Speaking in Tongues: New VozMaya Cards Raise Funds for Modern Descendants of an Ancient Culture

Beautifully designed large-format cards combine entertainment, culture and history while supporting Mexico’s indigenous communities

Bend, OR (January 1, 2012) – Decorated with beautiful reproductions of Mayan words by renowned artist John Hillmer, the VozMaya cards combine works of art on one side with a bite-sized lesson in Maya, Spanish, and the English translation on the other. Used to play the lotería, or Mexican bingo game, they open a window into an ancient culture while becoming a colorful new addition to the usual parlor games—it’s edutainment at its best!   “The ‘Year of the Maya’ has introduced the world at large to many fascinating aspects of this ancient civilization,” says creator Jane Custer, longtime Mexicophile and current e-learning Editorial Manager for Mexico and Latin America at travAllianceMedia. “Many people might not be aware, though, that the Maya are still very much alive and very much a part of the vibrant cultural tapestry of Mexico.”

Rich in history, many of these indigenous communities are quite poor by today’s standards. Besides the wonderful entertainment aspect of VozMaya, Custer’s intent is to give these communities a voz, a voice, and assist them in supporting themselves and continuing to enrich the modern world. After covering overhead costs, 50% of the profits from VozMaya go directly to the native people of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Custer’s interest in Mexico’s Mayan culture dates back to 2006, when she was invited to join the World Heritage Alliance, a project combining the resources of the United Nations Foundation in Washington DC, and Expedia in Seattle, to promote travel to UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This project had the larger goal of supporting the communities (mostly indigenous in Mexico’s case) that surround these awesome cultural and natural sites. They launched their efforts in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, home to 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Sadly the organization dissolved, but Custer’s desire to assist the Maya communities did not.  “There are many things that you can bring home following a trip to the Yucatan: tequila, t-shirts and Mexican handcrafts, just to name a few,” she says. “As a gift for yourself or for others, VozMaya is unique in that it offers entertainment as it educates you in the rich Mayan culture and history, hopefully sparking a curiosity to learn even more. Plus, thanks to the whimsical designs of John Hillmer, they truly are a work of art.”

The cultural value of VozMaya cards has been recognized by several prestigious museums including the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Museum; Mexico City’s Museo Nacional de Antropología; Long Beach, California’s Museum of Latin American Art; and the Denver Art Museum, where they are on sale in their carefully curated gift shops. You may also purchase them online at www.vozmaya.com For more details and information, please contact Jane Custer at jcuster@vozmaya.com