Monday, March 15, 2010

Rural Homestay Part 2

By Annie Ashby
St. Olaf College

Morelos is one of the only Mexican states that has preserved “heritage” corn – the same strands used by ancestors of 4,000 to 7,000 years ago. The government’s new agricultural programs and corporations like Monsanto try and try to get indigenous farmers to adopt their genetically modified corn seed so they can have a national monopoly. However, most farmers in Amatlán have shown a commendable resilience in holding onto their heritage crops.


A rare female farmer, with student Alex Peterson

Using their exquisite corn harvests, our rural home stay families filled us to the brim with home made tortillas, pozole, chilaquiles, tacos durados and much more. Personally, it was the freshest, most delicious food of my life. I appreciated each bite, thinking of all the land rights and food justice struggles Amatlán went through to provide us this food. It was also astonishing how sincerely loving and welcoming our families were amidst perhaps a monetary poverty.

Living simply in Amatlán was a nice change of pace and un gran descanso compared to the more rapid city life of Cuernavaca. From talking to my fellow students, this homestay has by far been one of our most meaningful experiences thus far in Mexico. The hospitality that Amatlán families showed us was fantastic, and the indigenous rights issues and cosmovision we were infused with were equally as mesmerizing.

Our trip has left me wrestling with many questions. Will Amatlán be able to preserve its indigenous cosmovision and beautiful way of life into the future? Will globalization ruin the preservation of indigenous culture? Why doesn’t the Mexican government care about indigenous poverty and lack of voice in politics and society?


  1. Wow, that is so amazing that they hold onto that part of their culture even though they are being pressured. I also wonder why the government does not want the indigenous people to hold onto that and let them have a say in politics and society. People need to realize how important culture is to individuals and communities. I think having different cultures with different traditions is what makes our world so interesting and wonderful.

  2. kelly:

    Can the government not step in and help the indigenous people preserve their culture? I feel like the government should be there to help in situations like this. If this culture is not preserved, it can possibly just disappear. I wish there was some way to help preserve the culture and give the indigenous people a hope that their culture will be passed down from generation to generation and have no worry that it can possibly disintegrate. I wish there was a way to help. In situations like this is amazes me how much privileges we have.

  3. Dear Annie,
    I really enjoyed reading your blog. It is something i discuss all the time with people. There are a lot of older cultures and traditions still left in the world. But because the world as whole is changing and becoming these " older Cultures" are being pressed to change as well. It is hard for many of them to change sense this has been their way of life for so long. To me there is no easy solution to this. Either you leave them alone, and they might now make it or you take over and change them to something their not ready for. I guess i would meet in the middle to find a steady solution Such as, gradually progress them towards change. Meaning get them their slowly without making them feel to overwhelmed. If they can do this then maybe it will turn out for the best, but i do not really know.

  4. I can totally agree to what you are writing about. I am Laotian from southeast Asia and I find that my community back at home is struggling to preserve our traditions. Since we are in America we have the constant battle to adapt to the traditions of Americans. I do see that the traditions my parents once practice is starting to die away. This is sad to me because I will not be able to keep it going for future generations. I am happy to see that the natives are being very nice and open about their cultures and are willing to share some of their perspectives. Do you think that with the industrial age raising, will the traditions of the natives fade away?

    Boonchan Khamda SWK280 Student

  5. This is Thomas Orbison, i am the 3rd comment to your blog, i am sorry i forgot to put my name with my blog.

  6. There seems to be a pattern of this type of industrialization and globalization going on. With money being the only incentive driving these large corporations, heritage and small community life is in danger of being destroyed. I feel it is dangerous to continue in this path of globalization. Heritage and a sense of community is very important in keeping equality. With large corporations, the people they serve become depersonalized and are taken advantage of.

    -Ashley Watson