photo of Mexican man the sierra norte
Mexico glossary









IxtlŠn, Oaxaca


23 and 24 May 1999



The narrator is short and looks tired for her age, her hair is turning grey at the roots, but she still walks with a firm step. Her dress is humble. During the conversation she played a little with some keys and from time to time did a little embroidery. There were moments when she talked with force and then she became a little sad.

Section 1
Are you originally from here?
Iím from here.

You have some of the history of IxtlŠn.
Well, what comes to mind right now it that they say that the first villagers were in a place called San Pedro Laadu but then they decided to change place. However, thereís one version that says that some of them went to San Pedro Yaneri and thatís why there are also IxtlŠn descendants there, others stayed here. But the other version says that before they arrived here they were in the mountain for 40 days.

And where is this mountain?
Itís on this hill.

And about the legends of this village?
Well, the only one that I can half remember is the one about when the warriors lost, that is [the mythological Zapotec warriors in the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca] Jupa and Cuachirindo. Supposedly when the wife of Cuachirindo found out that her husband had died she began to cry but [she was] screaming, right? And she began to run through all the mountains. Her maids went to look but couldnít find her and thatís why they think that itís possible that because of so much love that she felt for her husband that [her] body and soul went looking for him.

Who told you or how were you told all this?
Well, they acted out this story in a play, but that was the version, because they used to say that all the areas had owners, that there wasnít any place that somebody didnít have as property, right? And thatís why they thought and even said the ďOwner of the mountainsĒ (Zapotec deity) - this stayed in the minds of everyone because many people used to say it. For example, some people say that at the place that they call the pool of the catrin (ďdandyĒ; used here to mean apparitions of the devil dressed in elegant clothes) they have seen a catrin upon a horse but that it was just a instantaneous vision. Well, thatís how the idea stuck that every place has a owner. Well, itís a little difficult to prove or disprove that this is true because there are also other stories that there were places where children were seen. For example, the people that go into the forest used to see children playing and running around, hanging from the trees, but when they got to the place they couldnít see anything.
Section 2
And they never knew what it was.
They never knew. Well, they used to say that they were elves but, well, itís the same situation, isnít it? No one can confirm that they really do exist but many people swear that they saw them in specific places, they saw them running and playing. Children went after them most of all and they often tricked them with games. Not so long ago a boy said that he went over to that place thatís called La InstancŪa Ė as they do to gather lilies from the country - and he says that he saw some children that called to him and followed him, and he followed them. And then, well, who knows when, the boy invoked God through some prayer or his innocence and that was when he realised that he was in the middle of some thickets and all cut and scratched, and he became scared. They say that they took him to the Health Centre but the doctor didnít do anything to him but said to bring a priest. But they are stories that no one can...

[know] if they were true or not?
Yes, figure it out, because the same happened to the drunkards too, with what they call the Matlacihua (Zapotec supernatural being, a woman who leads men astray and brings them misfortune). The drunkards said that they couldnít stay up late because then she took them off, mostly to places where there are streams and they say that she took their clothes off and hung them from high trees - because this also happened to the uncles, right?

And why did she take them to the streams?
Who knows, who knows what the spiritís intention was. Many said that she appeared as a bride, a woman dressed in white, but she just [said] bad things to them, she was going to drop them down a well or a ravine and there they all remained in a stupor. They got drunk and the wind took them and put them into these difficult places, until their families searched for them and found them. They too were all cut and scratched and their clothes were hanging up above. Only God could be like the wind - could be a spirit. Others also say that it takes them and traps them between the prickly pear cactus, between the spines of these tall cacti. Well, these are things that the people say.

And now, what was your childhood like?
Well, my childhood had good moments and difficult moments too.

Good because...
Good because in the first years of primary schoolÖ well, we started there, where the museum is. We were in those rooms for the first year and afterwards, as they were building the school here, in front of the garden we put ourselves to carrying the bricks from that place where the sawmill is. They got the bricks there and we brought them from there, all the children from the primary school. The ones that could manage it carried two and we little ones couldnít manage more than one, but we all brought our bricks so that the school would be built. The same happened with the sand. We went to where the sand had been left with our buckets to carry sand.

Until you finished.
Until we finished and then the teachers knew, at a pre-determined hour they took us out of school to go and carry the bricks or the buckets of sand.
Section 3
So you saw when they did it, when they opened the school.
Yes, because the second year also started then, yes.

Up to what year did you study?
Well, only up to primary school.

You finished primary school.
I finished primary school and as there wasnít a secondary school I studied for another year but just as an observer.

So you finished the sixth year of primary school and you stayed for another year?
Yes, I only went for one more year because there wasnít a secondary school. They sent me there for one more year to be able to improve a little bit more.


And was it of a lot of use to you?
Yes, because the teachers taught well in those days.

And did they teach you Zapoteco then?
There were teachers that spoke Zapoteco, but they hardly taught it any more.

You said it was good, why was your childhood good?
Because everything was... there was a vegetable garden where the teachers taught us how to plant onion, radish, lettuce and cabbage. They gave time to go and water the plants and put manure on them too. Well, for everything [there was time], I mean there was time was time for studying and time to dedicate oneself to the vegetables. When they were producing every group took it in turn to go and sell them and what was earned from this went towards the school. There were also apricot trees.

And did they produce?
Yes, they produced but not a lot because the trees were very close together, but they did produce something. That was all there was for us then.

And you said that there wasnít a secondary schoolÖ.
No, there wasnít a secondary school.

So you said you repeated a year and then the difficult times, letís say, began.
Well, during primary school it was difficult because the hours were from 9 to 12:30 and they only gave us from 12:30 to 3:00 off because we had to go back to school at 3 and we finished at 5:30. I mean they gave us very little [time] to do things and those of us that were interested in studying had to rush to help in the house during this time to be able to return to school. So we didnít have much time to waste because the teachers were very strict about time and they liked to work continuously, they didnít waste time themselves.
Section 4
And [can you tell us] any story or something that you were told as a child, when you went to primary school for example?
Any I donít remember.

So, what do you think now - itís changed a lot, letís say, from your childhood to now?
Yes, because our childhood was good because they also taught us to be responsible. To be responsible with the water because there wasnít water wherever you wanted then, only from springs and in other places there were taps with spring water. So in those days, before going to school, one had to fill a pot of water so that there would be water for the day and then return to see if there still was water and if not fill it up again for the next day. So, as I said, we didnít have much time to do nothing, we had duties to carry out in the school as well as in the house. We also had to gather firewood and twigs or whatever there was, because we needed firewood in the house for making tortillas (maize-based flat bread) and food. There werenít any stoves in those days. Only people who were a little more well-off used charcoal, but the people who werenít only used firewood. Thatís why one saw children everywhere gathering firewood on Saturday and Sunday for the week, and if one could for a short while in the morning during the week too. The advantage then was that the firewood wasnít as far as it is now and nobody refused it.

So it has changed a lot.
Yes, because it is more convenient now because of the stoves. But everything is done with money now and it wasnít then because one just gathered the firewood and that was everything for the tortillas and the food.

So IxtlŠn was small too.
Small, yes, because the forest was near, but now, with time the village has grown, there have been a lot of changes. The economy is better but itís also more difficult now because you have to buy everything. You have to buy gas and the people that use charcoal have to buy that too and then, given the lack of rain, and the fact that the harvests havenít been very good. They havenít produced much where there is irrigation and the land that doesnít have irrigation doesnít produce anything - and it did before, because it rained more in this month of May [in the past]. There were at least a few big downpours and the corn plants were big.

And did you use to sow (cultivate?) or do you sow now?

You sowed before?
We sowed in the fields in the forest and the fields here, close to the village too, but that was land irrigated with agua rodada (literally, ďtravelled waterĒ, water for irrigation transported through canoitas (small irrigation channels made from reed or wood)).

What, what is agua rodada?
It was [water] brought from the mountains through wooden channels to the fields.

Everybody made their channels for the land so that they could plant land with irrigation.
Section 5
Did you help to sow or did you use a labourer?
No, we had labourers: the work was going to give them breakfast or lunch when we watered because the irrigation was day and night to make the most of the water because we only had it for a determined (set) time. Then it was some different land which that owner also wanted to water. It was good because everyone was given his time to water his land.

So you already sowed (cultivated the land) when you were a child.

How many brothers and sisters were you?
We were five, three...

Are they still alive?
Just me.

How old are you?
62 years old.

62 years old. Now tell me about the traditions, are there many traditions here?
Traditions? Well yes, there are various ones - the fiestas of the different barrios (neighbourhoods), the parish of Saint Pedro, Saint Francisco, the Assumption and the [Virgin of] Soledad. These are traditional festivals because everyone appoints their committee at a determined time. It starts working to get funds to celebrate the festival. The Assumption and Soledad ask for novenario (acts of devotion such as prayer and mass that are performed for a period of nine days).

Before the festival?
Before the festival. The day of the festival is exclusively for the celebration; the novenario is peformed before.

Has it been lost or forgotten ever?
No, because it continues, doesnít it? During a time of economic difficulty only one mass was celebrated but things changed later on and they paid it more attention again. Theyíve begun celebrating it like [they did] before, again, because as a rule thereís the misa de colocaciůn (the mass that starts a festival), the misa de funciůn (literally, the mass of the function: the one in the middle of a festival) and the misa de consumaciůn (the mass that concludes a festival). On Christmas Eve there are three masses and then vespers and matins to celebrate the feast.

And has all this been done since IxtlŠn was founded?
No, I donít think so because, well, at this time the population was growing. Because there was a time when there werenít many people. There werenít many and one imagines that they didnít celebrate these things yet. Well, I donít remember what date they began to celebrate the festival of the Patron Saint (Saint TomŠs), but the traditions of the regions have been around for a while. It was after the village was founded that these festivals were celebrated.
Section 6
Is it traditional to have godfathers?
No, this comes from the birth of Christian life because this is what calls for witnesses of this event.

What did they wear before?
Well, they wore long trousers and a shirt, both of which were made of manta (coarse cotton cloth). They were made of manta but they bleached them well and they say they made their own starch. The clothes even made a little noise when one walked because of this, because they were well ironed and because of the way they were prepared with the starch, so that they were shiny they say. So, in spite of being manta it looked shiny and its shine was due to it being well starched, trousers and shirts. They had sandals which had leather straps behind and they were well decorated with holes, as they call them. The men and women used sandals from fibres taken from the maguey (agave, aloe-like plant, about 1 metre high) - there was a person somewhere who knew how to make them - but they only tied on to the big toe and they had a heel.

How did they make their starch?
It was made from corn but they choose the best corn and then prepared it as one does for atole (pre-Hispanic drink made from corn), they ground and sieved it and used the finest powder to make the starch.

And did they wash with this or...?
They used it to wash the clothes and when the clothes were dry they put them back into the starch water, then they hung them up again and ironed them with those irons made of metal.

How did they heat the irons up?
With tinplates or small pieces of wood which they put next to the iron, like this, close to the fire and they heated up like that. Then they took a bit of pure wax and used it to clean the iron so that it would iron the clothes well and thatís how they got shiny.

Can you speak Zapoteco?
Hardly at all - a few words but not much.

Can you say a Zapoteco word to me?
To say good morning or good afternoon you say paduishi, to say good morning to a godfather you say paduishi umpale and to a godmother you say paduishi comadre, yes.

Did you do the community work before? Did you have the cargos (unpaid community positions) such as topil (junior cargo position involving running errands and keeping order)?
Yes, topil, yes. They started first. They came here, to the church and became acolytes. The boys became acolytes when they were eight or ten years old - or alter boys as they used to say, but the oldest word is acolyte. After that they were appointed again to become sacristans (looking after the churchís sacred vessels). There was another boy who was called topil to the Father (the priest) and he worked in the servicio (cargo service) of the priest, running his errands. He brought him water from the kitchen because in those days, as there wasnít much water, he had to fill the water tank, and he watered the flowerpots that they had. The topil had to do this and he went with the priest to the villages because he didnít have a car before, he travelled by horse, thatís why he had his horse at hand. So taking care of the horse was the topilís work too Ė horse or horses if the priest had two. And those whose turn it was to perform these servicios already knew (about the work from others?)
Section 7
What followed [the cargo of] topil?
Finishing as sacristan here in the church, they were then given the cargo of topil over there, in the municipal office. Before, the topil was also the person who went to deliver the letters or messages to the other communities because there still wasnít communication [between them] and they were the ones who had to go to the villages to deliver. One or two went [together], but they had the responsibility of delivering them.

How many were sent?
The topils went with urgent messages.

How many were appointed?
Before there were four topils, a chef of community police, a mayor (middle-rank cargo position; chief clerk?) and the regidor (cargo official responsible for supervising topiles and maintaining order in the communities), the sŪndico (group of senior officials whose authority is second only to that of the agente Ė the elected community head) and the presidente (highest authority in the municipality). They were there all the time because they didnít take turns. The regidors did change because there are six regidors. The topils took turns, four every time.

What did the mayor do?
The mayor looked after the prisoners and he was also very attentive to their needs and he went to get what they needed.

And the regidor?
The regidor was in the municipal offices with the topils, waiting to see what the day brought - or night because they were very attentive. They also watered the garden and swept the street around the municipal office; that was their work.

[Question unclear]
My brother.

What did he do? What [cargos] did he hold?
He started as secretario (community secretary). They had [originally] appointed him as topil but the presidente and the sŪndico chose him for the cargo of secretario, and thatís why he was only a topil for one week.
Section 8
And from there (topil) he moved up to secretario (community secretary).
And then he was appointed secretario and after that he was the jefe de policŪa (chief of police, community level). He didnít become mayor because he was appointed as the llavero (keyholder) or mayor de llaves (master of the keys).

How long did that take, how long did the cargos last?
The secretario was one year.

One year for secretario.
One year for secretario and [one] for llavero (master of the keys?) too, there were just two shifts. They just had one week to work and then they went back again (ie one week on and one week off?).

What is it like now, how does it compare? What do you think about the relation between the young and old people? Because there are many people who are old, arenít there? And young too.
The relationship between the young and old people? There are some young people who accept the old, or the senior people, very well because they realise that they have experience, donít they? And that this experience will be useful for a young person. But there are young people who donít have this mentality because they think that they are young and donít need anyone to advise, help or explain things to them, donít they? But the young people who know the old people have their own experiences and that these experiences can help them, well, they have a good relation and it helps them a lot. But for others, no - because they always think that they know how to do things and they can do them how they think, without taking other peopleís experience into account, but thatís how young people are, right? Because there are some that are very conscious of this - that the old people were also young like them once, but paid attention to the experiences of their elders - but there are other young people that donít. But when they accept that these experiences can help them a lot, these experiences will help them to live better.

Was it easy to leave IxtlŠn before, letís say to go to Oaxaca City for example?
At that time, no, because there werenít any vehicles and they had to leave the day before and get up at dawn the next day to be able to arrive. For example, the people that went to buy things from the market had to leave here, from IxtlŠn, in the afternoon because they only took one or two animals. Well, those that had animals took three or four but some only had one or two and the animals couldnít walk very fast. Thatís why they had to leave here the day before and get up at dawn the next day, sometimes even at three the next morning to arrive in Oaxaca at a good hour, to be there at the time of the market day - to be able to buy their things and leave again in the afternoon to arrive back here early the next day.

So they walked for a day and a half.
A day and a half.

Walking. And before, what did they build their house with...?
With adobe (mud bricks).
Section 9
With adobe and wood?
Adobe and wood, but it was all beams that they worked themselves.

And they brought them themselves?
They also made the planks, there were people who knew how to work the wood and they had the job of making the planks for the roofs. Thatís why there were houses that werenít covered very well, because it wasnít easy.

Is there anything that you would like to add to this?
Well, now, as there are more comforts, everything is easier, but there must be more sources of work too, so that one can survive - because everything is based on money. One canít live like we used to anymore because I remember that before there was exchange, the people who sold goods exchanged them for corn, beans and wheat and a village could survive like that, they helped each other in this way. It was the same with the people who came here to sell vegetables, as there was a lot of corn the women made tortillas (maize-based flat bread) and tamales (traditional dish of ground maize with various fillings, wrapped in banana or corn leaves), they made things to exchange. One didnít have to have a lot of money because one could exchange things, even labour.
The people who didnít have land, those that werenít accustomed to working, they asked for corn, beans and wheat and in the fiesta de muertos (Day of the Dead) they asked for bread and then they went to pay for it with work later, in the harvesting, the shelling of the corn, and those that had animals and ploughs, they went to prepare the fields again. So thatís how they did it, or those that had some money lent it out with the interest that after the fiesta de muertos or any other festival, they would be able to go and work and so pay it back. But I think that it was a better time because the harvests produced a lot of corn, beans, green tomatoes and courgette, those that planted peas and broad beans, who worked with wheat and made bread, sold it or exchanged it, like that.

So what sources of income did you have?
Well, just the fields, at that time it was only the fields and some people who had some money from pensions. They were families of those that died in the revolution (Mexican revolution of 1910). They were the only ones that got pensions and they had a little bit of money that was sure, but they also had to go to Oaxaca on foot for their pension. But it was only them and some that were able to save some money at the beginning of the revolution, they were the only ones. For example, the families of ďthe house of JinťnezĒ (a shop), well, as they had irrigated land and a big river - well, they had corn and there wasnít sufficient irrigated land in the village, so they announced when they were going to sell corn and so thatís how the people bought fresh corn. Well, even though fresh corn doesnít go far, itís useful when thereís an emergency. They always put a price that was a little easier, but it was just that they were the first to have a harvest.

What was the access to medical services like?
There almost werenít any doctors, if you werenít in Guelatao or Oaxaca. There wasnít a doctor and thatís why they said that those who got sick went to Guelatao because that was the first place where there was a doctor and in the villages there were healers, people that cured with natural remedies.
Section 10
And when...
There was a woman who was called Emilia, Emilia Pťrez, and she was very famous as a healer with natural remedies. Well, she was the only one that could cure. Beyond here, in the other villages, they said that there were healers that also used witchcraft, they treated the people in another way. There was only that woman here. After that they took steps and the health centre began that was over there, by the warehouse in COPLAMAR. That was where the first hospital was, but it wasnít built well because the roof was just cement and this doesnít work well, thatís why it didnít last long. After that they worked for another health centre for a long time and the health centre there is now began.

So, before, when there wasnít the health centre, how did the women have their babies?
Well, with the midwives, the midwives and they well, by vocation, only God knows how it happened, how they gave birth to the children. They rarely died like that but they also treated with natural remedies.

So there werenít many deaths?
No, in spite of the situation the women also came out of childbirth well.

And what about handicrafts?
Well, they only made washboards from wood, what they called bateas, and then canoitas (small irrigation channels made from reed or wood). Thatís what my grandfather did, he made bateas and canoitas and spoons and molinillos for making atole de espuma (pre-Hispanic drink made from corn with cap of chocolate froth), as they call it. Thatís what he did and my grandmother made her clay pots, but these were simple - there werenít fine plates in those days, a lot of people bought them (the rough country stuff). She used to have her vessels, her pots, and her jugs, even braseritos (round clay pots used to hold embers and incense) for copal (aromatic resin from the copal tree, used as incense), they were all of clay. There was another woman called Siriaca, she was also called the grandmother and she was the first to make things from clay, big and small pots, lids for the pots, vessels, pots for making the atole de espuma and things like that. But they were all simple country-style Ė because the families are improving their work now, arenít they? They are finer now. They make ashtrays and keepsakes from clay too but finer and varnished, little pots and big pots and jugs that are like little vases but they are clay. They make them and put them to dry and after a certain time they are dry enough to bake and then they make the place where they put them, so then they have everything placed and they go to get the pine firewood. And they know how to place everything, and it also depends on the time, they say that when thereís a lot of wind some break, they crack, but not all of them, most of them come out well because they are fired with pure pine firewood.

So your grandparents lived off this?
Section 11
Off the handicrafts that they made?
Yes. They lived off that. There was another grandmother on that very hill and they gave her the nickname Sister Chenta because she lived alone, but on the hill. She also made her kitchenware there. This was more rustic but she still came down to the market to sell and she sold her kitchenware, but she lived up there alone.

She didnít have any family.
She did, but who knows why she distanced herself from her family.

And what does Sister Chenta mean?
Because she was called Vicenta, so they gave her the nickname ďChentaĒ and then Sister Chenta because she lived alone. She was an old woman, tall and thin but very strong.

And didnít she get married?
I donít think so because she lived alone. She did have a sister, the grandmother of SeŮora Candelaria was her sister.

But who knows why she distanced herself from her family and went to live over there, on that hill.

And everything, for example, did you bake the...
Yes, they fired the kitchenware with the pine firewood.

And do they have a special oven for baking?
No, they make it, they already know how theyíre going to make the plates and pots and...

Yes. And before, for example the cargos (unpaid community positions), did women take part in the tequios (obligatory, unpaid community work) and the asamblea (community parliament) too?
No, just men, yes, just men. The women only held the cargos of committee, the Parents committee in the schools. Thatís what the women did, but the other cargos were just men; the women didnít take part in the asamblea.

Is there anything youíd like to say to finish off?
Well, how it is now, right, well, some people think that it was better in the old days, right, because they think that they truly did live in unity because they didnít want for anything - because the people that had, lent to the people that didnít. Those that liked to work in the fields looked for the women that made tortillas, they went to help, because the women also went to help sow when the rain came often. In those days it wasnít necessary to sow using a shovel, but just with oneís feet, scattering the seeds quickly, and then one covered the seeds with one foot and then the other and along they went, thatís how they advanced quickly. There were some people that were very agile at sowing with just the foot and in this way the women also had work; sometimes because of the mentality that the men had, they did let them go to work. No, well, those that knew how to make tortillas, because in those days there wasnít a mill for nixtamal (corn dough) they just broke it (the corn) up; they were so used to it that they only worked the nixtamal in the metate (traditional grindstone) once and then they could make the tortillas.
Well, yes, there were also difficult situations because the men were still very attached to machismo because, well, in a certain way, there were some that didnít value the help of a woman or didnít let her work or treated her with definite repression. Well, the men thought that the woman was something that he had bought and that he alone could order about, that she had to do what he said. This situation was a little difficult because people often said that the parents didnít ask the opinion of the daughters in marrying them with someone but instead they let themselves be guided by situations different to that which truly respects the opinion of the girl Ė because if a boy that presented himself was from a family that had some money or something special, well, they let themselves be guided by this. Very often they arranged everything between the parents without the girl even knowing. They just said to her, you are going to go with this boy because we have arranged it. I think that there are still villages were they are still accustomed to this, they donít respect the opinion of the daughter but treat her as if she were only an object.
There were situations like this, even here in IxtlŠn, that they married them with people from other villages just because, according to them, they were fairly well off. But what happened? Those women suffered because they didnít even know the men, they didnít even know what the family was like and often, well according to them they had things because they workedÖ well, the woman arrived, well, to work as if she were a slave, a work machine. Well they had things (problems) because of so much work. The men acted with this idea of machismo, well they had big families, and they werenít very well looked after either because they say that the woman gave birth and then they made her break up the nixtamal (corn dough) again to build up her strength, according to them. They didnít have respect for them. They didnít think that one has to look after a woman too because she has the same rights as the man. Unfortunately, because of the way of thinking in those days they treated them like that.
Often, even though the woman had decided who she wanted to marry, or a man went to ask for the womanís hand with good intentions, the parents didnít want it - the opinion of the daughter didnít count for them and they imposed their authority, even though she didnít want it. They began understanding things a bit more much later, and they began to respect the opinions of the woman. But the poor women in those days lived like that, being put down by their husbands because they had bought them like an object. She couldnít go to visit her parents when she decided but when her husband said so, and well, in that respect it wasnít good, was it? Well, no matter what we are, we are human beings and we have the right to do things and our opinion counts, doesnít it? Because from the beginning God made it that men and women have the same value; the women arenít worth less and the men more. Yes, physically, the men are stronger but there was a time when they abused their strength in repressing women and imposing their will, but itís not the way it is, but the men took this right.
Section 12
You lived in that time - didnít you want to get married?
No, because from a young age I had a calling for the church. Because when I heard the music, it was like the music called me and even though I may have been doing something - because well, as I said, we had to make ourselves busy with something from a young age, didnít we? - I knew when there was a festival and rushed over. Sometimes I had to carry the water bucket, with my arm through the handle and the bucket hung at my waist, then we didnít have may kitchen things and we bought some of the bottles that they used to sell, the ones that had tops. Then my father Ė as he was a carpenter- put a bucket and a water bottle on a pole to fill up the water pot quickly, so that I would have time to go to the church. Because when I heard the music I wanted to go to the church and my father and my sister helped me because, well, they didnít stop me - no, the opposite. My sisters told me to hurry up if you want to go the church, well, just that this is full, that the pot has been filled and thatís it. Well, the work was to fill the pot and pile up the twigs or whatever so that there was everything to boil the nixtamal (corn dough). Everything is from (has?) a beginning, isnít it? Itís a calling that one carries with one, because at one time I had two or three boyfriends, I said hello to them and then we got talking, but it never absorbed my attention.
What called my attention the most was being in the church and thatís how it was and is until now, right? Because that was what really called my attention, and now, as the times are changing, the priests explain things, they make us look at the things more carefully, one becomes more aware and this also helps the young people of our time, doesnít it? Because before the parents didnít ask for the opinion of the young people to marry them or to get them engaged. Because they used to say, I invited you here because today Iím going get my daughter or my son engaged, but really they had exerted pressure on their children. It is different now because the times are changing, nowadays the young people that are going to marry need to be prepared, they have to be given a more thorough guidance so that they are responsible for what they are about to do. Because they have been given the right but they must be made aware that they have to live well in the marriage so that they donít destroy their lives. Because if they do it, carried away by an illusion or a desire, well, it passes after a while and then each one wants to go their own way, but if thereís family, well, the family is what is injured, the children. Because children have to grow up in the bosom of the family so that they have a good education that corresponds to the demands of the day, that they study, that they are trained, and above all, that they have morals well founded with respect for their parents and older people. Above all [that] with how things are these days, because if they donít grow up well, well, they shortly damage society, like there are a lot of alcoholics, a lot of drug addicts, many people who steal and rape and kidnap and everything. Well, I think that there must be an upbringing from the bosom of the family that is well founded in respect for people and the rights for everyone.
Section 13
Do you mean that you didnít lack anything from your family?

Because a family has principles, right? But with time one realises that one has to think about and study this a little more, not only for the family, but to give a little more to society now. I think that this is why God didnít call me to marriage - because I had something more to do. Because, well, often in a marriage one dedicates all oneís time to oneís own family - often not even to the family, one often sees difficult situations or thereís no love, thereís no dialogue or understanding within the family. Well, this affects one a lot, doesnít it? Because then, to make it better, they have to leave home and thatís where they pick up the vices, isnít it? And if they donít stop this in time the person is on the wrong side and it becomes very difficult. It takes a lot of willpower to think it over and think that the path one is taking isnít good, but if there isnít goodwill in him any more it isnít possible, no.
Section 14
So your life has been happy...
Well yes, I havenít lacked love, I havenít wanted for love because Iíve looked for it. I find love in the families with whom I live, with whom I get talking. If they explain a problem to me, well I help them in some way, talking to them, telling them [what to do] or seeing a way in which the man or the woman can be made [more] aware and I have found love in this way. There has never been a time or a moment that I have lacked love. As I said, this was Godís intention for me, because people often think that people who donít get married donít have fulfilment in their life, or their life doesnít have meaning - well, it isnít like that for me.

Good, and thank you. Thank you for talking with me.

The explanations youíve given me from the beginning of the conversation are an oral testimony.

What youíve just given me has been recorded and I am going to transcribe it.

I think that afterwards Iíll send you a copy of everything that you said, on paper so that you have the opportunity to read it, and see and read and think about everything that you have told me too.

So all this work is being co-ordinated by the WWF, that is the World Wide Fund for Nature, and Panos, SERBO too which is a service for the biological resources of Oaxaca, something like that. So all this will go on to paper and it will be edited as I told you, right?

It will be edited and put into a book in the year 2002, the year of the mountain. All the interviews will be in it and then weíll have the opportunity to have a book in our hands and we will be able to read everything that, all the work that we have done, right?

So, umm, that is all, thank you.