Saturday, 14 February 2009

In Chiapas - by Rolene Walker

Rolene is now visiting Friends in Chiquimula, Guatemala, and raising funds for international scholarships. See her web journal Walk With Earth | Caminata Por La Tierra from which this is an excerpt:

Dec 2: Here I am in southern Mexico, walking through pine forests near San Cristobal de las Casas. It’s cold! I wear long underwear, turtle necks, fleece and have a fleece blanket over me just to sit and read at night. It gets down to about 50 degrees F. In San Cristobal I visited the Museum of Mayan Medicine, and went to a workshop on green building, including making one of the famous dry toilets, the ones that separate urine from excrement, and use them as fertilizer and compost, eliminating the need for sewers.
When I left Zanatepec, I had my spare tire firmly attached on a great triangle to my bumper. I went to the high school to talk to three classrooms,
and drove a small distance to Tepanatepec, the last town in Oaxaca. When I got there, the tire was gone. So I drove back and forth and couldn´t see it anywhere. The next three days in Tuxtla Gutierrez I went to the Toyota dealer, four tire places, and had two people scouring the deshuesaderos (junk yards). Nothing. The truck has dual wheels in the back, but they are very small, and there are no rims anywhere in Chiapas. So I guess I`ll have to have one sent from the US.

Walking from Tuxtla to Chiapas de Corso, my tooth starthing aching, so I caught a bus back to Tuxtla, and the driver wouldn´t charge me after I told him about the Walk. I got the name of a dentist from Antonio Lopez, and went to her just before she closed for lunch. She checked out the tooth (it`s fine) but said we would have to wait to see what was up underneath (meaning a root canal if the pain doesn’t go away). So I´m staying close to San Cristobal instead of taking off into the mountains. I will l still get to the border, but by the coast instead of inland. I told my son I could have had a toothache or lost my spare tire in San Francisco, but here I am, having an adventure too. So I´m not complaining, just kvetching a little bit.

This last month I have been given such wonderful hospitality in Oaxaca and Chiapas. I stayed with the Reyes Vera family in Juchitan, after their son in law referred me to them. I stayed at a roadside restaurant in Zanatepec with Adelma, who used to be the mayor of the town. I had left my harp in Juchitan but really didn´t want to drive back there since the winds across that isthmus are so strong I already lost one sky light. So the mayor of town who was going there for a meeting, brought me my harp!

5-minute preview of a video whose final title is No Son Invisibles: Maya Women and Microfinance, by Melissa Eidson. See also Mariano Estrada's Mujer indígena: la vida olvidada | Indigenous Woman: The Forgotten Life (2003); Chiapas Media Project; the Canadian NGO Inter Pares.

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