Fr. Arturo Estrada Acosta, S.J., a Jesuit priest who works with indigenous Tseltal-Mayan people in the south of Mexico, will be visiting STM from October 31 through November 10.  Fr. Arturo directs the Jesuit mission of Bachajon.  That mission has served the Tseltal-Maya community for more than 40 years, helping them to organize, to provide for their own security, and to form a coffee-producing cooperative that allows them to become independent and self-sufficient.  Fr. Arturo will preach at Masses the weekend of November 2-3 and will meet with our students and adult groups throughout the following week.  Please make a point of greeting him.  For more about the cooperative and the Jesuit mission at Bachajon, see:  Mission of Bachajon Website, and  American Magazine.


The Tseltal-Maya community is one of the First Nations of the region (the northern jungles of Chiapas, Mexico). It is an agriculturally based community that grows corn and beans for food and coffee as a trade and cash crop. Twenty years ago, after generations of modern slavery, extreme poverty, forced migration, and generational debt that was dismantling the community, the Tseltal coffee producers created a cooperative and reached out to the Jesuit Mission of Bachajón to collaborate on a solution. At that time, the Jesuits had lived with and accompanied the indigenous community for forty years and had relationship of trust and friendship. Together, they began to look for an economic solution to the exploitation of the global coffee industry that was keeping the community in poverty. Over the last twenty years, the collaboration of the Tseltal community and the Jesuits has developed into a sustainable organic coffee cooperative and solidarity economy comprised of social enterprises that produce artisanal coffee from field to cup, diversification of capital for economic security and food sovereignty, and other sustainable projects that serve to provide ‘good life’ and the transmission of the Tseltal culture and language to future generations.

The Mission of Bachajon serves 622 communities with over 200,000 habitants, stretched out over 3,500km2. The empowerment and agency of the people is critical to the sustainability of the projects and continued development of their path to autonomy. This path to autonomy and full agency is a long and difficult path that has been fraught with challenges, many of which prove dangerous to those who stand and fight, but the resilience and dedication of the indigenous community is unwavering. The vision of the Mission of Bachajon is that the Tseltal people achieve the political, economic and cultural autonomy they need to have a dignified, multicultural and peaceful life, in accordance with the Good News announced by Jesus.

Resources:

The Mission of Bachajon Website is: www.mb.org.mx

(if you open in Chrome, it offers a translation into English)

 

The OneHome Collective Website it: www.onehomecollective.org

 

Articles about the community:

Capeltic Coffee Collaborative: Turning Coffee into Hope

What’s in your cup of coffee?