photo of Mexican man the sierra norte
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Tiltepec, Oaxaca


19 June 1999



On Saturday 19th of June 1999, I went to visit SeŮor Javier Morales. I found him working on the reconstruction of a chicken coop beside his house. We greeted each other and he in his typical kind and friendly manner invited me into his house where his wife SeŮora Nieves and his three young daughters were. We passed through to the small kitchen which is made of tejamanil (traditional rough pinewood planks or roofing tiles/shingles) and in which there were the characteristic features of Tiltepec kitchens: a wood-burning stove made of adobe (mud bricks), a comal (flat pan or griddle) for making tortillas (maize-based flat bread), and beside that a metate (traditional grindstone) for grinding corn. Above the stove was firewood in the form of a small rustic ďsecond floorĒ; on top of the firewood lay pancles de panela (blocks of unrefined sugar, about 4 kilos in weight) wrapped in sugarcane leaf and piled up in a pyramid. They say that they stack the firewood there so the heat of the stove keeps it dry as the climate is very damp. There was also a little table with small chairs.

At 22 years old, SeŮor Javier is very young. Last year he was a member of the municipal council; he held the position of secretary in the police force in this community. He distinguished himself by his initiative, dynamism and brilliant ideas. Sometimes he came with us on the trips we took in the country, taking the role of guide and helping us in the sampling of plants and vegetation. I explained the reason for my visit and SeŮor Javier enthusiastically agreed to speak to me. I told him we would like to talk about the forest; its importance and the impressions he has of the changes it has undergone.

Section 1
Well, we are here with SeŮor Javier MontaŮo?

Morales MontaŮo.
Yes...Morales HernŠndez

Morales HernŠndez.

Yes, sorry. Itís just thatís how we know each other.
Yes, right?

Just by first name, right?
Yes [laughter].
Section 2
Yes, are you from here, Don Javier?
Yes Iím from here, from San Miguel Tiltepec.

Are your parents also from here?
Yes, theyíre from here.

So, all your family are from here.
Yes, all my family are from here.

And the SeŮora (Javierís wife), is she from here as well?
Yes, sheís also from here.

DoŮa Nieves [referring to Javierís wife]... Nieves, what is your name?
HernŠndez MontaŮo.

Nieves HernŠndez MontaŮo, good. How old are you Javier?
Iím twenty-two.

Did you go to school?
Yes, a little.

Here, in the village?
No, I went to Yagila, for about two years.

Two years. What year did you study there?
The fifth grade of primary school.

The fifth grade, ah, because here it only goes up to the fourth grade.
Up to fourth grade, yes.

So has the school here only gone up to fourth grade for a long time?

Yes, always.

Thatís why you had to go.
Yes, we had to go to...

To be able... be able to study a little bit more.

Umm, yes, so you didnít continue?
Not after that, itís that we needed things to, to be able to manage, because my father had some problems with his sight and thatís why we couldnít continue studying.

I see, yes, and do you have many brothers?
Yes, weíre five brothers.
Section 3
Five brothers, who are they? That...
ZacarŪas and Marcelino, Gilberto. And that one Ė Urbano.

Ah, and Urbano.
Yes, and me.

Yes, you look very much alike...
Ah, yes... [laughter]

...the brothers, donít you have any sisters?
Yes, we have one but...she lives over there, near IxtlŠn, that way.

Oh, over there.
Towards Atepec.

Ah, in Atepec?
Yes, in Atepec.

Right, and the other brothers live here?
Yes, weíre all here, the five brothers.

And have they all married already as well?

And do they all work the country?
Yes, in the country.

And you too?

And what is...what is it that you do, or, what do you grow?
Well, I just dedicate myself to growing corn, and I make a little panela (unrefined sugar), and thatís it, and a little bit of coffee.


Yes, well you have enough panela there, right? [signalling at the panela stored above]
Yes [smiling].

When did you go to make the panela?
At the beginning of March.


How much did you make? How much is that?
About ten cazos (large metal pot, saucepan).
Section 4
Ten cazos!

Thatís a lot. And how many daysí work was that?
No, well, ten days.

Ten days?

So, in one day you make a cazo.
Yes, one day, half a day, well, we do it by the hour.

By the hour?

Thatís what you were telling me, isnít it? In the day you cut the sugar cane... Yes.

Early and then the night is when....
And the next day we have new panela, yes.

Does your wife go with you too?

Does everybody go, all the family?
Yes, all the family. Yes, and we find more workers to work in the day, yes.

Where is your farm?
Over there... above SeŮor Carlosí farm. Over in tierra caliente (literally, hot lands).

Ah, there.
Yes, over there, yes.

Yes, weíve gone there before.
Yes, really?

Once we stayed at Don Carlosí farm.
Oh, Yes.

Over there nearby.
Yes, thatís nearby.

Well, itís near the farm, but from here itís far.
Well yes, itís near the farm.

Well, Don Javier, we were talking about how... you now see...what the forest is like, what the mountains are like?
Yes, as I said to you, well itís that, what happened to us last year, that hurt us a lot, because of the fires, because of not knowing how to obey the orders that the community authorities give. Well yes, back then in April they told us that the people who live there, above the agencia (community office), all over that way, well they almost didnít have any water to drink, because of... the fires, because the source of the water is over there and all this area was burnt and they almost didnít have any water to drink Ė well, just, they just managed to get water, and thatís how we were. I was saying, I told you about when the people from SEMARNAP (Department of the Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries) came: they said everybody must conserve, everybody. Yes, yes, we said, but what happened is that in the meeting we said a lot of nice things and [after] arriving home they took their chainsaws Ė those that have one Ė and [off] they went. And as I said, thatís not conservation. We just talk about conservation and we take our axes and cut down trees; the people who have dogs go hunting and thatís not conservation. And well no, in my view, well more, no more. No, no, I donít agree with what they do, because first they say we have to conserve, and after that Ė no, no, we donít know how to comply, well...
Section 5
Well almost since we first saw the mountains, well, they were prettier before than they are now, well, now...everything is changing.

A moment ago you just told me about... what they did...that they set it on fire up there...

...that there were fires because they didnít follow the comisariadoís (community official) orders
Yes, the comisariado.

Why, what orders were given?
Well, the comisariado said to us - last year at the beginning of March, or the middle of April - he told us not to burn [anything] before the rains because, to control a fire Ė if were to start a big fire Ė well, we couldnít [control it] any more. We would have to mobilise, to mobilise the village, and he made an announcement, well, but the kids, more than anything because they are just kids, the ones who did this, they started the fire, on this side and the one on that side.

Here by...

Whatís it called over there?

Where they set fire.
Well... I donít know whatís it called in Zap...Spanish, butÖ

Whatís it called in Zapoteco?
Itís Lu crus kantediķ.

Lu crus kantediķ.
Section 6
Yes, thatís it. And finishing this slope and on to the plain, to the other crosses that are up there, over there itís called Lu crus x (d)belebťn. All of that area was burnt.

And there on the part...leaving the village, the high-up area?
Yes, leaving [there], on the high area. And over there, as thereís a spring a bit below, and as it got burnt above Ė and thatís why the poor people didnít have water to drink.

And on this side that you call, by El ChapulŪn?
No, below, a little below.

By the stream?
Yes, over there.

Was the fire very fierce?
Yes, it was. They almost had to get the whole village working to be able to control it. Yes, that was what the comisariado (community official) had told us, and well, almost everyone had to sow in the middle of June last year; everyone waited for the rain so they didnít cause any damage. Well, these kids had to do what they wanted, but they couldnít control the fire and they had to, had to, it had to burn all these areas and here too, yes. Thatís what, what we did, we didnít do as we were told, even though some high-up people came here - they told us to take care of our forests. Well, as for me, [I feel] itís nice that they came to help us. But knowing how to respect [what they said]? Well, we there were in the meeting and then we took our matches. Well no, not any more, no, it isnít right anymore.

But you said it was the younger people.
Yes, they were just youngsters.

Just kids.
Yes, my brother, Urbano went.

And Don Miguel from up there.

Ah! Dona Gregoriaís husband.
Yes, and that Facundo, Emigdioís brother, they are almost all... Just the SeŮor is grown up, yes. They are young - well, I donít know why, they probably didnít take it in, they donít understand, who knows why... in the end they did what they wanted.

But isnít it because they are still young, they donít know how they should clear the land, so it doesnít....
Yes, right, ...


Was it that?
Well I think that it was probably because of that. Well I donít know why, because as I told you there was a notice and...and in the...yes, in the middle of April the comisariado (community official) said that we werenít going to burn yet, so as not to start fires, but they didnít obey him, they did what they...
Section 7
Öwanted to do?
Yes, thatís why, last year, it was [like that]; they had to bring lots of people to control the fire that was in this area...

And was it very difficult to control?
Yes, it was very difficult because we were almost... the whole village was over there for two days, and it lasted almost a week here. ButÖbut the people were saying that there were agreements now not to burn, and these kids behaved far as...taking matches, and then well, as weíve just said, over in that areaÖ Well, but as this area is more dangerous, what if the fire had gone up and crossed the road, there are more pines up there, thatís why they had to get the whole village to come to this side, to control it.

And when you controlled the fire, how did you do it?
Well, with machetes.

With machetes?
You have to cut the tree roots, to the ground, very low, yes, so that the fire canít spread. I went on until the night, they were up there last year to...we were up there for two days and one night to control the fire.

It was strong.
Yes, [just] because of one, because of one kid, I mean well, for not following the rules of the authority, we had to get the whole village working.

You were lucky you could control it.
Yes, we could control it but...yes well [it was] very, very difficult, it was very difficult because at this time there was a lot of wind, we just stopped for a little...and we got close and the smoke almost overcame us, because the smoke was very bad, at this time, in the morning. And the afternoon was when it was more or less under control [so we were] able to continue cutting the roots so it didnít spread more.

So you cut the trees that were burning.

They are the ones you cut.
Yes, the trees...if the trunks were rotten we had to cut them and throw them where there was most fire, to stop the fire spreading more.

So, thatís how you do it.

So then, thatís how you do it.
Thatís how we did it last year.

Yes, because last year the dry season was very strong.
Yes, it was very long, almost three months I think, around four months.
Section 8
Yes, so that the fires started early, didnít they? The fires...

Earlier than normal, because in other parts of Oaxaca there were also a lot of fires.
Thatís what...

They almost destroyed...
Oh, yes?

For example in Chimalapas, in Chimalapas there were also, there were a lot of fires and they the forest...just imagine, the people started fires, really? From above because...
Oh yes?

And it was very difficult to control, it took a long time, and well, a lot was lost, wasnít it?
No, well, with fires yes, we lost a lot of what we had, and what if there is a pine forest over there, everything will be lost.

Well also, yes, the pines are also important, arenít they? But also, also the other part of the forest because...they are both important, arenít they?..

Well, they have to be taken care of then, well thatís what I think.
Well, yes.

Because if not, you see, like you said, an area was burnt and now thereís nothing up to there.
Yes, thatís what happened, because they donít know how to look after, I mean...yes.

Yes, also you told me that, because of that it is very different now...
Yes, it looks very different now.

...from before...

That now the mountains look more...

Yes, they look drier now, because before, well...

Yes, it looks drier. All of this area still looks green now, green, and that part well, now, because of the fire, well, now, now it looks, now it looks more, more...

Ah yes, and Don Javier, how do you see it, is this season different now to the last year?
Yes, now itís, itís different now, it wasnít so hot.
Section 9
Yes now, it wasnít so hot [this year]. Last year yes, yes it was four months I think was very hot last year.

And it didnít rain.
No, it didnít rain.

It didnít rain on the date that...
that it would have rained.

...that it would have rained.
Yes, because in years gone by itís rained here at the end of May, around the 15th or 20th of May it rains but...last year it was almost... the middle of June when there was a downpour.

Last year.
Last year.

But until the middle of June.
Yes, [not] until the middle of June, thatís why we all sowed on the 20th, 25th of June we were sowing last year, yes.

Oh, yes. And also...well, and now ití can I say it, now did you began planting on a different date?

Like before?
Like before.

Like you did before the fire?

When did you sow now (this year)?
Well, a lot of people sowed in the month of May.

In May?
Yes, the month of May, almost everybody - because, as it started to rain, it wasnít dangerous (risky) any wasnít dangerous any more like it was last year.

But now...,umm, I thought that two years ago, I thought it rained, it rained more than it does now, didnít it?.
No, itís raining more now.

More now than two years ago?
Yes, itís raining more heavily, thereís rain almost every afternoon.

Does it always rain so much?
Yes, yes, this is what this season is like.
Section 10
And do you think that...itís also because of a lot of land clearing, because thereís a lot of deforestation - do you think that this also has something to do with the dryness?

...and that thereís no rain?
Yes, well, if we continue clearing the pure high up forest, I think that within five or six years it wonít rain any more. Yes, because thatís whatís happening in other areas. Yes, because to say...there are times when it rains locally, sometimes it rains here and not in caliente, thatís how itís getting hotter and hotter there.

In tierra caliente.

Is it raining there now as well?
Yes, itís raining there.

So, what you think about the importance of conservation, Don Javier?
Well, I think that it is better to conserve, to continue living as always. Yes because...if we donít protect [the forest] I think that within two or three years it will be very different; there will be very little left. No, not any more, not any more, it wonít continue like it is now.

Itís disappearing, really?
Yes, itís disappearing.

Also you told me that many people go hunting.
Yes, no, well...

And that they have chainsaws too.
Yes, to cause destruction, thatís what they are doing, they have chainsaws and, well... We were in a meeting saying that no, we arenít going to cut down trees or hunt any more. Well they donít take any notice. Or there are others or some people when itís the season to...letís say in April and May when the sun is strong, and they dedicate themselves to catching fish, well...

They go fishing in the river and throw in dynamite; well, thatís how everything is being finished.

Really. Youíre telling me that they use dynamite?

In which [river], this one below?
In the one below, the River Cajones.

In the River Cajones.
Yes, to catch the fish.
Section 11
What type of fish: bobo?
Yes, bobo. And that is what...well, there are some people who say we must conserve everything. We shouldnít fish or clear the forest or hunt anymore, some [say], but some people donít take any notice. They donít take any notice of the agreements we make in the meetings and they donít follow anything.

And do many people here have chain saws?

Not everyone?
No, not everyone.

And when they go to get trees, is it can I say, for their own use...

Or is it to sell?
For some, well... Some people sell it because, when somebody needs [wood] he says:
ďCan you get me some wood, please?Ē ďYes,Ē ďHow much will it be?Ē And they arrange a price.


But itís not often? Or is itÖ

Itís often? depends on who needs it. If they need planks or beams, and it depends on the type of wood they need. They go to see the man who has his chainsaw so that he cuts the wood.

From which area here, in the village, well the forest really, where do they go to get the trees?
No, well, over there, way over there, where SeŮor Isauro has his farm. Thatís where the pines are disappearing.

Whatís it called, in Zapoteco?


GŪaí(d)tŠu, thatís where nearly everybody goes to get wood.

Just from there?
Yes, just that area and they get more tejamaniles (traditional rough pinewood planks) over there, where...for...below ChapulŪn Hill.
Section 12
Yes, over there is a small place of pure pines, thatís where they go to get tejamaniles also to build houses.

Do they go very often?
Sometimes. It depends on the capability of each one of us as well. There are some who build a house with laminated sheets now and they donít take the wood any more.

But normally they take what they need...
For themselves.

For themselves.

They donít take more...

more than they use.
Yes thatís it.

Yes, because thatís the problem too, isnít it, when sometimes people cut trees that arenít just for themselves...

...but also to sell, I think thatís where the situation gets out of control, isnít it?
Yes thatís where it gets out of control. Because, well, when someone needs [wood] itís [different], because of necessity, and necessity obliges us Ė well, we have to cut down trees, at least one.

And, for example, when they go hunting, where, more or less, do they go?
It depends on where they have their farm, really.

Depending on where they have their farm, thatís where they go. They kill nearly all the animals that they find on their way or wherever.

But when they hunt, itís just for their own consumption.
Yes, itís for themselves.

And it isnít very common.
Well, for some, but for some not. It isnít only what they find in their path, they do it all the time. They go until, until they find what they want.

And what is it that they mostly hunt?
Well, deer.

Ah, deer.
Yes, also wild turkey (Penelope purpurascens), and coati (raccoon-like mammal, Nasua narica) too. Thatís what they go to hunt.

Do you think that now there are more or fewer animals than before?
No well, they say that before there were many animals, but now there almost arenít any, because as I was saying people are always killing them, and well that is where the animals are disappearing, yes.
Section 13
People said that there use to be a lot of tapir (large, odd-toed mammal), right?
They say that there are a lot but we never see them any more, we donít even know what they look like.

Now itís hard...
Yes, itís hard to find them.

What other animals donít you see much any more?
Well, the... wild pigs (Pecari tajacu), we almost donít see them now.

Not any more?
No, theyíve almost disappeared; thatís why we donít see them.

You also told me that people go fishing sometimes.

Do they fish often, or is there a season in which there are...
During the dry season, really.

Thatís when there are fish? Yes there, there are fish all the time, but the river grows [in volume]...

Ah, yes.
Yes, the river grows and thatís when itís worth going fishing every day.

And which in months, roughly?
Itís the months of April and May.

And do many people fish, Don Javier? Well a...a lot because...well no, they go quite often, almost every day, yes.

You said they sometimes use dynamite to...
to fish.

Is that everybody?
Yes, everybody because thereís no other way to catch the fish.

Do you think it would be possible to fish using a different method, which isnít throwing in dynamite?
I think so. Using something called atarrayo (a type of net).
Section 14
Yes, I think that it could be possible but itíd depend on each one...

...of those that like going to the river.

Because before, do you know how the antiguos, as you call them - the forefathers - used to fish?

No, no I donít know how they used to do these things.

Umm, do you go fishing sometimes?

Almost never?
No, I donít go becauseÖ [laughter].

Itís very far?
Itís far and itís also very dangerous.


But the fish is delicious.
Yes, it tastes good.

Yes. And, Don Javier, do you know all the regions here, around Tiltepec?

No I donít.

Is it very big?
Yes itís very big, but I donít know it.

So, which parts do you know the most?
Well, just where I go to work and small areas besides.

Around the farm...
Yes, the farm.

...over in tierra caliente.
Yes, I just know that little bit.

Tierra caliente, and past there, towards Yagalaxi, do you know it there?
No I donít.
Section 15
Have you never been there?
No, Iíve never been.

And in front of here. Whatís this area in front called?
We call it SŠla Yeegķ.

SŠla Yeegķ?

Where the waterfall is?

Have you been there?
No, I havenít been.

But everything around up to MachŪn, do you know this?
Yes, more or less.

MachŪn, ChapulŪn?

Yes you do. You also told me that this area is opening up a lot.
Yes, you can see very far where [the forest] is disappearing. Yes, itís disappearing because the people donít have respect.

Yes, they donít have respect, they donít obey.

Who are you talking about?
The people from La Luz, theyíre the main...

Do they plant the same as here?

Yes, the same but, well, we donít know how they do it. In one, two or three harvests and thatís it, it doesnít come (grow) back like, like before. Just ferns grow up now; just pasture comes up where they worked.

Where they plant, what, corn or...?
Corn, corn or beans, yes.

Ah, yes. And do they also have coffee?
Yes they do.

Yes, they work with coffee.

But not as much as here?
I think itís almost the same.
Section 16
But here, for example, Iíve seen that the coffee plantations are in the village, on the way out...

...more over there on the farms.
Yes, and those over there are getting into it. There arenít coffee plantations in La Luz, they all work here, on this side to be able to plant coffee.

Ah, so this is also why they are opening up this area ...

...this area.
Yes, thatís why itís ďopening upĒ in this area.

Okay. And, did your father teach you everything you know about the land and sowing? Yes, my parents; my father and other men, because as I was young when...that bad thing happened to my father. [Heís referring to his fatherís loss of sight due to river blindness, which is almost endemic in the region of Rincůn where Tiltepec is.] And I hardly worked with my father, more with other men...

...I went out to work to be able to...well start working.

Thatís why itís important to learn, right?
Yes, itís important to learn have to look for a way to learn.

So, what you sow what, corn?
Yes, corn.

And what else do you sow?
Beans, a little.

And sugar cane too.

Yes, cane.

Yes, you have your panela (unrefined sugar).

Yes [laughter]

Itís very delicious, isnít it? The...

It tastes good.

And is it just for your own consumption? [Signalling to where the panela is.]
Yes, itís just for us.
Section 17
Ah, okay. And do you have an official cargo (unpaid community position), Don Javier?

This year?

No, last year...I gave cargo.

What were you last year.?
I was the municipal secretario (community secretary).

Ah yes, thatís right.

It was our turn to be there.
Thatís right. Now Iím free, weíll see what happens next year.

Are there many [cargos] you havenít had yet?
Yes, Iíve still got many to do.


And do you have take on every cargo?
Yes, you have to do, well...yes, you have to do all that is, that are the cargos. Yes, because if we donít do it, well they wonít let us live in peace.

Right, and what do you still have to...
Almost all of them.

And what are the cargos here?
Well...all the members of authority. Beginning with topiles (junior cargo position involving running errands and keeping order), and the sŪndico (senior officials, next in authority to the agente), the suplente (deputy), the agente (elected community head) and...the education committee.

You have to do all these be a good member of the community.

Also to be alcalde (high-ranking cargo official)? Yes, the alcalde is almost the most important; itís the most important cargo. If you get to be alcalde you have almost finished.
Section 18
Ah yes.

Itís the most important.
Yes, itís the most important.

And is it important for you to take on these cargos?
Itís very important to be able to...because, if we donít do it, what will we say to our children? What advice will we give if we donít fulfil the obligations we have as village members?

Yes, also itís very important, also for good organisation of the village...

Yes, so we can organise ourselves well. Yes, because if we donít do it, well, no one will pay attention to what we want to say in the meetings, yes, if we donít fulfil our cargos.

Also, you have to do the tequio (obligatory, unpaid community work), right?
Yes, the tequio, itís everything.

Yes, everything to be able to live well.

And, mainly, when you do tequio, what are the main activities that you do?
It depends on the authoritiesí orders, they coordinate the work and then people do it.

For example, the roads...

And also...
We have to clear the roads, everything. When the authorities tell us ďwe have to buildĒ, well, they are the ones who arrange it to be able to start the work.

Ah, right. And if you donít go, what happens?
They charge us.

They charge you?
Yes, they charge us, they charge us a fine, if we donít pay it, well, they lock you up.

In prison?
In the prison.

For how many days?
Normally 24 hours.
Section 19
Oh! 24 hours.
Yes, 24 hours.

Is this respected?
You have to respect it at any rate, when we were very disobedient Ė well, anyway you have to have respect; if we donít... the topiles (junior cargo position involving running errands and keeping order) will probably come to beat us up, then more will come and more punches.

Ah, right.
Yes, but as long as one is, is very...everything is up to date with what the authorities say, well the authorities donít say anything to us.

But I can imagine that there are some people who donít comply, right?
Yes, well, there are always some negative people.

Yes, but is doing the tequio always good?
Yes helps that... the community is...

And well kept.
Because other people come here from different places and see how the community lives. How... how itís respected.

Yes, they see if itís clean or dirty, they all come to see.

Although itís principally for your benefit, isnít it...

...for the community, I think thatís more important.
Yes thatís the most important.

Yes, for the little ones [signalling at his daughters playing beside them].
Yes, for the children.

And...Don Javier...Have you gone down the new road that opened to La Punta...

...from la Luz.
No, well, since they began to...since the plaza was started down there. Well, I go there whenever I need to buy a...some things, I go there, because they are the agreements we made in the meeting, and thereís no need not to follow it.

What agreement are you talking about?
That, we made, we made an agreement to open a new road to there so we can do our shopping there, in La Punta. Yes, thatís what we agreed and...and, well, it was made in a meeting so I respect it, because it was in a meeting. Itís not like it was [made] in a bar to not be able to respect it...
Section 20
Ah, good.

So it was because of this, this agreement...
Yes, because of an agreement.

...made in a meeting.
Yes, an agreement thatís taken in a meeting has to be followed.

And why? Because before you used to go to JosaŠ, didnít you?
Yes, we used to go to JosaŠ but what...because of many problems avoid the problems we had to look for a way, like, so we can use whatís ours. Because when we went to JosaŠ we took our donkeys, but the people over there didnít want to see our donkeys there in JosaŠ and thatís why the new authorities that began were obliged to think of a way the animals can go well.

Thatís why we made the agreement to open the new road, so we can go shopping over there.

Itís recent isnít it...
Yes. Exactly, and it was with the tequio...between you all, that it was opened...

Yes, between all the village people, even the old people took part.

The old people also took part...
Yes. the tequio or is it up to a certain age?
At times, it depends on the officials.

Oh yes? Yes, there are some officials that donít say anything to them, and some who tell the old people to help a bit, even if they only do half the work of a man.

And so, from what age must you do the tequio?
Um no...I mean...itís not a set age... we have it because of what one does...what we do here...well. Because if a...boy letís say doesnít want to go to school anymore, well we give him one year to make sure one and the next year they put down his name in the list of ciudadanos (citizens) and he becomes a ciudadano.

Yes and I can also imagine that when you marry or have a family you become a ciudadano, even if youíre young.
Even if youíre young, yes.
Section 21
So thereís no age...
No, no set age. begin to...
to work, no. thatís why, now...returning to what you were telling me about. Returning to the road you opened. Is it close to another road thatís being built?
To what?

I donít know the road La Punta.
No? You havenít been there?

I well, I havenít been there, the rest have...
Already been.

Have already been there, Iíve been as far as the last section of the road.
Ah, right.

Iíve been that far but I havenít...
You havenít gone past.

Not yet, Iíve been along that road that goes to La Luz, but as far as, beyond Yťgu..? chķpa...chķpa...what?
Chķpa kuŠ

Oh, yes.

Iíve gone that far, but I havenít...
Ah, yes.

...been further, and do you think that this road theyíre building will help you?
Well I think so, well yes... well, in that it helps, it has already begun to help us a lot, for the shopping that we were going to do there. It has begun to help, yes.

Yes, we were just waiting for more funding so we could advance a little bit more, now weíre getting a little closer to finishing our work.


So, is there much left to do to finish it?
Yes, a lot.
Section 22
About eight miles, or seven.


Yes, thereís a lot left to do. What do you think are the other benefits the road might bring, apart from transporting your goods?
I think that there will be other benefits from the road. Because when the road arrives some people will begin to build houses or...other things.

For example there will be more...
Cars coming.

...and the health team can come more often, right?
Yes, everything.

And you could get your clinic.
Yes, with time it could help us in other ways, [but] not so fast.


Yes, you could take your goods out, as you said, what you grow, right?

...and you could sell your crops.

It could happen.
Yes. It could benefit us a lot. As it gets closer.


Do you think that it will could bring you...other benefits that arenít so positive, or, what bad things could it bring? No, well, [laughing] ...yes there are, it could cause us some damage because sometimes...[laughing]Öpeople come as, I mean...they come, like from the Electricity Company, from the Electricity Company, well, if there is a road and we donít pay our bill, theyíll come to cut off the electricity straightaway. It could hurt a bit too. Good and bad, yes.

But whatís most important for you? That there is a road?
Well the most important thing is that it gets here, yes, so, so we donít have to walk carrying our goods.

Section 23
Itís true, itís quicker now.
Yes, itís quicker, and you donít suffer so much carrying.


And do you think where the road goes it wonít affect the plants there are and the forest?
I think so; itís going to have an effect because where it will pass is untouched forest.

Yes, itís not been touched where itís going to go.

There are streams too, arenít there?
Yes, there are streams.

Do you think that the road will be able to pass the streams?
Yes, I think so...they will be ruined, theyíll be destroyed, yes.

And have you discussed this at any time, in a meeting...not so much the negative things, but what effect it could have, like the damage...
No, not yet.

You havenít discussed it.

Do you think that it would be good to begin doing so?
Yes, I think so, well, know how [to prevent this], so it doesnít cause much damage.


Because you...would you help over there, at a given moment some work? Well, I think so.

I think it would also be a question of...taking this into account, donít you?
Yes, taking this into account, well... to be able to discuss how not to cause a lot of damage.

Yes because it would would be important.
It would be important to...discuss make a beginning not harm the forest.


Because this part of the forest is still very pretty, isnít it?
Yes itís pretty, but it looks bad where the road passes, with the landslides, with everything, yes.
Section 24
The landslides, what landslides?
On the road, where the big machines pass. Thereís quite a lot of damage there.


And are there many trees that you use, or that you know have a use, there?
No, almost none, but thereís a lot of fine trees.


Theyíre big, arenít they?
Big, yes.

But as you say, itís important to have the road, the...
Yes, itís important.

...a main road.
Itís important that it gets here.

You have been requesting [a road] for a long time, havenít you? Yes, years! I donít know when they began to take steps for the road, and it still hasnít got here.
Are you going to continue insisting that...?
That it arrives


Yes, Don Javier, do you discuss with people...the young people like you...about the problems that there are with... the forests, what they think?

Almost never?
No, no, no I havenít talked to them.

Well, Iím asking you because you...are young...

...and because of what youíve said to me, it seems to me that you are interested, conscious that we should...on one side protect the forest.

To be more aware of what...of what should and shouldnít be done, or to do it in...

To not destroy more than is already destroyed.
Section 25
Yes. Do you worry about it?
Well yes...I worry that there shouldnít be any more damage, because to continue destroying more, what will we leave for our children, if we finish everything there is, yes. Thatís what I worry about, not destroying anymore.

So, do you also see the formation of a group of people, a committee to supervise the forest, as something positive?
Yes, I think it is, itís necessary to appoint a committee to...where decisions are made and to be able to keep watch on the forest...

...itís necessary for...thatís where they could probably pay attention or [else] they will continue like theyíve always done.

Yes, but now there would be a way to control it, right?
Yes, I think so, by just appointing a committee and agreements are made, I think that it will be more or less controllable.


I mentioned this because of the committee that has just been set up...
Just been set up.

...the comitť de vigilancia (watchdog group)

Yes, you were at this meeting, werenít you?
Yes, I was, almost all day, all the meetings...

..there have been, yes, I was there on Sunday.


Do you think that the rest of the people from here will collaborate with this committee?
I think so. Well, thatís why they accepted it.

Yes, because it isnít at all bad, but actually quite good, to be able to protect what we have more. If there isnít a group saying that we canít kill animals anymore or cut down trees or clear the forest anymore, well, we will continue as always... It will be finished and...What will we do tomorrow and the day after? Yes, and the animals, everything will be quiet, we wonít hear the sound of the birds. We almost donít realise what we are doing anymore. Itís good that we have this committee now and...the people will have to respect what it says.
Section 26
Yes, well letís hope it works out well, right?
Well I...thatís what Iím hoping for, just that it works out well.


And will the community cooperate too?
Yes, this is what has to happen: both the committee and community are going to be working together, yes, to be able to take control. Because if not, Iím sure everything will be finished. Yes, itís good now that they formed the committee, to protect the little we have left.

Yes, it would be good. Letís hope that the people from this community and the neighbouring communities also realise...
Yes, right. important...
I think so, probably. important it is to protect, and are supportive. Yes; well Don Javier, I think weíve finished talking, for today [laughing].
Yes, really?

No well, thereís nothing to say, thanks... [laughing]

No, on the contrary, thank you, for giving me a little of your time.
No, itís not a problem, when thereís time, one should talk.

Iíll come to visit you later, probably to visit your wife before...
Ah, yes.

..another time
No problem, go ahead.

Thank you very much.
Well, thanks for speaking with me [laughing]

When we finish this you will have...

...everything Rafael explained in the meeting...

..all the interviews, what interests people, what they could do, to see the problems there are and be able to...
Yes, right.
Section 27
...between every one, mainly this, to communicate to everyone and share, it could be very positive...

...that everyone knows what the others think.

It could do some positive things, as you said, the importance of continuing protecting the forest...

Which is still quite a lot...