How A Circular Economy via Whatsapp Helps Women To Thrive in A Small Mexican Village
Hand in hand we work together
Facebook groups are dead. 2021 is the year of Telegram and WhatsApp groups, especially when you live and travel through Mexico. They are not only practical to meet the right people, but also creating a new economy.
Bacalar is a tiny village in the South of Mexico in Quintana Roo, approximately 4 hours away from Tulum. It hosts a magical lagoon with seven colors, and a handful of cafés and restaurants, a bike rental, stand-up paddleboard tours, a few beachwear shops, a crystal shop and that´s pretty much it.
The vibe is peaceful, the pace is slow, tourists are few.
It´s the perfect destination for holidays that are truly holidays: nothing to do, nowhere to go. Just be.
But, there is one thing that is incredibly remarkable about Bacalar and that’s its women’s community. The legend is that Bacalar once was a village that was inhabited by a tribe of women, who were later on kidnapped and brought to Isla de Mujeres close to Cancun (the women´s island).
Circular Economy Lead by Women
But even these days there is a tribe of around 250 women that don’t come together in women’s circles, but in a circular economy via a Whatsapp group. The first group I joined in Bacalar was this one, recommended to me by my Airbnb host. And seriously, I didn’t need any other group, this one provided for everything.
The Bacalar Mujeres Whatsapp is buzzing. Every day around 50 messages come in, and while that seems to be overwhelming at times, it’s often synchronistic. Sometimes I wasn’t opening the group notifications on purpose, but every time I did, I saw the exact message I needed to see.
Thinking about getting myself a bike? Someone writes they are selling theirs. Thinking about buying homemade bread, because I couldn´t find a shop in town? A woman posts about the homemade multi-grain bread that she delivers door to door. (I´m German, I need my grain bread). Thinking about getting more greens via sprouts? You bet — someone posts about their friend who is selling sprouts — door to door!
Have your turned your Notifications on?
Everything goes through the group. From kittens to apartments, to food to dance classes to music evenings, to job offers — the women are in the know. Need to fix your fridge? Ask the group. Need to receive a parcel? Ask the group. Need to have a specific food delivered at 11pm? Ask the group.
None of the items offered through the group are to be found on Facebook, nor flyers or posters in town, nor in local shops. They exist entirely inside the economic system of the Whatsapp group. It´s kind of like a neighbor-to-neighbor situation or extended word-of-mouth that works phenomenally well.
From the moment I got to Bacalar and till the day I left I found through the group:
- home-made multigrain bread delivered to my house
- a bike
- a mechanic to fix my fridge
- indigenous tobacco
- yoga classes
- womens events
- the best juice bar in town
- vegan tacos delivered to my house
- sprouts delivered to my house
- a massage therapist close to my house
- an event space to host my own events
- my first modeling gig
- a street-art agent
- homemade coconut oil
What Can We Learn From the Women of Bacalar?
Now, the group is not perfect, and sometimes I don´t wanna hear about everything everybody posts every day, because this particular group is proving that women talk a lot :).
I´m in other groups where women post way less, but in those, you won´t find the synchronistic surprises that come through Bacalar´s magical women´s group!
After all, Bacalar has been named a magical village — “Pueblo Magico” — one of 132 magical villages in all of Mexico!
Bringing it into the Cities and back to the Community
Think about it. If we would implement this type of circular economy in our direct environment, where everybody supports everybody, how much richer our lives could become! Instead of going 20 minutes to the supermarket where you support big brands, and buy food that has been traveling the globe for days, someone from your neighborhood brings what you need straight to your doorstep. You make new connections that fill the heart, source your products ethically, and know where your money goes.
The idea is revolutionary. And yet, so old. It´s going back to how things were originally when we lived in communities together. When people knew each other. And when our food came from the place we lived in.
It´s about time to implement this framework into our neighborhoods in big cities, our villages, and our communities again. Just think about how much the repercussion of a pandemic or any other (natural) disaster would be prevented then!
Food for thought. Food for the belly. Food for the heart.
Are you starting a Circular Economy Whatsapp Group in your own neighborhood?
Let me know in the comments below.
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