March 2005

All the people in our town were killed during the massacre. My mother was killed. My grandparents had already died. Our original village, Yalamopoch, was burned. Our house was burned. It’s not there, it doesn’t exist. We escaped with my father. It took 3 days for us to get to Mexico. We went with many people through the mountains, there isn’t a path. We went day and night, climbing. We were hiding from the army in the mountains.

When we got to Mexico we weren’t received well, but they allowed us to stay. Before this war, my father would go every so often to work in Mexico. So, he already had friends there. We lived in a refugee camp, far away from the Mexicans. We lived in a house with a lot of people, maybe 10 people. It was very crowded. The houses were very close together. I went to elementary school and one year of secondary school there.

My father, my uncles, all of the people that went to Mexico they told me what happened. I didn’t see what happened but they talked about it. It is very sad. It affected me a lot because I didn’t have a mother. In Mexico we talked a lot about this, but, well, we only talked between the refugees, not with the Mexicans. Sometimes it’s better not to …we prefer not to talk. Because it’s sad, it’s painful.

We came back to Guatemala because my father is a leader, an important person, he’s an organizer of the refugees.

We returned on January 13, 1993.What happened was, the Permanent Commission organized the return of the refugees to Guatemala. The Permanent Commission was organized in Mexico, for those of us who had lived in Tescado.

We gathered in Comitan. They put us in Quintana Roo, Campeche, Merida. Then we gathered on the 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20 of January. And on the 20 of January we left Comitan. We arrived at the Mesilla, the same day, and we stayed to sleep in Huehuetenango. So, on the 20th of January, we returned. We crossed the border of Mexico into Guatemala.

And where I live, my village is called Victoria 20 de enero, because we crossed the border of Mexico on the 20 of January in 1993. We were the first group of returnees.

I was 13 years old. I was sad because I didn’t want to come because I wasn’t used to Guatemala and things were going well in Mexico. I was studying typing and how to make shoes and jewelry .

I was crying and my father was crying, too. We were both very sad. We didn’t want to return to Guatemala because it’s very violent. I was reading in the newspaper this past month that Guatemala is the 4th most violent country in the world. It’s worrisome, but that’s the way it is.

My uncles didn’t return to Guatemala, because they were afraid. They are still living in Mexico.

So, I was in secondary school when we arrived here in Guatemala. I studied basico. In IGER, by correspondence because we didn’t have money to be able to study in a college. So, that’s how I studied. I studied two years in IGER. I finished tercero basico and the next year, I studied teaching in a boarding school. I studied there for three years. After three years there, I graduated as a bilingual teacher in two language, Spanish and K’iche.

But now I am very happy living in Guatemala. I am a Guatemalan citizen. I’m expecting to get my diploma and my license. I’m looking forward to that. What matters to us is to rise above our history. To be professionals now. That is our hope.

The students talk together. Yes, we talk about superficial things. Sometimes I talk with people who have a similar situation. But there are many students who have a different situation. Maybe a student who stayed in Guatemala or went to another country, it’s not like my situation because my family went to Mexico and came back.

But to speak of the war is a bit dangerous. Because sometimes, the people that talk a lot about the stories, it can be that they are killed. So, it’s better not to talk to whatever person…how would I say it? We say, we cannot talk about this when a military, or an ex-military is there. We say, maybe the military is going to tell you ahhh… it’s the military that killed the people… So, I don’t talk about the situation. You have to be careful in public. It’s somewhat dangerous.

I like studying. It opens our minds to see things with objectivity and for that reason, I have liked it. And it’s the only way to come out ahead…we cannot live the way we were in the villages; a man who is 15 years old already has a woman. I am 25 years old and I do not have a wife.

But I think that we, the professionals, we are going to be the difference in the future. Yes, this is the hope, and I think that we have to do it. That’s why I’m studying English, I want to be a professor. Now I’m studying law at the University. I enrolled to study in the University of San Carlos with the support of the program (FEPMaya). I studied in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 up until now.

Now I want to prepare myself to be something important. In the future. That’s why I want to learn other languages. I’m going to keep going. I hope to study in another country. In the next year or two I have to write my thesis and then I’ll finish.

I hope to write a book about my history. I hope to write my book.