The Odyssey

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Rigoberta's Story
The Odyssey

Live Webcast, February 18, 1999!
Rigoberta Menchu
I, Rigoberta Menchú: An Indian Woman in Guatemala
pages 5-6

Most of what I remember is after I was five. We spent four months in our little house in the Altiplano and the rest of the year we had to go down to the coast, either in the Boca Costa where there's coffee picking and also weeding out the coffee plants, or further down the South coast where there's cotton. That was the work we did mostly, and I went from when I was very little. A very few families owned the vast areas of land which produce these crops for sale abroad. These landowners are the lords of vast extensions of land, then. So we'd work in the fincas for eight months and in January we'd go back up to the Altiplano to sow our crops. Where we live in the mountains, that is, where the land isn't fertile, you can barely grow maize and beans. The land isn't fertile enough for anything else. But on the coast the land is rich and you can grow anything. After we'd sown our crops, we'd go down to the coast again until it was time to harvest them, and then we'd make the journey back again. But the maize would soon run out, and we'd be back down again to earn some money. From what my parents said, they lived this harsh life for many years and they were always poor.

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