photo of Mexican man the sierra norte
Mexico glossary










IxtlŠn, Oaxaca


11 and 12 June 1999



The translation of this interview consists of extracts only.

Section 1
Do you know what the date was when they came?

Who knows. So, was it very difficult then?
Yes, it was difficult because who was going to inform [us].

Yes, and then everybody went to hide, didnít they?
Everybody, yes everybody. And who knows if it was exactly the 1st of November, but thatís why they say that all the tables and food were out, like everybody does it on that day. They set the tables and put bread and tortillas (maize-based flat bread) on them, and thatís how the tables and houses were when those people arrived and they [the villagers] ran, they say that the tables remained as they were.

Exactly on the Day of the Dead.
Yes, the tables and all the houses were left, well, the enemy made the most of it and ate what there was.

Right, so they took everything there was.
Yes, thatís what my mother told me, well she said thatís what they did. My mother was old then, she was married, I hadnít arrived yet, I was still on my way, right? She went with my father. My father was called Pascual said...
...that far, now there are houses on that side and there are people now, before there were just trees and forest. I was alone on the side of the river and (...) now there are houses here, all down there and up there, there are people and it looks like a village now.

Ah, yes. And it was just forest before.
Forest, just forest, I was there when they built the highway that goes over there.
Section 2
Oh, yes.
Forest! There was almost nothing but trees on the mountain, just that. I was alive for some years before they built the highway, they cleared it and cut the trees. I was here then, when the people came from the other side.

So IxtlŠn was very small before, wasnít it?
Yes, yes, but now, goodness me! Itís growing so much, on this side and on that side and itís the same down there.

On all sides.
Yes, itís growing on all sides.

A lot, IxtlŠn is growing a lot.
...well, weíre all dying now, us old ones.

Yes, time passes by quickly and the body gets tired.
The ones who are growing up now donít do any of the hard work, they donít carry any more, they donít want to do heavy work anymore. When my husband was still alive he had animals for working the land and I went with him to pull up the weeds from the fields because I liked to accompany him. I used to go to weed the fields with him, I used to work with the animals - in front of the bulls. I sowed the field with my feet like this. I used to go there but not now [laughing]

Now that you canít anymore.
Not anymore.

Not anymore. Itís different now too, itís changed a lot.

It has changed a lot.
Yes, it has changed a lot, many things are changing now.

Yes, they donít want to go to get firewood anymore
Yes, where do you see people carrying firewood now, where can you see little girls carrying the firewood now? You donít see anybody now, they donít make fires, thereís no firewood, no, just stoves, they only have stoves now. Itís very easy now but where were the stoves before, whereís the carbon when they were only just putting on carbon before, well now there are only stoves.

Yes, there are just stoves now.
Just stoves.
Section 3
Some people donít grind corn either, they just buy tortillas (maize-based flat bread), they only buy them.

...This man used to wear clothes like before, didnít he?

With trousers and shirts of manta (coarse cotton cloth).
Yes, his trousers, you donít see them now.

No, not anymore.
You donít see those trousers or shirts, just jackets [laughing].

Yes, just jackets and shoes.

And the women wore long skirts before, didnít they?..
...You didnít see shoes before, or sandals, nothing, just bare feet, bare feet, because there werenít any. When I went to school trainers, sandals and shoes had just arrived, but there werenít any before. When I was younger, where could you see a person who had shoes, sandals or trainers? Well, nowhere. We all had bare feet; thatís how we went to get firewood, thatís how we went about, without shoes. It was just a while ago that this was seen. Life has changed a lot because there were only poor people, rags, but you donít see this now, itís changing with the time.

Yes, so it wasnít until you went to school that the change was seen.