tapestry – Oaxaca mountains
Dignity, pride, faith and the infinite will to survive.
Every two months, they come walking from the hills. They pick up provisions, from a private charity.,
and see a doctor. They are the forgotten Mixes.
They walk back to their mountains with their heavy baskets.
The kindness of the indigenous people, runs through the veins of the Mexican people.
I wish we could all learn from them, that, often poverty carries virtues that could never be bought.
Ayutlag, Oaxaca Mountains.
Diabetic, arthritic as noble and silent as anyone could ever be.
He appeared on this dirt road, walking with a bag in one hand and a cane in the other.
He sat down to rest. I walked up to him, he only spoke Mixe, I asked him if I could do his portrait.
I would never get that old I thought to myself.
How many stories could this man tell me ?
If only, we both had enough time left
Still or alive, hungry or not, the beauty of childhood and innocence mixes with the injustice of selfish humanity.
How naive of me to say such a thing,
We should know better.
He is me.
I am him.
We have been each other since the beginning.
As I traveled to Oaxaca, my first encounter was this Abuelita.
She is a hundred years old.
She can’t talk anymore, she sat in the kitchen pealing her cocoa beans.
I was invited for lunch, we became friends.
How absurd and meaningless time is.
She is an eighty-four year old Mixe with severe Parkinson’s.
She stares at me really hard, knowing by now that a photograph is her only chance to be immortalized.
People who suffer from Parkinson’s can’t keep their eyes straight.
In this case, she stares at me so hard, that her eyes stop shaking but her face can’t.
So much beauty, courage and dignity, all dressed in white, defying the bad, as all Mixes have done through time.
She spoke to me in Mixe, somehow I understood that she was talking about her great life.
She wanted to change her dress for the photograph. I told her it was alright.
She insisted on wearing the traditional scarf from her village.
These are the true heroes. Hanging on to their values and culture, resisting time, invasions, exploitation, poverty and hardship.
They are the heroes found in shadow of time, the forgotten, the hidden indigenous, the backbone of the occult Mexico.
They stand with their heads high, noble, defying age, time and all odds. Their only weapon, being themselves.
I walked into this room full of objects, dust, memories, laughs and tears.
Here we are, upon this wall, united forever, separated by the present. How absurd.
I stare at the faded image, mirror of our union immortalized on faded paper.
I can here the music from another generation, perhaps mine.
I have found the shadow of time, or, it has found me.
From where I’m standing, my life and my heart, will never be the same again.
She is seventy-three, full of life, faith and compassion.
In her humble home, she takes care and feeds the two ill women here above.
When I ask her, where does she get her resources, she answers, friends and God.
She loves life, her life as well as humanity. No sadness, no regrets, only a smile on her face.
She offers me bananas
She opened her humble home to us.
She introduced me to her children and grandchildren.
We didn’t speak the same language, but it wasn’t necessary to speak.
The greatest words are often spoken in silence.