Sunday, April 29, 2012

"The Zapatista Army" by Delfino Vazquez

At a time when the Zapatistas are being harassed militarily, it is desirable to consider a historical account of what has been their organization.

The native peoples of Mexico resisted the war of extermination waged by the Spanish invaders who imposed their rule, their culture, religion, and stripped the native peoples of their land. Again and again the Indian rebellions were crushed and their complaints were ignored. However, in forests, mountains ,and deserts, they survive, preserve their culture, and continue to resist.

After 300 years of Spanish domination, a war of independence, and Juarez reform: The Revolution of 1910 changed the situation. However, the native peoples’ rights were not recognized in the Constitution, nor in 1824, nor in 1857, or 1917.

The indigenous peoples’ worldview, their relationship with the land and nature, their forms of community, collectively, their direct democracy and autonomy, have allowed them to hold out for more than 5 centuries.

In the 1980s, survivors of a politico military insurrectionary approach merged with agrarian fighters and the indigenous movement in the forest, giving birth on November 17, 1983 to the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

The EZLN is not born as a "guerrilla" army, but as a people's army, closely linked to indigenous communities to defend them against the white guards of the farmers and the police-military aggression. Their government, the CCRI-CG, is composed of political leaders who truly represent the people they serve.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

"All Things Wise and Wonderful" a book review by Susana Deng

There is a book people would like to read in travel time, leisure time or bedtime, and bringing warmth to heart. I would like to say that is "All things Wise and Wonderful". The first time I read the title, I knew that’s the book I was looking for and I may love.

It was one of  the series of books of stories about animals and their owners  written by James Herriot , who was a creative and wonderful veterinarian , and a great pilot who served in the Royal Air Force, and also a famous writer in Britain. The favorite career must be being a veterinarian in country. Mr. Herriot  had used his many years of experiences as veterinarian from a young age. He was welcomed and respected by people for his superb medical skills, good personality, and sense of humor.
The book tells stories about things that happened between Mr. Herriot and the animals and also their owners  during the early 1900’s in Yorkshire town, North of England. People there were simple and worked hard to their career, even though it was just feeding couples of cows or pigs. They took care of their animals not only they were their livestock but people love them. Life here was  simple and peaceful though the war was almost spread all over world. People  in Yorkshire still enjoyed lush grass , green trees, blooming flowers, singing birds and blue sky, also the lovely animals. It seemed that war had never happened and life had never been so peaceful.
As a veterinarian in town, Mr. Herriot was a very busy person, every case of emergency of the animals may call in at any moment, a sheep was terrible sick or a cow got big problem giving a baby, though it was in midnight,Mr. Herriot had to get up soon and drove to the farm to see the animals. He aways tried his best to take care of the animals and treat them as human beings . Everytime seeing the animals getting well or a new life was coming to the beautiful world , Mr. Herriot was so glad and would to share things to his sweet wife , an important person who had giving a lot of supports and courages to his whole life. But sometimes things couldn’t work, the animal was too sick to get well, or died lacking  needed medicine that was popular right now but hadn’t been invented in that time yet. It made Mr Herriot feel sad and like someone who failed, just like a close friend who was going away. But he had to go out of the sadness as he knew that more animals and the farmers still needed his help.

Mr Herriot was also a nice animal doctor . He understand how important the animals or vets to people in Yorkshire. Some of people were still poor and they couldn’t afford seeing a veterinarian for their animals. Mr. Herriot would see any animal  whether their owner were rich or poor or having no money, The important thing for him is the animal getting well and having a healthy body that . He would like to see a happy face of the owner because he thought that it  may mean much  more to  the owners  than money can say.

The stories were interesting and fresh and warm . I can feel that  how much and how deep Mr. Herriot love the things surrounding by him. I really love the book that I feel I have been there ever.I am planning to read all books of the series “ All things”. The other two are "All thinsg bright and beautiful",and "All Creatures great and small". The attitude to life of Mr.Herriot make me realize that life is what you want to be, just think about it “All things amazing and wonderful."

"Tequila" by Rosa Perez Hernandez

Tequila is the national drink of excellence, and even though it wasn’t known as a distilled product until the XVIII century, there was an important history of its intake among the prehispanic people who planted the agave, associating it to healing and religious properties.

Even though the fertile soil, climate and altitude of Mexico are proper for the production of different agave types, tequila is only obtained from the Agave Tequilana Weber variety. This plant requires extreme care, reaching its initial maturity stage at eight years of age, which can even be at twelve or sixteen years in the case of plants destined for the production of aged tequila.

This plant has special characteristics that gives it beauty and makes it endure, its blue or green color, is due to waxes for humidity conservation.

The preparation process is a whole ritual that requires experience and specialization. it’s important to know the plants for their maturity stage and to have the skill for precise cuts, which will strip the plant from its leaves and thoms, leaving only the heart, called pina. The agave heart is cut in half and cooked in stainless steel containers. this procedure is of great complexity and importance, submitted to an approximate pressure of 1.2 Kg/cm2 for many hours, up to eighteen hours before it’s taken out of the containers.

It’s shredded after cooking for obtaining the agave’s fiber. Its juice will be extracted later by directly injecting water at a high pressure for greater yield of the plant’s juice. This juice is conducted to vats adding yeast for accelerating the fermentation process, produced in a special room where it’s kept for approximately three days.

Once the agave’s sugars are fermented, they will be transformed into ethyl alcohol during the distillation process, obtaining a 55% alcohol volume in the first stage. This will be stored into the barrels that will ultimately define the type of tequila obtained; white, rested or aged. Also depending on this selection is if the obtained juice is or isn’t mixed with other sugars or colors. When the time programmed for the stored tequila is reached, it’s sent through a process of dissolution with distilled water, reducing the alcohol volume to 38%.

It’s important to mention there are hygiene norms determining the time tequila should rest barrels, the barrel’s wood and the alcohol volume each must contain, Labeling, packaging and consumer information is also regulated.

No other place in the world can produce tequila, because it can only be made from the plant produced in Mexico, Agave Tequilana Waber, that grows in the States of Jalisco, Nayarit, Michoacan, Guanajuato and Tamaulipas, with a process abiding by all the official regulations.

For all of this reasons, tequila is the national beverage, besides its production ritual, it represents festivity, friendship, earth and the field’s value, characterizing Mexican Culture.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

"Poetess Cora Coralina" by Leonara Soares

Cora Coralina was a Brazilian. She was born in Goias Velho which is the ancient capital of Goias, Brazil. She was Writer and Poetess. She started to write her first texts when she was 14 years old. She was a believer in sweets more than writing. She thought that the sweet candied cashew, pumpkin, figs and oranges which charmed the neighbors and friends worked better than the poems written on sheets of notebook paper. She published her first book after her husband died. Cora continued to produce more books, becoming one of the most important Brazilian writers of her time. She wrote a lot of books and poems. Her house inspired some of the beautiful poems written by her. There is a small museum in the house to honor her.

This is one of her best Poems! (Translated by Leonara Soares)

I do not know if life is short
I do not know
I do not know
If life is short or too long for us.
But I know nothing of what we make sense of,
If not touching people’s hearts.
Many times we simply are.
The lap that welcomes.
The arm which involves.
Words that comfort.
Silent respect.
Joy that is contagious
Tears flowing.
Look at what satisfies.
Love what it promotes.

Authoress - Cora Coralina
I made this poem when I was 13 years old.
Cora Coralina

Warrior woman
Woman on earth
Enchants with her poetry
Until the poet Drummond.

"The Consequences of Drunk Driving" by Yadira Gonzalez

Today I want to tell you something that happened to me when I was living in Mexico many years ago. It was a normal day. That’s what I thought. It was Saturday morning and my family and I were planning a barbecue in the park. Suddenly, when all my cousins nephews and nieces were talking outside of my house, a big car came in our direction really fast. Everybody shouted. Nobody could see one another because there was a lot of dust.

When I tried to see and stand up , all my family were on the ground some with broken legs, arms , neck etc. and I tried to help buy my mind was in shock. I saw something far away. It was my nephew only five years old. His entire body was completely beaten. He died instantly. After this many volunteers helped us. The paramedics were there, and the police started look for the drunk driver but before they got him, he decided to kill himself by hanging.

People choose to drink and drive to have a good time. After they have drunk alcohol, their ability to make smart decisions is not the best. Drinking and driving is a crime that has consequences that affect both driver and others.Some drunks can’t live thinking that they’ve killed someone. All the problems and consequences. There is no excuse for making unintelligent decisions to drink alcohol and then get behind the wheel of a car.

"When I Was a Child" by Sandra Calderon

When I was a child I was an athletic girl. I used to play some sports at school. I played soccer, softball, and volleyball. I won many competitions and I got some trophies and some medals. I remember those days when I didn’t have anything to be worried about, even though I came from a very poor family.

I didn’t know how much my father and my mother had to work for my sisters my brother and me. My grand parents took care of us while my mother was working. That’s why I called my grand parents "mother and father". My grandmother died when I was fifteen, and my grand father is still alive. My grand father is the most generous person I know. He likes to help his family as much as his friends. My family didn’t have enough money to buy us clothes, shoes, or toys. Instead we used to find old toys in the garbage, or we transformed things to pretend they were toys. But I remember I was the happiest girl in the world.

In those days my country was safer than now. I used to play hide and seek with my friends at night or go to the forest and pick up fruits such as mangoes, jocotes(Spanish word), guavas, and other fruits. These days, however, my country El Salvador is dangerous and children can’t do the same things as before.

Now I’m here in the US and I see how children grow up. They spend too much time playing video games, on the internet, or listening to music. But children are not happy. Sometimes they say "I’m bored". Maybe that's because they don’t have the same feeling as if they were playing outside or in the park.

Friday, April 13, 2012

"The Pets I used to have in Mexico" by Clarissa A. Marquez

"Chico", my Guacamaya
My story is about the pets I used to have in Mexico. When I came to the USA, I left all my pets in Mexico because my grandparents don't like animals too much.

In Mexico, I have three dogs, three rabbits, one guacamaya, two parrots, one turtle, like ten hamsters, and eight parakeets. Now that I'm here I miss them so much. I was used to all their noises in the mornings; the dogs barking, the rabbits jumping all around, the guacamaya, and the parrots screaming because they wanted to eat, the hamsters with all those little noises when they were playing or sometimes fighting, and the parrakeets singing.

I miss my oldest dog the most. Her name is Mimi. She was always playing with me and following me all around. Also when I was sad, she was always there as though she knew I needed someone with me. Sometimes she started to lick me so she could make me laugh and be happy. That’s why she’s one of my pets I miss the most.

Another one is my rabbit, Konan. He was so funny because he acted like he was another dog. He was always following my mother because he wanted to eat. My mom gave him lettuce, carrots and celery. He always ate everything, but when my mom went upstairs to feed the dogs, Konan followed her and then she started to eat the dog's food. So because of that, now my mom gives him a little of the food of the dogs on another plate so the dogs don't bite him. And when you call him by his name he understands and comes to you the fastest he can because he thinks you are going to give him food.

At night my Mom puts all the rabbits in cages, because if she leaves the rabbits out, they would eat all her plants and she would get mad. And in the morning, my brothers let them out with the dogs and sometimes they start playing. Sometimes, the rabbits hide from the dogs and the dogs look for them. They look so funny when they play "Hide and Seek".

The guacamaya named “Chico” always tries to get my mothers attention. He starts to scream “mama” so my mother goes where he is and start talking with him. Also he is always mad with all of us. He always tries to bite us when we want to fed him, but when my mother goes he doesn’t do anything to her, he always moves over so my mother can get his plate.