Culture Magazine is proud to be a part of the artisan cheese community. This tight-knit, supportive group of individuals are a constant source of inspiration to us. During the most recent natural disasters, we were struck by the stories from those in our community coming together to help each other.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing some of these stories. This one comes from Georgina Yescas, proprietor of Lactography in Mexico City, Mexico.
On the day of the earthquake, Jessica Fernández, our senior cheesemonger, and I were out early in the morning delivering cheese. At around 1:15 pm the earthquake alarms started blaring around the city. And a few seconds later, the ground started moving.
We were near the airport, where the damage was minimal. Once the earth stopped moving, reports started coming in that buildings in the neighborhood where our office and warehouse are located were coming down. Jessica and I decided to go home. A journey that normally takes us 30 minutes took us over five hours. On our way home, we saw many of the collapsed structures and decided that the next day we would go and donate cheese to the people preparing food for the first responders.
The next morning, at 6 am, we went to pick up cheese at our warehouse. When we arrived in our office, the government had blocked access to our building and we knew we would not be allowed in soon. Still, we decided to go ahead with our plan. We headed to the warehouse and left with as much cheese as we could bring with us. After dropping the first batch of cheese at an emergency kitchen, we picked up prepared meals and other supplies and went to deliver aid to two other centers.
As we started driving back to our warehouse, it became evident that the situation was getting worse. Later that day, the landlord called to let us know that the warehouse was now off limits. It was intact, but the area was on high alert because of the possibility of other buildings in the vicinity collapsing. We decided that we had to move out supplies. We asked permission and managed to take some stuff out to the street. Besides cheese, we also distribute honey, coffee, dry beans, and other staples that could be donated.