Architecture Professor Ronald Rael is at the forefront of another project at the southern border. This time, in partnership with the international humanitarian organization Alight, Burners Without Borders, Catholic Sisters, and filmmakers Lina Plioplyte and Kai Schoenhals, in an endeavor to transform migrant shelters along the U.S. - Mexico border.
The project, entitled A Little Piece of Home / Pedacito de la Tierra, seeks to build community and sustainable tools that support shelter residents to come together through building, cooking, education, and shared experiences, to encourage a sense of unity and improve the lives of residents who are far from the places they called home.
Rael San Fratello, Rael’s co-founded practice with Virginia San Fratello, is constructing hornos, traditional mud ovens, to foster community around food traditions and togetherness, which will be showcased in a short documentary film.
"There is a saying in the borderlands, 'while the border divides, the earth unites (la frontera divide pero la tierra une),' and traditional adobe ovens made from the earth have always brought people together through food, fire, storytelling, warmth and the experience of a community coming together to build an horno," said Rael. "Together, we built more than an horno — we built friendships and a sense of accomplishment and connection with the migrant families living there."
On February 6, the world is invited to a virtual gathering that will include engaging conversation, cooking and recipes guided by renowned Chef Charles Michael, and the premiere of the film, A Little Piece of Home, by Plioplyte and Schoenhals. Link to register for the premiere and meal and learn more about this important project at: www.pedacitodelatierra.org