Reflections: Michal’s Journal

Michal’s journal:

More than half of our trip here in Chiapas is over, although not half of the excitement as we go to another zapatista caracole next week at Roberto barrious, near Palenque.

Performing with Rudi and Andy is a real treat. I am inspired and motivated and am learning a lot.

We have just been giving out workshops at the Oventic caracole. One show was outdoors in a magical clearness opening in the mist of a damp fog… most of our weather experience in Oventic was being in a white blur. As if the skies adjust themselves to the” Escondido,” hiding energy of the place. Faces hidden behind black EZLN masks and green mountains and trees behind white cloud – “fogantic”.

The show started with few people hanging around the basketball field and ended up with more than 100 happy spectators of mixed age and gender. We got most of our volunteers, even though like most of the indigenous public, the kids like to run and scream from clowns approaching them.

The second show was at the school the next morning. A miscommunication and understanding led to the fact that while Andy and Rudi had already begun the show, I was up at the shop café having a deep conversation with Julio who was working there about the similarities and differences between the Palestinians intifada verses the Zapatistas revolution. I was also curious to know how it is that most of the indigenous who are Maya descendents have lost there ancient culture and knowledge…and Julio was interested in learning from me the little Maya knowledge I have to share.

I came back to our little shack, saw the note about a show happening in the school. I heard the shouts of laughter, dressed up, ran and peaked in through the door just as Andy and Rudi were about to leave saying goodbye to the children. This surprise turned into a ten minute finale before the kids started to leave slowly, still curios, fascinated and looking back to us and whatever magic has just happened before their eyes.

For me the cherry on the top were the workshops. The first workshop started with 70 people, little ones – girls and boys – and youngsters, only males. The group energy and capability were amazing in my eyes. So much discipline, politeness, curiosity, and respect to us the teachers and to one another. The second workshop the day after was more profound giving the adolescents more of a chance to experience the sensation of performing to one another. Each of the three of us was responsible to create a short presentation with a group. The skits turned out really nice and you could notice the students engagement and enjoyment.

The junta “buen gobierno” were pleased with our work in Oventic and at our last meeting expressed their interest in expanding the work of CWB to other comunidades (communities). They excused us for not being able to go there this trip with the fact that the Mexican army was tensing its muscles and they were concerned with our safety. I couldn’t help it and raised the question that troubles me and made mouths mumble in confusion behind black masks. I asked the junta how is it that the Maya ancient knowledge is not known here and taught? The Mayan calendar, 2012, etc… I just feel personally that alongside a revolution to defend land should be a revolution to defend ancient wisdom and culture, but it seems that these have been buried under the cross of Jesus.

Today is the 24 of March and much water has flown in the rivers of Chiapas and my life since Andy, Rudi, and I parted on the 17 of February. I am still in San Cristobel. Still curious, bewildered, confused and have many questions about…justice, injustice, revolution, poverty, ignorance, education, awareness, worldwide cooperation control verses ecology, health, liberty, and more…

Our last trip of CWB Chiapas Mexico 2010 took us to Roberto barrios caracole. As usual we were accepted in a very polite manner and a Zapatistas form of hospitality. Fortunately we were given hammocks to sleep on in the not very clean shack of mud floor, and simple healthy food. We had the show the evening of the day we arrived and although we were told that the basket ball field would be lit, towards the end of our show we were in the obscure of the falling night. The following morning we gave a workshop to the adolescents, who live and study in this caracole, some very far from their home community. There are two big shacks crowded with hammocks, one for the girls and one for the boys. To my satisfaction in this workshop there were about as many girls as there were boys. Again I was impressed by the sense of a cooperative, attentive and uncompetitive quality of the group and the relationship between the youngsters. I also sensed the power and liberty of the women which the Zapatistas are famous about. Respecting women’s rights is a very important issue in their education.  It was obvious that the students enjoyed experimenting with the tasks we led them through: Juggling, improvising, playing, and challenging the ability to walk in a maze with eyes closed.

All prepared to drive to the next community, we were told by the junta that for a reason unknown, the community is not there and was not expecting us, as was agreed. Instead of being disappointed, I am learning that when cultural differences and understandings collide it is best to be humble and thankful for the opportunity to come even just a fraction close to this special society who at the same time can be very amused by clowns and very careful to where, when, why and who comes past the juntas decision making.

Left with many questions and contradictions…one for example, why is coca cola such a famous drink in a community that is rebelling against the rule of multi national cooperation’s in the world? I said goodbye to Andy and Rudi and set off on a new project.

Living in San Cristobal, street performing and connecting with small boys selling chocolate and cigarettes and little girls selling scarf’s and hand made giraffes and rehearsing a new circus theater show.

“Media Luna” was premiered on Sunday at the Zebadua Theater. Yesterday I had another show. Three different indigenous schools came. I still have some fruit each child from La ludotec gave me after the show as a cambio, exchange La ludotek is a volunteer school working twice a week for children from the mountains. There were also 50 students from far away comunidads in the mountains who live in a boarding school in san cristobal. It felt realy good to show and share and receive the love from the audience.


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