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Posts Tagged ‘students’

Tomorrow, it will be 43 days since the 43 students at the Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos, teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero went missing.  Images of the missing are being posted online and on walls.

Person putting photos of missing students on wall

Oaxaca, along with the rest of Mexico, is heartbroken and outraged that her sons have not been found.  “We are not sheep to be killed whenever they feel like it”  Emiliano Navarrete, father of one of the missing students, declared following a meeting with Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto.

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As the brilliant Día de los Muertos colors of cempasúchil (marigolds), cresta de gallo (celosia or cockscomb), and roses began to fade, a massive march, led by the parents of the missing, filled the streets of Mexico City on November 5.

Graffiti: Ayotzinapa Oaxaca Resiste

And, Oaxaca continues to add her voice on walls, in the streets, and at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca (MACO).

Entrance to MACO with Ayotzinapa exhibit announcement

… where a beautiful poem, simply entitled “Ayotzinapa,” fills one of the walls of the courtyard.

Ayotzinapa

Mordemos la sombra
Y en la sombra
Aparecen los muertos
Como luces y frutos
Como vasos de sangre
Como piedras de abismo
Como ramas y frondas
De dulces vísceras

Los muertos tienen manos

Empapadas de angustia
Y gestos inclinados
En el sudario del viento
Los muertos llevan consigo
Un dolor insaciable

Esto es el país de las fosas
Señoras y señores
Este es el país de los aullidos
Este es el país de los niños en llamas
Este es el país de las mujeres martirizadas
Este es el país que ayer apenas existía
Y ahora no se sabe dónde quedó

Estamos perdidos entre bocanadas
De azufre maldito
Y fogatas arrasadoras
Estamos con los ojos abiertos
Y los ojos los tenemos llenos
De cristales punzantes

Estamos tratando de dar
Nuestras manos de vivos
A los muertos y a los desaparecidos
Pero se alejan y nos abandonan
Con un gesto de infinita lejanía

El pan se quema
Los rostros se queman arrancados
De la vida y no hay manos
Ni hay rostros
Ni hay país

Solamente hay una vibración
Tupida de lágrimas
Un largo grito
Donde nos hemos confundido
Los vivos y los muertos

Quien esto lea debe saber
Que fue lanzado al mar de humo
De las ciudades
Como una señal del espíritu roto

Quien esto lea debe saber también
Que a pesar de todo
Los muertos no se han ido
Ni los han hecho desaparecer

Que la magia de los muertos
Está en el amanecer y en la cuchara
En el pie y en los maizales
En los dibujos y en el río

Demos a esta magia
La plata templada
De la brisa

Entreguemos a los muertos
A nuestros muertos jóvenes
El pan del cielo
La espiga de las aguas
El esplendor de toda tristeza
La blancura de nuestra condena
El olvido del mundo
Y la memoria quebrantada
De todos los vivos

Ahora mejor callarse
Hermanos
Y abrir las manos y la mente
Para poder recoger del suelo maldito
Los corazones despedazados
De todos los que son
Y de todos
Los que han sido

David Huerta
2 de noviembre de 2014. Oaxaca

Photos of the 43 students pasted on wall

Update:  Just hours after posting this, the worst has been announced.  According to Mexico’s attorney general, “The 43 Mexican students who disappeared near Iguala, in southern Mexico in September, were kidnapped by police on order of the mayor, and turned over to a gang that killed them and burned their bodies before throwing the remains in a river….”  — CNN

I can’t even begin to imagine the pain the parents must be feeling with the knowledge of the suffering and brutality their sons endured.  I am so sad and tears are welling up.  I think I will just let them fall…

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As an extranjera (foreigner), I can do nothing more than observe…

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report…

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and feel.

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Signs on the Alameda and zócalo this week.

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Today, in Santa Catarina Juquila, about 200 km southwest of the city of Oaxaca, la Virgen de Juquila, is receiving a papal coronation.  Roads leading to this remote mountain village have been repaired and repaved and extra emergency services have been in place since Monday, all in anticipation of the thousands of pilgrims who were expected to descend on Juquila.

However, for those who chose to stay closer to the city, celebrations in honor of the Virgen del Rosario (Virgin of the Rosary) have been occurring for the past week throughout the valley of Oaxaca.

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Thus, blogger buddy Chris and I headed to Tlacolula de Matamoros on Friday for their annual procession.

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Beginning on the street in front of the panteón, young women wearing traditional red wool skirts and beautifully crocheted white cotton blouses…

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…danced their way through the streets balancing towering canastas (baskets) on their heads — the letters spelling out “Virgen del Rosario.”

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The arm and neck strength it takes to carry the canastas is phenomenal and can only come from years of practice.  As you can see, they begin early…

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Rockets announced the procession’s arrival.

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Bandas provided the music.

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And, “boys to men” carrying marmotas two-stepped and twirled their way along the route.

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Years of practice is required to do this, too!

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Participants stop at altars throughout the village, where prayers are recited, rest breaks are taken, and tamales, sweets, and beverages (yes, including mezcal) are consumed.

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This goes on until 1:00 or 2:00 AM.  We arrived at 4:00 PM, stayed for a couple of hours, carried nothing heavier than our cameras and daypacks, and were ready to call it a day!

However, this is a bittersweet post.  While we were reveling in the festivities, a family in Tlacolula de Matamoros was in agony.  It was reported last night that 18-year old, Cristian Tomás Colón Garnica, from Tlacolula de Matamoros, is one of the 43 students at Normal Rural ‘Raúl Isidro Burgos’ in Ayotzinapa who went missing on September 26 in Iguala, Guerrero after police opened fire on the students, who were soliciting funds for an Oct. 2 demonstration protesting funding cuts to their state-financed school.

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From Sangre de Cristo to Santo Domingo, along the Alcalá, one is now able to “have a seat.”

Wooden bench with a curved seat.

As part of the inauguration of the Me Siento Bien en Oaxaca (I Feel Good in Oaxaca) and to celebrate, International Youth Day, 13 pieces were created by students of the Faculty of Architecture Cinco de Mayo, the Free School of Art and Design, and the Urban Contingency B_root studio.

Slats of curved pieces of wood forming a bench

The theme was Evolution and the young people were charged with using recycled materials and innovative design.

Bench with metal seat with punched design, which is mirrored in the shadow on the paving stones.

I think they succeeded!

Brass looking metal bench reflecting paving stones, building, and lamp

Alas, it is only temporary; August 18 is the last day.

 

Circular double bench - metal and plastic.

However, according to a newspaper report, as a more permanent part of Me Siento Bien en Oaxaca program, benches “rescued by the City” will be put in public spaces.

Wooden boxes

 

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What a difference 5 days make…

Early Wednesday evening, the unmistakable sounds of a desfile replaced the usual background noise of commute traffic.  Bands (yes, more than one), cheers, and cohetes (all bang, no bling fireworks) got louder and louder.  I had to come down off the rooftop to see what was happening.

The energy, enthusiasm, creativity, and laughter of thousands of young people filled the street, brightened, what had been a gray day, and provided a stark contrast to the serious military pomp of the Independence Day parade only 5 days before.

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The occasion was the 30th anniversary of the Colegio de Bachilleres del Estado de Oaxaca (COBAO), an academically rigorous and successful high school system in the state.  In thirty years, this public school has grown from a single campus with 400 students to 64 campuses educating 45,000 students.

Students, faculty, alumni, and dignitaries gathered in the Plaza de la Danza for presentations and speeches.  According to Noticias, it was noted that the event coincided with the approval of two amendments to the Mexican constitution making secondary education mandatory, beginning next year.  Naturally, the event concluded with the requisite fireworks display, which I happily enjoyed from the terrace!

(ps)  Alvin Starkman has written an article in English, Oaxaca Public School Education Targets Student Success: COBAO, about a young girl, from a small village and family of potters, who was recently accepted into COBAO.

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