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Both Sides|Aid for Oaxaca, Veracruz and Beyond

  • Diario de Xalapa
  • en Cultura

Por Remedios Aguirre Sullivan

 

I can still hear the sound of the syllables OA-XA-CA. I was a little girl. My grandmother held my hand at the market, standing by the deli counter and said: “Deme un cuarto de queso Oaxaca”. The word Oaxaca came out of her mouth sounding like a different language. Rich and exotic. She was ordering a quarter kilo of Oaxaca cheese. That was my first notion of Oaxaca. Today, I know this Mexican state is a land of exquisite food, diversity and friendly people.

As I write this, people in Oaxaca and other southern Mexican states are in dire need of our help, after a devastating earthquake. Unfortunately, so too are the people of the state of Veracruz, after Hurricane/Tropical Storm Katia and weeks of rain. I moved to Veracruz as a young girl and lived there a good number of years. It is one of the places I dearly call home.

These last few days have been filled with calls to send relief to people in close and faraway places. Natural disasters of unimaginable proportions have hit our planet one right after the other. Often times, it’s easier to relate to the devastation of places we’ve visited. The places where we have friends and relatives. The places that are more like the cities and country that we know. Streets that look like the ones we’ve walked on, houses like the ones we have lived in and bridges similar to those we’ve crossed.

I’m not implying we’re not compassionate to humans in distress, when natural disasters occur on the other side of the planet. It’s just so much harder to imagine an emergency situation in a place we don’t know.

A natural disaster can be devastating anywhere it happens. It’s hard for people to get medical attention, rebuild their lives and homes, their towns and cities. How much harder is it to recover when you had very little to begin with? In developing countries, the resources and infrastructure to help survivors are commonly sparse.

This is my call for us to help the survivors of disasters at home and elsewhere.

Now, let me tell you more about that Oaxaca cheese. When my family moved from Mexico City to the state of Veracruz, I discovered there was another name for that creamy, stringy cheese- Queso de hebra (string cheese). Funny to find when I moved to Wisconsin, string cheese is a delicacy here! Oh, and by the way, in Oaxaca, this type of cheese goes by the name of “Quesillo”.

We have more in common than we think. And I don’t mean our love of cheese. Open your heart to helping others in faraway places. A quick online search will put before you a variety of fundraisers and also more information about amazing places and their people. Oaxaca, Veracruz and beyond!

Greetings from Dairyland.

 


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