inauguration of honey center, santa elena

women preparing for the tacos

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The members of the Lol-Balche honey cooperative in Santa Elena, Yucatan inaugurated their new factory/workshop this week. In March, UF students and faculty visited the cooperative to work with them on their identity and honey labels. The cooperative is planning to export their product to the US and Europe. Here are a few photos from my visit this week. These include photos of the city, the post-slaughter preparation of the bull for tacos de res, the festivities that day (including ribbon cutting), and the inauguration “swag” – samples of their honey with some of our preliminary labels. We also see the “trashed’ wixárika calendar laying at the bottom of the beer cooler. That was indeed disappointing. For those of you who know it, it’s the blue calendar. So much for gift giving. The honey bottles were, however, grabbed up in seconds. It was also my first time to see a dead bull being prepared, eating mondongo, and wondering how culturally appropriate it was to move to the men’s area. Apparently, it’s no big deal. Just that people prefer to congregate with their friends and they happen to be, mostly, of the same sex. The members of the cooperative dug a pit to cook the toro, which is called a “pib”, and so it cooks underground. Doña Rosa, my compañero Concepción Tec’s sister, insisted on finding me a terno (fancy mestizo embroidered dress) to wear. She thought I would look so pretty in it and it would be appropriate. I guess that’s nice because I always feel strange at the thought of wearing one because I am neither Maya or Mestiza and thus feel like a pretender. However, if she tells me it’s ok then it seems somehow a seal of approval. That I am not a fake. In the end, I wore my western clothing because it was so hot – at least 100 degrees and 100% humidity. It just didn’t seem right putting on a pretty dress.