Bringing books to rural Mexico
It seems like everything in Mexico is less expensive than it is in the USA. But not books. A book that costs $25 here would cost roughly $40 in Mexico, which can be two weeks’ pay to someone living in rural Oaxaca. As a result, books are hard to come by in these communities. But without books, children can’t develop into literate adults.
This is the problem that was presented to our founder, Lou Bank, back in 2011 by Eduardo Angeles. And it’s what led to the eventual formation of SACRED.
The people who make heirloom agave spirits tend to be incredibly long-sighted. They use antiquated, inefficient fermentation and distillation systems — and the results they achieve are unlike anything else on earth. While the rest of the world was turning to technology to expedite the process of making spirits, these families continued to develop their five senses as the primary tools to make these spirits. They didn’t ask how they could make the spirits more efficiently; they asked how they could achieve a better result. Our belief is that the children growing up in these families have developed a multi-generational wisdom that can benefit the human race.
We believe that unique perspective can help solve some of the challenges we face: climate change, water insecurity, food insecurity. But absent the ability to communicate their ideas, and the confidence to believe in their ideas, those solutions will never be heard by the larger world.
So we're putting money into building libraries. The first of these libraries was Biblioteca el Rosario in Santa Catarina Minas.
Lou was asked to fundraise for the library, Biblioteca el Rosario. This initially was done on an informal basis. Much of the money went directly to the PayPal account of one of the organizers — Jacobo Marquez of Sabra Dios. But not everyone embraces PayPal, so Lou found himself receiving cash, which he’d carry down and hand off to the organizers. And as fundraising became bigger, contributors started asking if they could write checks. But a check written in the USA cannot be cashed in Mexico.
SACRED was formed as a 501c3 as a solution to the problem. Funds could be contributed via check, and then wired to the account for the library. In fact, the first official grant from SACRED after establishing itself as a 501c3 and setting up a bank account was a US$3,000 wire to Biblioteca el Rosario — which also completed our commitment to the project.
Since that May 2017 grant, we’ve not made any additional contributions toward the building of libraries. Our focus has been on the agave-growing program at the middle school in Zaachila and earthquake relief. Though in the time since, we have brought a modest number of books to a library in Zaachila, Oaxaca, and hundreds of books to Santa Maria Ixcatlan, in anticipation of eventually building a library in that community. If you want to be a part of that program, make a donation, earmark the gift for libraries, and we’ll be closer to realizing that vision.