Q&A with Enoc Ramírez (Global Innovator from Oaxaca Mexico)

WRITTEN BY Ta Corrales & Enoc Ramírez

The three most important tools I work with... my imagination, pencil and paper, and all types of manual and electric tools.

When I'm not working, I enjoy... I really enjoy photography, fish farming, and taking care of plants.

The biggest misconception that people seem to have about my country... is that we’re lazy and ignorant, but that’s not true. We Mexicans work hard and can learn fast. In our communities, we’ve had to learn to adapt to very hard conditions to survive.

I define innovation as... the ability to create or improve something that can facilitate our work, our processes, and our lives.

I dream of learning... Truly something I really love is motorcycles. I would love to learn how to put together and take apart a motorcycle. Taking apart a motor for example, and everything related to that.

I most enjoyed studying... photography. I learned photography before digital cameras existed with a 35mm camera. What I really liked is the sensitivity of the film and the light, things that now you don’t see with digital cameras. I loved the suspense. You compose, calculate the aperture, and then take the photo, and even though you have an idea of what’s happening, you don’t know what the photo will end up looking like. It’s super interesting to do the developing and see what results from the camera. Sometimes the best photos come from the errors.

The last thing I learned that blew my mind... was when I attended a metallurgy workshop at an MIT D-Lab facilitators’ training in Brazil. We melted aluminum, and made figures with that aluminum. That really blew me away.

My favorite form of art is... paintings. I love the different ways of using light, shadows, and colors. Similar to photography, you have grayscale and others. I truly love that, and I love art in general really.

The living person I most admire... is my grandfather, because my grandfather was an inventor. He was the first one in the community to think of plowing the soil with a donkey. He designed a plow that was more compact and more efficient. Now, when you visit the Etla region of the central valleys, most people use a donkey for plowing. He was the pioneer of this.

Three innovators I admire the most right now... from the ones I know, the ones I admire the most are Oda Scatolini, Tempei Borba, and Ta Corrales. And, of course, my grandfather.

A person who changed my life... The people who really changed my life were my two children Isaí and Jeny. Children come to change your life. When you’re single, you work towards economic ambitions or other ambitions. But when you have children, all of your goals and dreams are for your kids. My children gave meaning to my life, because now that I have them, all of my efforts make sense.

I earned my first “dollar”... carrying water to the neighbors from a well that was about 200 meters away from their home.

To be most productive, I need my work environment... to be tidy and clean — and music can’t be missing, the music is very important. My favorite type of music is cumbia. I really love cumbia. I also like South American music from the Andes that has flutes in it.

The quality I most appreciate in my colleagues... is the simplicity and the availability to help us when things sometimes get complicated and become a little difficult. I think it’s a quality that I’ve experienced most from colleagues that I know.

The most valuable advice I've ever been given... an American gave it to me, and it’s that whenever you can buy tools, you should buy them.

If I could change one thing about myself, it would be... my health. What can help you achieve everything you do is your health. Since I was kid, even though I was generally healthy, I had hypoglycemia. A year and a half ago, I started having hyperglycemia too and now everything in my life has changed. I have to be very careful with what I eat to not have my blood sugar go crazy high.

I wish someone would invent... well, a time machine. I would like to see landscapes that don’t exist anymore, animals that are extinct, what communities used to be like, how the native people used to live, the plants, and the animals.

The food I absolutely love... pork ribs in red sauce. I really like them a lot. For my birthday, my wife prepares pork ribs for me.

The superhero power I’d most like to have... is flying. Being able to fly is the most incredible thing a superhero could aspire for.

My favorite machine or invention... is definitely the electric welder. My inverter welder is the thing I appreciate the most.

The pandemic mitigation efforts in my region have impacted and/or inspired my work by... I think that the pandemic impacted us, and at the same time it gave my wife and I an opportunity. Because, at the beginning of the pandemic, we didn’t have an income-generating activity and then we started making facemasks and selling them at an affordable price, and that brought the satisfaction of being able to provide for our family during these times.

Want to learn more about our global innovator Enoc? Check out the Introduction to Enoc Ramírez, 6 Things that Make Santiago Suchilquitongo Unique, and The Seasonal Fungi of Suchil!

With this post, we’d also like to commemorate the life of Mr. Josue Ramos Santos, Enoc's beloved grandfather, who just passed away after contracting COVID. Our condolences are with Enoc and his family at this challenging time.

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