by Karen Larson • With many of us, including me, emerging today from a serious bacterial purging of our digestive tracts, today´s meeting at CAPESE was a welcome back to the world. We were moved and energized by our presenter´s personal story.
The TC Daily Planet has a variety of blogs. One of them is called “World Views.”World Views” publishes stories, reflection and analysis with an international perspective and a Minnesota connection. This blog post comes from the United Theological Seminary trip to Chiapas, Mexico in January 2008.
As a young man, after the Zapatista uprising in 1994, Julio decided to start walking. He left San Cristobal and visited the villages he found, walking further and further into the countryside. He said the deeper he traveled, the worse the conditions. There were many differences among the villages and the traditions of the people, but the poverty was the same. It greatly bothered him that so many people did not have the basics needed to sustain life and, worse, that they did not even appear to exist, as he had never known about them before.
When he finally walked home and looked into his own background, he learned that his grandmother was one of the so-called “dirty, smelly Indians” who couldn´t speak Spanish whom he had seen in San Cristobal. She was so ashamed of her heritage, she did not allow her children to learn Tzetzal. He said, “How can we not have passion when it is our own people they are trying to disappear?”
Finally, he told us that, while it once felt shameful to tell this story, now he finds that the indigenous people of Chiapas are in fact the majority — and so “we are walking little by little to change this situation.”
As Damon, our assigned thank you person, said so eloquently to Julio, we are also walking. We are walking to learn about the world and how it can be a place that affirms the dignity of all its peoples. People like Julio give us great hope.