As stated in my last blog post, since the community here has accepted me as a fellow Mexican, it wasn’t complicated for me to communicate with them and learn new facts about the people here. Most have said that they are hard working people trying to provide food and money to themselves and families, and if possible, provide an education to their children, but the children must aid their family by working with them too.
Also, the parents sometimes send their children to after school activities provided by the communities, and I had the chance to participate in one. Furthermore, Oaxaca is celebrating one of their most famous festivals, which is called “La Guelaguetza,” which causes them to celebrate every day during this event. On the other hand, people who are suffering economically don’t partake in such events because they believe it is a distraction to the many problems visible in the state, and this causes them to form groups and send messages to the public.
SANTO TOMÁS JALIEZA (SAINT THOMAS JALIEZA)
This week, I had the chance to join my professor of Ollin Tlahtoalli, Omar Nunez, to do some fun community activities with children. I went to a nearby town called Santo Tomás Jalieza, which is close to a mountain range, to partake in those activities. Even though the children are not in school, they still meet up with my professor and other of his colleagues every Thursday at 6PM to 8PM at a public gym.
There, I had the chance to meet many children who are in elementary school and not just have fun playing games, but talk to them. Most of them enjoy going to school and wish to get an education, but some find it hard to concentrate because they either want to play sports, need to work a lot with their family or simply can’t concentrate due to the many hardships they face personally. Going to programs like this helps them get distracted for awhile and enjoy life, even if it is for a moment.
Plus, it is a good way to prevent them from doing delinquent acts or worse. I told them that they shouldn’t give up in chasing their dreams because with hard work, anything is possible and would open up many doors with different opportunities. I know maybe they might have heard these types of messages many times, but I just really hope they don’t end up on the wrong path. I have faith they would be successful.
The locals say that July is the month of La Guelaguetza. It is a time for them to remind themselves that they’re part of a state that has many traditions. It is a great opportunity to not just show themselves, but to show the world the many diversities the indigenous culture has and pay tribute to their indigenous roots.
This festival attracts many people from other parts of Mexico and the world. People celebrate on the streets of Oaxaca by dancing, having parades and providing many food! Oaxaca is divided into 8 regions, and for years they have agreed to unite for this festival and show the world their cultures. Also, a huge auditorium has the locals perform their dances and songs, but it is a paid show to the public.
Most of the tourists go here because they have the chance to see everything about the festival. However, it has caused many locals to believe the state is selling their traditions for money, and most of the revenue isn’t spread to the communities. It has caused huge controversies, but in the end, people still enjoy the great festival, whether in the street or in the auditorium. I was devastated to not witness this festival, but I know it was great time for many.
Movimiento Antorchista Nacional (National Antorchist Movement)
While shopping in the city, I came across a group of people who were getting ready to march. I had the opportunity to speak to a member, and she told me she was part of a group called the Movimiento Antorchista Nacional. It is a Mexican national political organization whose main objective is to eradicate poverty in Mexico.
It was founded in 1974, in the state of Puebla by 40 university students and farmers. Since then, they have groups in many places of the country, and in Oaxaca they have a lot of members. Due to recent insecurity, lack of support for housing and social infrastructure that reigns in different locations, the group are willing to join a march in the capital of Oaxaca on July 29.
The person wished to remain anonymous and not reveal her identity, but if we want to know more information, we simply search their group on the internet and we will get the information we want. However, other locals have told me that the group has done controversial actions in the past, which makes the locals think they are not a group to trust. One thing for sure is that no matter what, the people here are active and passionate about their culture.