I remember my young mother and my chubby grandmother both fasting and praying and putting food and water at our
family altar which contains the names and some photos of our great grandfathers and grandmothers who were here before us.
They would pray for them for protection and for healing.
I remember my grandfather meeting the young corn plant and praying to it and at the same time purifying the land with
the smoke of copal. I never asked why he did this. I just remember waking up before dawn, take the incense burner
and go to each corner of the land and bless it. I do not know what he said because it was a personal prayer. I
do remember, however, that he always made me bow my head. And I did just so.
How do I love the smell of first rains. The smell of wet earth. The smell of Copal. The smell of trees
and clean air.
I remember, too, the pilgrimages that we took to ask for rain. The old people, the prayer makers, would line us
up, and then they would tell us to walk in processeion and to be quiet and respectful because we were going to a sacred mountain,
to our sacred cave. We went there at 4 in the morning and arrived at our sacred mountain like around 3 in the afternoon.
People would be waiting for us there with food and water. We had to fast. We had to sacrifice our hunger
to the spirits of the sacred cave where besides our fasting, we also offer our prayers, our food, and some even offer money.
Of course, when we got there we had to let the spirits know that we were there. Make our presence know to them.
Thus, we blew up fire crackers and some fired their guns.
I remember the dance of the Jaguars. How, when I was too young to participate I asked the teacher if I could be
a dog. He said, yes. But my uncle who at that year was chosen to be the JAGUAR said no.
You are too young and you will get hurt. My teacher then said to me, today you have been denied to participate
but don´t you feel sad, my son, tomorrow will be yours. You will become the teacher of the JAGUARS. How did
I also remember my great grandmother´s spanish. I would always correct her, AMA, it is not CHI but CHE.
And she would tell me, Ah my son, CHE is such an ugly word... it makes your mouth open wide whereas CHI your mouth
open just right.
I remember, too, the day that my parents took me to the city for the first time. I remember throwing up all the
way there. I remember how ugly the city looked to me. There was no space to play. The smell of gasoline
and filth. The noise. Everything made me sick. But I remember most how the police looked at us: at that
time we still dressed in the traditional way. Colorful. Bright dresses for the women. White cotton for the
I remember the time when I wanted to go to the restroom and the police told my grandmother that we were not allowed to
go in there. She said why. And he as though it was common knowledge said that Indios are not to use these restrooms.
I remember my hate become a man that day. I can still feel my eyes looking at that pig, even today. He looked
no different than us. Fucking fag.
I remember telling my AMA. Let us go. Fuck this pig. Yes, it is true. I had a foul mouth
even at the early age of five. It made my Ama laugh and we went to use the restroom at the church.
My beautiful Ama, always proud in her ways. I saw how hurt she was.
I remember our celebrations. How my grandfather always donated money for fireworks and for bullriding contests.
How he will mount his best horse with his beautiful leathered saddle, brand new rope and his eagle handle machete at his side.
Always defying the bull. Showing off his bravery. Even till this day, my Apa is very brave!
When I was nine I said to my Apa: Apa, I want to ride a bull. He laughed. He said, And what
lady do you wish to impress? I said, no lady. I want to impress you and tell you that I too am brave
just like you. Without his consent I rode a young bull. I remember my grandfather acting as though he was
mad at me in front of my grandmother, but when we two were alone together he would laugh and ask me to tell him over and over
again the moment when I let go of the rope and rode the bull for a few seconds with my hand raised up high.
I am back home again and I see some things that have changed but everything else remains the same.