The Odyssey

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Rigoberta's Story
The Odyssey

Live Webcast, February 18, 1999!
Rigoberta Menchu
I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala
pages 1-2

There are twenty-two indigenous ethnic groups in Guatemala, twenty-three including the mestizos, or ladinos, as we call them. Twenty-three groups and twenty-three languages. I belong to one of them — the Quiche' people — and I practice Quiche' customs, but I also know most of the other groups very well through my work organizing the people. I come from San Miguel Uspantan, in the northwest province of El Quiché. I live near Chajul in the north of El Quiché. The towns there all have long histories of struggle. I have to walk six leagues, or 24 kilometres, from my house to the town of Uspantan. The village is called Chimel, I was born there. Where I live is practically a paradise, the country is so beautiful. There are no big roads, and no cars. Only people can reach it. Everything is taken down the mountainside on horseback or else we carry it ourselves. So, you can see, I live right up in the mountains.

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