Friday, May 19, 2017

Yema-Yá - The goddess of the ocean & nature

On May 18th, we visited Yema-Yá in Chelem. This social not-for-profit organization was started by local Mayan women to preserve their culture through empowerment of women. They also have school tours visit their facility for education about the environment. Like everywhere else, the Mayan culture is challenged by modern progress and the knowledge about local plants and their medicinal value is one of the areas these women are trying to pass on to the next generation.

Yemayá hosted its first workshop on medicinal plants and Herman and I attended. There were quite a few other Canadian expats who live in and around Chelem and it was really nice to talk to them and hear some of their experiences. I was reminded again that Canadians seem to always be involved in good causes. Go Canada!

We were intrigued by the many herbal remedies that can be found in nature, aloe for weight loss, skin and hair, basil for eye health, mint water to rejuvenate, moringa leaves which are high in Vitamin C, A, Calcium, Potassium, Iron and Protein can be used in salad, in tea and is beneficial for stress, digestion as an antioxidant, etc. Many more plants were discussed which benefits digestion, can be used to heal wounds and so on. Jenna and Dimitri helped with the translation. I will receive an electronic copy of their medicinal plan guide and then I will plant some of these plants in my own garden.

Jenna and Dimitri are two young American teachers who have spent the last year in Chelem to help this initiative get on its feet and they are going home next week. It is now up to these women to keep the project going. If they are successful, it will not just potentially ensure new funding but it will also be a big win for the Mayan culture and these women can be proud that they are part of such an amazing initiative.

During the summer they will have a market every Monday from 9 - 11 where you can buy their fresh produce, including eggs from the chickens they keep on the back. They also sell herbs, spices and tea.

goats in a pen
Some of the goats in their pen.

Workshop presenters and attendees.
The ladies from Yema-Yá sharing their knowledge at the workshop.

workshop presenters
Some of the women who help run Yema-Yá.