11 August 2007

Meeting a Revoluntionist

Sometimes I get frustrated at Ecuador when the bus stops at EVERY house instead of a few designated stops or how people have to wait in lines for 1-3 hours to pay a bill that takes 30 seconds to pay online. My American mind wants to scream "there is more TIME efficient way!" Yet in other ways Ecuadorians get up and take matters into their own hands and DO something while Americans are busy planning and organizing a meeting to discuss the matter.

This week we had the privilege of meeting a revolutionist. Amazingly, it happened to be a woman and even more rare an indigenous woman. Transito AmaguaƱa, a leader in the indigenous rights movement.We walked about 30 mins to the next town and then found a truck and a 9 yr old boy who knew where she lived and we drove about 30 mins (see the youtube video) to what could be described as a shack made of cement blocks. There she was sitting in bed in a room big enough only for a bed and chair. It was so sad to see this amazing woman in a barely livable room with dirt floor and an overwhelming odor of urine. From her frail body I was surprised by her strong voice in which she told us that she believed herself to be 120 yrs old even though "the white man who read books said she was only 98." What a character.

She lived during a time in which white men owned the land (how she referred to mestizos, non-indigenous men) and the Indigenous people worked the land for little to nothing. Transito rose up, organized the people and fought the man, and won the rights to their land. Now because of this movement it´s a law the landowner must work their land or will lose their land. Amazing, right? She has a flawless memory and held us all captive with her stories of going to Cuba to meet a young Fidel Castro and later going to "another world" known as Russia to the rest of the world. Ha! She hit many bumps in the road because of her communist ideas and thriving fightng spirit, but she never lost sight of her dream of equality and justice for the people. As we were leaving our spanish facilitator told her "viva la revolution" and cried "VIVA!!" with such heart and passion.

We need more people like Transito in the world. She reminded me to be grateful for my rights. And inspired me to STAND UP, TAKE ACTION, and never stop fighting for EQUALITY.

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