Monday, July 27, 2009
Visit to a family SE of Oaxaca
Friday started as a typical work day except that Claire was still suffering the after effects of a migraine headache. Our regular routine in the morning commenced: we walked to INSO, stopped to visit the “Mango Lady” and buy some freshly cut mango, pineapple, watermelon.
Then we set up shop in the lower patio with a fresh cup of coffee brewed by the building maintenance woman. We found a homeopathic doctor for Claire to see on Monday in case she is still not on the up and up.
At noon, we closed up shop in order to early catch a cab out to see a family South East of town, in a small community. Prior to leaving, I (Rick) met Noel and Luis who are doing construction and maintenance in Seattle on a friend’s house. They are from the district of Santa Maria Atzompa (near Mt Alban Wikipedia). At my offer to take a package to Oaxaca and deliver it to their family, Luis and Noel eagerly handed me a box of toys and photos. This particular Friday afternoon we were invited to deliver these presents and join the family for lunch. We caught a cab from our home stay towards the community taxi station. The taxi driver said he would drive us out to Santa Maria for $200 pesos, and we refused, and told him to take us to the community taxi station. He then lowered the price to $100 pesos and we agreed. The typical fair to get across town is about $45-50 pesos and then 10-15 per person in the community taxis. We arrived in Santa Maria to find that there were four streets with the same name. We decided asking for people, over street names, worked better in this tiny pueblo, and soon, and we found Maria’s house.
Maria ran up the steep dirt path with four houses on it (all her family) and waved enthusiastically; at 67 years old, her tired face still boasts a beautiful, big smile. The small stream just below their house is used to collect fresh water, via 1.5” plastic sprinkler pipe.
We knew this would be a special day for us and Maria, as she had not seen her sons in over 10 months, and Luis had not yet seen his 8-month-old daughter.
When we arrived, Maria broke into tears as we introduced ourselves. She was overjoyed to find that both Claire and Susan spoke Spanish. Maria talked to Claire and Susan during most of the visit, explaining that she makes and sells tortillas for the locals in her village. She prepared a great lunch of chicken (probably one of theirs), rice and homemade mole, and of course great tortillas. There was a gaggle of kids that were way too cute and very dressed up for the visit. As you might expect, they were super shy at first, but soon they were vying to get in front of the constantly running video cameras. After lunch we went up the road to her daughter’s small eatery. Like most Latin American social visits, this one went on for many hours and at some level they expected us to stay for dinner and spend the night. However, after 4 hours or so we decided it was time to go back to the city. Maria told us about which taxis to catch so we wouldn’t be overcharged. Then she walked us back up to the road and flagged down two taxis. To our amazement, she piled in with us to be certain we would arrive safely. The taxi let us off in front of the HUGE vegetable market on the SE side of town near the city bus station. Maria then walked us through the market to the bus station and made certain we got on the correct bus. We tried to give her a return taxi fair but she refused. We arrived back home exhausted from the intensely emotional day.