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Posted by Laura from 18.104.22.168 (dup-200-65-89-56.prodigy.net.mx) on jueves, julio 24, 2003 at 17:26:56 :
In Reply to: Graciella: A Sisters of the Morning Star Story posted by Abigail from 22.214.171.124 (pcp02670191pcs.ivylnd01.pa.comcast.net) on jueves, julio 24, 2003 at 00:01:01 :
I agree with your basic point as I understand it - modern values of consumerism don't necessarily mean an improvement of quality of life. Thank you for telling your story. I feel moved to make a couple of comments to add to your perspective.
First a small one about the restrictions regarding the Ambulantes (as the walking sellers on the beach are called). 'The gentle sound of windchimes bringing you out of a peaceful reverie' nowadays on many Mexican beaches without such restrictions has often been replaced not only by the parasailing beach boys and their loud music but also by a constant barrage of sellers hawking wares - interruptions (not always in fact as polite much less as charming as you describe) that can sometimes be so frequent as to barely allow you to finish a sentence in a much desired private conversation with a friend much less to dose off.
The fact is that the increase in population of everything and everybody has made restrictions really necessary. I would never want to see these sellers disappear completely from the beaches, but some manner of controlling numbers and restrictions on certain behaviors is important to protect the peace even of the sellers themselves (against too much competition). These restrictions protect not only sellers and visitors but also restaurant owners and other kinds of sellers (the kind that are paying the taxes that can help support the community). By the way I would also support restrictions on such things as parasailing and too much loud music etc. These things are not mutually exclusive... on the contrary. There are beaches that restrict numbers without excluding Ambulantes from the beach entirely. In La Barra such a system was devised after conflicts between sellers for territory threatened to result in long time sellers losing business to recent arrivals and the level of interruptions to interfere with the enjoyment of the peaceful beach.
My second point is really more basic and far more important. You seemed to be implying that getting an education equals only the kind of perhaps misquided and too hard driven lifestyle of a modern high consumerist society (and particularly as you experience that in New York). Please let's not throw out babies with bathwater! Without knowing Graciela, I can be willing to bet that a good education for her and others of her village could result eventually in cleaner, safer living conditions, better healthcare, more economic independence and more political power for better representation and political protection of the indigenous people and their culture in general.
If Graciela had had access to a good education instead of having to work in the hot sun as a small child -and I'm sorry to note- perhaps 'charming' tourists in order to snag them for a sale, indeed she might have become a doctor, teacher, scientist, farmer or engineer returning to her village to help improve medical care, education, crop conditions or public services there while living a peaceful life cultivating the best wisdom of her ancient culture. And she might have been well able to study and explore what that ancient culture was -beyond her personal experience - having the ability to read, write and perhaps even access to a library, and the internet.
Having these skills and development right there in her own village, perhaps so many of her family members wouldn't be forced to make the lonely and uncomfortable trips to spend the high season months far away from their beloved villages and families in order to eak out a minimal survival for them by selling to tourists on the tourist beaches...and by the way more and more Ambulantes are not selling things that their village members make themselves cultivating their traditional artesania, but are rather selling at a slight markup items that are mass produced in a factory in Mexico City owned by a Non-Indian.
Selling is a noble profession, but she might have had many other choices too. Graciela may have found she had a desire to develop skills that her community desparately needs and that perhaps she may have had special talents for and even taken great pleasure in developing in her own peaceful way. I vote for quality education with as much wisdom inherent in all the cultures possible.
By the way, what do you mean by primal wisdom? Many thanks for opening up this thoughtful thread.
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