010.”                  Oaxaca migrants in the
Cruz. “First we must                                                  U.S. Felix is helping
put food on our tables                                  Felix Cruz APOH to raise funds to
and pay our bills.                This entire burden falls upon       begin a basic health care
Then we must find money to the few Chapulin investors and program to serve all of Ayoqu-
develop our markets and for the women of MENA. They are ezco’s small villages and
each new product there is a ordinary people with little edu- PANO’s workers.
new requirement we must

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you more often. That way, you                       419 East Fraser Drive, Pueblo West, CO 81007
can keep up to date, receiving                                Telephone: 719-547-1995
news of our Medicine Wheel pro-
gram as it happens. Currently it is                     Executive Director — Barbara Grannell
sent out every 4 to 6 weeks.                            Newsletter Publisher — William Grannell
Enclosed in this newsletter is a       A Promise of Health is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization comprised of people from many
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