Employment and Income  
livelihood strategies  

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Tiltepec, Oaxaca


8 September 1999


Emigdio is 19 and recently married. He and his wife live with his mother and brothers and he works growing beans and corn and picking coffee. The interview covers several topics including some festivals and traditions, hunting, and his experiences of living in Oaxaca city. Emigdio’s answers are often brief, however, and this is not one of the most informative or detailed interviews.

Although Emigdio feels that there is more money in the community than there was, it is clear that as a young person he is concerned about the future. In particular he worries about the price of coffee going down. Nevertheless, migration for work does not attract him. He is adamant that he prefers life in the community to living in Oaxaca city: “Here I eat when I’m hungry… In the city, if you work you earn your food; but if you don’t work, well, you don’t eat; you don’t have money to buy food.” He also explains that the land in the community is good and attributes the inflow of people from elsewhere into Tiltepec to this: “[The land] produces; maybe that’s why they want to stay.”

Much of the interview focuses on Emigdio’s recreation time: he plays in the village basketball team, and describes the festivals he attends – both in his own community and in others. He explains that there is no longer traditional dancing at the festivals as “there aren’t young people who want to take part and there’s no teacher to teach the dances”. He enjoys hunting and exploring new places, and describes the animals he has hunted and eaten.

detailed breakdown

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Section 1-3  Works growing beans and corn, picking coffee. Thinks there is more money than there used to be. Less corn is now planted. There is no longer the CONASUPO (government shops). School: his teachers were from other places. He finished primary school – he went to Yagila for fifth and sixth grade. Worries for the future – price of coffee going down He plays basketball – sometimes they play in other communities.
Section 3-5  Festivals: traditional dances, food – “one has to visit people and they give you food… they give us mezcal, chingre, tepache (traditional Oaxacan alcoholic drinks)”. Each village has its own traditions. They don’t have any traditional dancing in the community. Costumes worn for traditional dances. Describes the story behind Guanchinene dance.
Section 5-6  Likes to hunt and explore new places. The different animals he hunts – he doesn’t like eating coati (raccoon-like mammal; Nasua narica) Birds – some people have eaten eagle but he doesn’t like to: “I’ve seen them but I don’t even kill them because why would I kill one if I’m not going to eat it?” Time spent living in Oaxaca: “I didn’t like the city because...nothing that one eats there fills you up”; without work, you don’t eat. He was working with a master bricklayer.
Section 6-8  His wife is from Tiltepec. Some people marry women from elsewhere – many people come to Tiltepec from elsewhere: “I think that they like it because of the village, because everything grows on this land, what you plant grows, right?” The difference between the village and places beyond the border: different crops grow, there are different types of animal. Animals that he has seen.