One of the renovated homes in Tzintzuntzan. One of the renovated homes in Tzintzuntzan.

International project renovates homes

143 traditional houses have been repaired in the Route of Don Vasco region of Michoacán

Nineteen low-income families in Michoacán got their houses back today after they were renovated through a joint project between Mexico and Spain.

“It’s a miracle — my house was in the worst condition and they left it like new,” Felipe Cornelio told the news agency EFE. “ It makes you happy to be alive.”

Cornelio was one of 148 beneficiaries of the most recent phase of a renovation program that began in 2007 with several objectives: improve the urban image of the town of Tzintzuntzan, renew traditional local architecture, create jobs, boost tourism and improve the quality of life for marginalized families.

The 19 homes were renovated at a cost of 5.1 million pesos, or US $339,000, in a project that has completed 143 renovations in Santa Fe de la Laguna and Erongaricuaro as well as Tzintzuntzan since its inception.

The area is not only what was the center of the 14th-century Purépecha (or Tarascan) civilization, but the heart of the Route of Don Vasco de Quiroga, the Spaniard who brought peace to the area’s indigenous people in the 16th century after they had been abused by earlier Spanish colonizers.

Among his many legacies are the artisanal towns that have their own particular product, a result of Don Vasco’s efforts to encourage them to specialize rather than duplicate and compete with each other.

The home renovation program is focused on restoring the traditional homes found on the Route of Don Vasco. Another 62 houses are slated to be repaired during the coming year.

Funding sources for the program are the international development agencies of the Mexican and Spanish governments, the state of Michoacán and the government of Andalusia, Spain.

Source: Cambio de Michoacán (sp)

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