Dear family and friends,
As many of you may know, I spent the past month living in Ixil--a Maya village in Yucatan, Mexico--before returning home prematurely due to COVID-19's rapid spread.
While I was in Ixil, I volunteered with the non-profit Proyecto Itzaes based in Yucatan, Mexico. Proyecto Itzaes provides educational resources to Maya communities to help them participate in Mexico's changing economy.
Proyecto Itzaes is directed by Cindy Wilber, the former Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve Coordinator at Stanford University. You can read more about the organization here: www.proyectoitzaesusaonline.org.
While I went to Ixil excited to volunteer at this incredible organization, what I didn't anticipate was the generosity and warmth of the friends I made there. People I had just met would invite me on runs (pretty tough in the often 100 degree heat), to birthday parties (definitely easier than the runs), and to tortillar (an actual verb for making tortillas) with them. Truly, this community embodied loving the stranger as thyself.
But since COVID-19 hit, almost everyone in Ixil has lost their jobs. And prior to the pandemic, few were paid enough to save money, so no income means no food on the table. My friends in Yucatan, who work as gardeners, housecleaners, or as small shareholder farmers, cannot collect any form of unemployment support. The Ixil community has no way to mitigate the devastating effects of Coronavirus.
Ixil's tremendous generosity will stay in my heart forever. While I can never repay the people there for their incredible warmth, hospitality, and friendship, I hope I can make a small but worthy dent in the economic burden this community is facing.
Proyecto Itzaes has already begun providing relief services like bringing food to families, but the organization simply does not have enough money to sustain these activities, which means that already poor families in Ixil are paying out of pocket to feed their neighbors. This is not sustainable.
We could have a tremendous impact by donating even a small amount of money. The strength of the dollar and the low prices of food in Ixil means our donations would have around 4 times the impact in Ixil.
If you would consider donating to our campaign, the money will go directly to Proyecto Itzaes, which would then redistribute funding to Ixil's most vulnerable families. Your donation would be tax deductible. And of course, if you're not in a position to donate, I would be so grateful if you would consider sharing this post.
So gratefully, and sending love during this tough time,