Postcard from Oaxaca/Mexiko – Jorge
Hallo Sammatz Family!!!
This letter is to deeply thank what your project has done to me (and I’m sure you didn’t expected it!!)
Well, everything started when I finished university in 2010, I had no pending things to do at my lovely city in the south of Mexico, Oaxaca (don’t miss the chance to visit me there), so I started to travel, first slowly, moving to another cities working as bartender, and then backpacking in a more adventurous way, from southern California to Nicaragua, visiting all I could in my country…
And then I jumped to Europe, where I travelled all around in 2013 and 2014, knowing all the places I saw only in pictures, and even more!!
Full of world and adventures, I spent 2015 back in Mexico, trying to settle down but totally unmotivated for the low salaries and situations I experienced.
And in 2016 I started working in Cruise ships as bartender, which sounds like a great job, and it is; because you get really good salary, tips and commisions. You also have the chance to shortly visit the ports and work with people from all over the world.But in the other hand, you have to work everyday, yes EVERYDAY, 10 to 14 hours per day, during 6 to 8 months, go 2 months back home, and come back for another similar working dose… That keeps you away from home and friends, and you kind of lose contact with the real world.
I wanted something different, my savings were invested in land; at least that way I won’t waste the fruits of my hard work all those years. But I still didn’t have a plan to go away of the ships and survive, and I couldn’t think of something, all that work without rest had my brain drained, unproductive.
And in a nice, chilly February in the (so popular and life-changing) 2020, I visited Sammatz, worked few hours making cheese, sanding benches with the construction team, feeding the lambs and calves, and making trenches for the drainage for the new housing projects. All the time having fun and conversations full of meaning for my life.
At this point you might be asking… Doing that, what Sammatz did to me???
Well, the place is full of creative energy, relaxing colors in and out, nice friendly and collaborative people, thosr factors immediatly activated my brain, and communicating with Laura, a friend from Mexico whom I met in the Ships, we created a Youtube channel for all the spanish speaking guys who want to work in a cruise ship ( www.youtube.com/c/ShiplifeLatino), and I started to realize that, to get out of the ships and be succesfull, I needed to use my brain.
Then I flew from Germany to Mexico 1 day before the world went to lockdown, and as many people, I expected the pandemic to be short, but it wasn’t. So I spent, for the first time in ten years, more than 2 weeks with my family. I visited the land I bought and found out that it is perfect to grow the agave we use to make syrups, flour, get fiber and distill mezcal (a kind of handmade Tequila, in case you’ve never heard of it). And I planted them, 4000 plants and around 60 trees. It took me couple of months working there, preparing the land, planting the agaves, composting them and cleaning the grass out of them, and I loved it!! I also noticed how limited is the workforce, since my region is poor and most people from the villages migrate to the United States in order to find a better life.
And then I remembered the good times in Sammatz, with volunteers from all over the world, collaborating in the gardens and making that place amazing as it is. And I decided to do something similar, I wrote the project because I had no money to start anything, and I came back to the ships for only 2 contracts, now I’m about to buy a truck, get some tools, and start farming agaves and helping the neighbors who can’t find manpower to care and preserve such amazing plant as agave. Also, in the future we will also work in favor of hummingbirds, bats and bees, important polinizers of the plant.
Thanks a lot Sammatz family and project, just by hosting me few weeks, you have changed my life, making my brain creative and finding a way to do what I love and my community need.
Lets keep in touch via Instagram @el_viajero_mezcalero, so we can exchange travel stories and I can always welcome everyone in my agave farm 😊