Monterrey Tech University visits Los Divorciados, Quintana Roo

Los Divorciados is a small Mayan community nestled in the young state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatan Peninsula, located within easy reach of the tourist centres of the Riviera Maya. 

Although Mayans have inhabited the region of the Yucatan for nearly 2,000 years, this community wasn’t formed until the mid 60’s, primarily as a chiclero (gum harvesting) settlement. With minimal resources, the activity generated wealth and began to attract a diverse group of traders and their families who came to the camp from the neighbouring state of Yucatan.

After a few years a permanent community was proposed and accepted by the state government, providing them with 12,000 hectares of land and confirming the original settlers as the rightful owners of the land they inhabit. Los Divorciados was formed.

UNIVERSITY STUDENT SUPPORT

In October, the SEED Mexico team led a group of students from Monterrey Tech University to work on various community development projects in Los Divorciados related to child education, sustainable furniture using local precious woods, youth outreach services, support for pineapple farming and its derivative products.

This experience created a bond between the students and the community, opening up future possibilities for continuous collaboration. At the completion of the field work, the students organized to begin fund raising for at least one of the projects they worked on during their stay.

THE NEW ZEALAND CONNECTION

On the basis of the successful work undertaken by the Monterrey Tech students, SEED has begun to form a partnership between them and Hikurangi Enterprises Limited to research the reestablishment of traditional production of chicle (gum) as an ingredient in one of their commercial projects. This could lead to the development of a multicultural product spanning indigenous communities in New Zealand and the Pacific, and back to the Yucatan region in Mexico.

THE FUTURE FOR SEED

Currently SEED Mexico and SEED New Zealand are working on a model that incorporates students in not only the delivery of the SEED programme, but also in employing their skills and knowledge to provide technical support on specific projects. There is interest in this approach from a number of universities in Mexico, New Zealand, and the United States of America.

Watch this space!