Mi Méjico Lindo me trae angustia – what awful reality in Juárez

In my 6 weeks at Bernalillo Mid School running their art program, I met a group of young women who recently moved here from Chihuahua. They were ‘fast friends,’ always sitting the five of them at the table for four, breaking into Spanish in their chatting, not interacting much with the other 20-some students. Their work habits were outstanding. Meticulous, on top of the assignments, they put fine attention into their drawings and creations. Selina whose seat was at the head of the table, seemed older than her 13 years, wiser. Her hand-eye coordination for transferring what she saw was well-developed, though all of them had a personal style that was neat and dextrous and you could tell they were enjoying the acts of making.

Selina said one day, “Aw you are just praising me to be nice.” I just shook me head and looked her in the eye, ” No, your work merits it.” When asked to write messages to the people of Port Au Prince Haiti, they were the ones who wanted to write their phrases in French.  I told them once, “Mantengan su uso de las dos lenguas. La mente de una persona que sabe dos es mas lista.” Keep your knowledge of two languages. Your mind is smarter knowing two.”

The last day of January I asked if they had heard about the shootings at the party in Juárez. They said yes! Not on our local news, I had seen the NY Times article linked from a friend’s Facebook post that morning before work. (I will link it here below. There still has not been coverage here locally …). We all shook our heads together on that awful situation.

On the day when the hired teacher arrived and the students found out I was leaving, Selina, Indra, Ilse and Daisy all came over to my corner where I sat posting grades and formed a big circle around me smiling and telling me they didn’t want me to go. I told them they should be very proud of themselves, their ability, their smartness, their work habits. And to help the wonderful new teacher as they had helped me.

I will think of them. They remind me of the protagonists in Luis Urrea’s Into the Beautiful North, the young revolutionary and capable women of Méjico he created who cross the border in order to bring back their countrymen to help them stand up to the drug dealers taking over their town.

The attack in the violent border city of Ciudad Juárez bore the signs of the drug-related violence that has killed thousands.

3 Responses to “Mi Méjico Lindo me trae angustia – what awful reality in Juárez”

  1. March 15, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    C.C., I guess you have heard the news about the Juarez shooting of consular workers? Terrible. I just don’t know what can be done. Hope all is well with you. Spring is here, despite the bad news.

  2. March 23, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    I miss your writing, C.C.

  3. March 23, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Jack – thank you for your camaraderie in these cyber holes.
    I am beholden to your steadfastness and your sharing your good writing about what matters!!!

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