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 105-106

The first time they threw us out of our homes was, if I remember rightly, in 1967. They turned us out of our houses, and out of the village. The Garcias' henchmen set to work with ferocity. They were Indians too, soldiers of the finca. First they went into the houses without permission and got all the people out. Then they went in and threw out all our things. I remember that my mother had her silver necklaces, precious keepsakes from my grandmother, but we never saw them again after that. They stole them all. They threw out our cooking utensils, our earthenware cooking pots. We don't use those sort of. . . special utensils, we have our own earthenware pots. They hurled them into the air, and, Oh God! they hit the ground and broke into pieces. All our plates, cups, pots. They threw them out and they all broke. That was the vengeance of the landowner on the peasants because we wouldn't give up our land. All the maize cobs they found in the tapanco, they threw away. Afterwards all the peasants had to work together to collect them up. We did it together and put them in another place. I remember it was pouring with rain, and we had nothing to protect ourselves from the rain. It took us two days to make a roughly built hut out of leaves. We only had those nylon sheets the peasants use to cover themselves in the rain. The first night we spent in the fields with streams of water running along the ground. It wasn't raining then but the ground was sodden.

Those few days confirmed my hatred for those people. I saw why we said that ladinos were thieves, criminals and liars. It was as our parents had told us. We could see that they were doing the same to us. They killed our animals. They killed many of our dogs. To us, killing an animal is like killing a person. We care for all the things of the natural world very much and killing our dogs wounded us very deeply. We spent more than forty days in the fields.

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