After talking for a few minutes with Carl Owens, you’ll feel as if his head is full of ideas that spill out like water in a leaking garrafone! When you meet Arturo Ediberto Garcia Aguilar, it’s evident that he’s no stranger to overcoming obstacles and solving problems. Combine these two men, one a retiree from Georgia, the other a bilingual Mexican, and you end up with the first bridge league in the entire country, which focuses on teaching bridge to young people. It receives support from the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL). Continue reading The Game of Bridging Culture
The Zapotec Experience
By Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D.
It’s generally accepted that there are 16 indigenous ethno linguistic groups in Oaxaca, and that the Zapotecs constitute the largest in terms of both numbers and geographical distribution throughout the state. However a closer examination reveals that, at least for Zapotecos, the variation in dialect, dress, food, religious observance and a plethora of day-to-day customs is remarkable. Continue reading The Fallacy of Oaxaca’s 16 Ethnolinguistic Groups:
Women’s role in education in Mexico, as elsewhere in the world, has been a slow and difficult process, as students and as educators.
Until the 1930’s, during the Presidency of Porfirio Díaz, education for women was frowned upon and criticized, even by some women of the middle class, who considered that challenging the traditional economic dependency on men was synonymous with ‘feminism’. Continue reading Women and Education in Mexico
One of the most active charities in the Huatulco area, El Sueño Zapoteco/Bacaanda Foundation is helping communities build schools in the rural, and providing educational materials for the classroom. As has been discussed in previous issues of the Eye, El Sueño Zapoteco has for several years been actively involved in improving the lives of the rural communities surrounding Huatulco. Initially working to provide dental health care and educational materials to these communities, the focus changed last year following devastating tropical storms. Many schools were lost, and El Sueño Zapoteco rededicated its purpose to building and repairing schools, and providing much needed materials to these schools. This includes what we take for granted as a part of any school: paper, pencils, colors, notebooks, literature books, and playground equipment. Continue reading El Sueño Zapoteco Bacaanda Foundation Update
By Carole Reedy
We learn to ask for what we want by speaking.
“But it is in reading that we enter the intimacy and wonder of language.” Bassia Bar-Chai
“If you don’t read and write in the language, your Spanish will never improve.” These sage words come from the Spanish maestra quoted above who speaks seven languages fluently. Continue reading Reading To Improve Your Spanish
By Neal Erickson
At 6am on September 16, 1810, the church bells rang in the small town of Dolores, located between Guanajuato and San Luis de Potosi. Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, the 57 year old priest of the church, had ordered them rung to call his congregation to revolt. He had been an outspoken critic against bad government and society’s ills, and after a huge crowd had assembled that morning he told them it was time to stand up and rebel. This speech has come to be known as the Grito de Dolores (“Cry of Dolores”) or El Grito de la Independencia (“The Cry of Independence”). Often it is simply referred to as “El Grito”. Continue reading The Father of the Nation or “The Shout Heard ‘Round the World”
By Brooke Gazer
If you are planning a week’s vacation in Mexico, no one expects you to speak more than a couple of words in Spanish: por favor and gracias should cover it. But for those of us who spend time in Mexico, it is only good manners to make an effort at communicating in the native tongue of our hosts. Unlike many cultures, (English speakers included) the people of Mexico are incredibly tolerant when someone butchers their language and they are very receptive to those making an effort. No mater how badly you speak the gesture will enhance your experience with the local people. We all make mistakes when we are learning and it can actually be fun if you adopt a good sense of humor. Continue reading Hablo, Habla, Hablamos… Español
By Deborah Van Hoewyk
We all know that Oaxaca’s capital city is renowned for its art scene, with a passel of museums and galleries; a little dawdling over a travel book will tell you it also has museums of philately, historic interest, archaeology, religion, textiles, and the Ferrocarril Mexicano. When we go to museums, we mostly just gawk and “gosh-golly,” but museums are the shining stars of informal education, that kind of life-long learning we engage in every time we do something that interests us and adds to our knowledge, skills, or abilities. Continue reading Community Museums—Very “Special Ed” for Indigenous Peoples
By Julie Etra
When Mexico established its first official library in 1534, it was open only to the privileged class, and contained presumably mostly religious works and works that supported the domination of Indians by their conquerors. The history of Mexican libraries is extensive (http://archive.ifla.org/IV/ifla60/60-ferr.htm). Continue reading Libraries
By Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D.
Casa de la mujer is arguably the most important resource available to young, bright indigenous women who might otherwise not realize their full potential as contributing members of Oaxacan society. The charity’s reach extends throughout all eight regions of the state. Its mission is to contribute to the transformation of a more just and equitable society respecting women’s rights. Continue reading Casa de la Mujer: Benefiting Indigenous Oaxacan Women for 35 Years