Words from the Zapatistas

After our passports had been collected and examined, our group was allowed through the gate and asked to enter the auditorium.  The building reminded me of the barn where I used to work with horses: simple wood plank walls with no insulation, cracks of sunlight showing through; many poles holding up the rafters and the plastic roof.  The floor was compacted dirt with dried pine needles scattered all over it—remnants from a past celebration.  On the far side of the building, seated on a slightly raised stage, were four figures, two men and two women, faces obscured by black ski masks.  A few rows of wooden benches were arrayed in front of them, and the prospect of crossing that wide expanse of dirt floor to seat ourselves in front of these silent figures was incredibly intimidating.  They murmured to each other as we approached, and I wondered what they saw when they looked at us.

Once we were all seated at their feet, Teresa asked permission to translate.  There were some details to work out, such as writing down all our names and where we were from on a piece of paper, as well as the questions we would like them to answer, if they were able.  There was the surprise announcement that we would not be continuing on to La Magdalenas, which Cathy wrote about in our post for Day 06.

But then they began to speak to us, voices gentle, quiet, reserved.  Their words, delivered so peacefully, struck me and etched themselves into my heart, and I will never forget them.  This is what they said.

-lm

Words from the Zapatista Council of Good Government at Oventic: Continue reading

Chiapas Day 06—Visiting Oventic and the Zapatistas

What We Were Given

by Cathy Pino

Hello, friends! Thanks for joining us as we live and learn in Chiapas during this study trip. We are grateful for your partnership, your comments on our postings, and your presence in our lives. As we get to know each other and our hosts here in San Cristobal and the surrounding communities, we have also gotten to know many of you through stories of family and friends. Thank you for all that you bring to our lives!

We began our day with the expectation that we would gather in the morning for the two hour drive to the village of Magdalenas, with a stop in Oventic on the way. Oventic is the headquarters for the Council of Good Government, the governing body for the autonomous Zapatista communities of Chiapas. In order to visit any of these communities, of which Magdalenas is one, we would have to receive permission from the Council of Good Government. Continue reading