Cecilia Sanchez Garduno, National coordinator of Ramon Nativa (formerly known as Brosimum Conservacion y Cultura).
I am an Ecologist. I have worked with Maya Nut (Capomo) since 1997, when I chose this species for my PhD. Since then I have been a passionate advocate of the benefits of Maya Nut for the forests and for the people.
What do you enjoy most about working with Between Friends Roasting?
As we gather with rural women to learn and exchange experiences about Maya Nut (Capomo) through cooking, all that sharing, experimenting and knowing more of Maya Nut makes us a family. When foreign people get hands-on with the cooking or other Maya Nut activities in the field, it is a joy to see how rural women express their welcome by teaching them how to cook a tortilla, or a cooking or planting trick, and by asking if they enjoyed their Maya Nut experience, all with good doses of humorous laughter and teasing, especially when teaching them how to use the “metate” or “molcajete” (stone mortars) or other traditional activities. But then, once in a blue moon they meet persons like Carly and Hus who inadvertently pass from guests to having a special role in this Maya Nut family. Because when Carly and Hus lend a hand, women find a connection with someone who believes in their dreams and aspirations with Maya Nut… and acts upon it! When I get to witness this, it gives me faith.
What impact is your organization making?
We recover the traditional knowledge of Maya Nut as a nutritious food for communities that have this precious forest resource. We teach and share about Maya Nut potential and then step back and observe whatever rural women want to do with these insights and support them in their empowerment, whether they innovate with recipes of Maya Nut to feed their families, or use it for their domestic animals, or sell Maya Nut, or restore their forests, or share their knowledge by becoming trainers, etc. Each of these processes is a path that we walk together, because it is as different and unique as the cultures in Mexico. Totonac, Nahua, Maya and many other groups are owners of Maya Nut forests and there are many communities in Mexico still to be reached…