La Mujer Obrera brings Oaxaca to El Paso
By Victoria Molinar
Not everyone has the means to visit Oaxaca, Mexico, also known as the “Land of Seven Moles”—of course “mole” being the cherished sauce that in El Paso often consists of chocolate and is drizzled over chicken. That’s why the organization La Mujer Obrera is bringing a bit of Oaxaca to restaurant Café Mayapan during the Mole Festival on Saturday, July 20, from 6-10 p.m.
Only in this case, attendees won’t only be presented with one, but five different types of mole, including negro, rojo, coloradito, verde and the vegetarian mancha manteles.
“Mancha manteles, which literally translates to “table cloth stainer,” is a sort of spicy fruit sauce made with apple and banana slices,” said Blanca Castro, who helped put the “Mole Festival” together. “Instead of being served over meat, it is served over white rice with warm corn tortillas.”
Another unique item on the menu will be the tacos de chapulines—yes, cricket tacos.
“We’ve had people come in and ask about [the cricket tacos] and now we finally get to serve them,” said Athena Matyear, community outreach coordinator at Centro Mayapan, who also helped with the event. “Some people love them and other people see it as a challenge, daring each other to eat them, but most people are surprised to find that they taste good.”
While food will be a major cultural representation of Oaxaca, it won’t be the only one. Other highlights of the night will be the art and entertainment. Fair trade artistry from various parts of Mexico will be sold at Lum Metik, located right behind Café Mayapan. Oaxacan art will include traditional black clay pottery, clothing and alebrijes (those colorful folk art sculptures, usually of various animals and mythical creatures).
Oaxacan dance group, Huaxyacac (the original name given to what is now known as Oaxaca) will perform traditional dances of Guelaguetza, the state’s biggest festival held throughout July. The well-known local band Ceiba will also play pre-Hispanic Latin American music at the event.
Matyear said bout 4,000 people attended last year’s Mole Festival, which La Mujer Obrera started in 2005. The organization empowers women along the border by providing workshops and classes on citizenship, computer and Internet usage and earning a GED.
They also offer various cultural events to the public; prior to the mole festival, the group brough artisan women from Oaxaca to conduct workshops on their different types of traditional dances, music, artistry and cuisine. Putting a spotlight on various cultures throughout Mexico has been a main goal of La Mujer Obrera and Café Mayapan.
Last week, they launched their third season of their farmer’s market. Every Saturday from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. local farmers will sell their freshly picked produce. Breakfast will be served until 11 a.m. The restaurant is also open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
For more information about Café Mayapan and La Mujer Obrera, call 915-217-1126 or visit MujerObrera.org and facebook.com/MujerObrera.