Due to the problems of the earthquakes that took place in September 2017, we looked to implement an activity that would generate an economic resource for the inhabitants of the affected region of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, Mexico.
We investigated a biological resource of the region that could be used in a sustainable manner and found a tree called soapberry, which in simpler times was used as soap for hair and clothes, without having to use other chemical products. It also had medicinal use, as an antiseptic, to prevent hair loss, make crafts and insecticides.
It was often found in the streets, vacant lots, near rivers or at a neighbor's house; today, its use has gone down due to the existence of commercial soaps and detergents and the uncontrolled felling of trees, leaving very few trees behind. Additionally, there is little interest among new generations to learn the customs and traditions of their grandparents.
The Isthmus of Tehuantepec region has a strong impact due to the advance of urban sprawl and agricultural activities, causing vegetation to suffer radical impacts. This is why the reforestation of the Sapindus saponaria (soapberry) species is proposed, first collecting seed for germination in a nursery, and then propagating it in the selected production area, since the population of Cd. Ixtepec, Oaxaca, has easy water access, improving the possibility of success in reforestation.
Parallel workshops will be held for the production of craft and antiseptic soaps, shampoo for hair loss, insecticides and crafts. With this project, the selected area will benefit from reforestation, with an improvement in the quality of air and soil. The people affected by the earthquake will have employment and income options, which will also improve the local economy. The ancestral local knowledge will be conserved through the reinsertion of the artisan manufacture of the aforementioned products. This project is contemplated for different communities affected by earthquakes, making it possible to create a production chain that supplies regional and national markets in the medium term.