Archive | May, 2011

Mi Chikis

17 May

It was two months ago this day, that I put my Chikis to sleep. Its taken this length of time to finally talk and write about her. After making the decision to put her down, it was very hard to think about her, it made me really sad.

I found Chikis Jaguar Ajtun on a cold September night in L.A., abandoned  in a box underneath a light post. As i was walking by I heard her little desperate meows. When i found the box I knew there was no going back once i opened it. Inside was this beautiful little baby kitten starring up at me. She meowed one last time and then cuddled inside my hands for warmth.

I took her inside and fed her milk. She was so little. I started to call her Chikis. By the next day, she learned her name and would come out from underneath the bed when i called for her. I took her to the vet, she weighed 6 ounces and was dehydrated and flea infested. The vets saw her and their hearts melted. People around me began to fall in love with her. Mean while i was trying to figure out whether to keep her or not. I figured a few weeks of care and then i would let someone else take her up.

I was not able to let go of her. I fell in love with Chikis. She was special and I needed to stop being selfish. I decided i would care for her. She came to me during a time that I needed to practice self love and self care, and she would be my constant reminder.

From the beginning I took her painting with me. I figured if she’s gonna be a callejera, it was gonna be because I was a callejera as well. I also took her to work bc someone had to feed her, she was too little to feed herself. Everyone at work loved her, including my boss. Chikis would fall asleep on my supervisor’s lap as she worked on the computer typing away reports. I would sneak her around in my purse, she fit perfectly, she was the size of an orange.

Chikis grew up and was no longer little. She became far from little. She gained excessive weight due to a liver problem. She also became blind and was no longer agile.  She never stopped being sick and was always having digestion problems. I took her to several vets but no one could tell me what was really wrong with her. Vets are expensive and I didn’t know what to do.

It made me sad to see her over-weight, unable to clean herself, and always bumping into things. She was smart and found her self around the apt., but she was also becoming sicker. I couldn’t take it any longer. I had to make the decision to put her to sleep. I asked my co-worker for help and she went with me the morning of March 17th, 2011 to put her to sleep. I sat in the car with Chikis asleep on my lap. When i was ready i put her in a box carrier and went inside the office vet. I sat there and signed all the paperwork crying my eyes out. I signed and paid and had boogers running down my face. I was a mess. The vet just looked at me confused. I was so sad. I said one last good bye and walked away. I cried my eyes out the rest of the day. I became sick too.

Who knew a cat or a pet could cause so much emotion. I love Chikis. But I promise to never take up another animal until i have my own home with a backyard where my pets can play and be happy. I want to have chickens, ducks, dogs, and cats. Maybe some rabbits too. I’ll make a little altar so that all my pets can honor her. She was my first pet and she taught me so much love.

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Reparando

5 May

What is the saddest thing you could ever learn about?

My answer is: Guatemala

Yes, my parents land, my ancestral land. Guatemala is a beautiful place. Undeniably so. Beautiful mountains, tall volcanos, magical lakes, lush jungles with rivers birds, flowers… the culture and the colors shake your senses… and then there’s our temples and pyramids.

So why is it sad? Our history is sad. The longest civil war in Latin America took place in Guatemala for 36 years. Genocide swept our little country under the guise of killing “communists”. Femicide began during the Genocide and continues presently. Young men join the Maras and kill and threaten everyday struggling people. Police and politicians are corrupt and have created a culture of impunity. But when you learn that all the present tragedy is the result of U.S. Military funding, CIA operations, and dictator installations taught at the School of the Americas in the U.S., its devastating and frustrating. And when you learn about what the genocide looked like, how it massacred hundreds of indigenous villages, raped and murdered womyn, and left thousands of children orphaned, your heart breaks.

With all of this in mind, I still took myself to watch a film about Central America’s largest slum dwelling, La Limonada, in the capitol city of Guatemala. (Thank fully i wasn’t on my moon or headed there, the last time I watched a film about Guatemala before my moon, i was in mourning for over a week) Unlike Killer’s Paradise or Discovering Dominga, the film “Reparando”, offered a sense of hope. This film offered a beautiful story of two hard working community organizers in La Limonada that endured difficult challenges in their lives such as domestic violence, immigration, child abuse, and drug abuse.

Tita, is a womyn that began a little school in La Limonada to offer some hope, love, and a safe space for children growing up next to the biggest land fill in Guatemala. The children in La Limonada have scavenged through the trash for many years but through Tita and the school they are educating themselves and creating positive futures in their lives. Shorty, is another protagonist in the film. His father was disappeared during the war, his mother fell victim to drug abuse after her partner’s death, he found himself being raised by the streets. When he was ready to change his life, he came to La Limonada and opened a church and drug rehabilitation center. Their stories are powerful and heart breaking, but their resilience and empowerment lifts you back up. It was an amazing journey to sit in the movie theater and learn their stories and the stories from La Limonada.

Reparando means to repair. This film was created with a positive intention of telling the story of people trying to heal themselves and their communities. The film itself came about from a husband and wife that adopted their children in Guatemala. After learning about Guatemala’s history, genocide, and potential future that their children could have faced, they decided to find a way to help. The film Reparando is one way.

After the film screening I bought a DVD copy. In the past I have seen these films about my home country and have felt alone. There’s a strong need inside of me to share the film with others so that they could understand where I come from. In the past I have done film screenings for Killer’s Paradise and Discovering Dominga because I needed more people to know about Guatemala. I hope that one day I can do more than film screenings and travel to Guatemala with friends and show them the beautiful. Unless you go there, there’s no way of fully comprehending how beautiful Guatemala is. Anyways, if you guys can, please support this film. Any donations to this film production will do the following 3 things: (1) Fund the construction of a bakery for the Drug Rehab Center in La Limonada, (2) Give resources to the schools in La Limonada, (3) Fund the production of an upcoming film about street children in Guatemala.

http://www.reparandomovie.com/

Watch the trailer here: http://vimeo.com/athentikos/trailer01

Over Qualified

4 May

I had searched early on for a summer camp opportunity to work with youth in the wilderness. I found a beautiful project that took young 8th graders to a 4 week camp in Wyoming to grow, learn, become inspired, and set themselves on a path to college. Relating to the experience these kids were about to have, I spent days working on a perfect resume to reflect my qualifications for this position. I applied and I waited.

Rrrring. Rrrriing. I was called for an interview and I was there, dressed up and happy to be given the opportunity to explain why I wanted this job, why I would be so good for it, why I cared for these kids without even knowing them, and why it would have been perfect all around. The interview was long, I answered everything to the best of my ability, I was honest, and I felt good about it. I walked away feeling that I had done everything I could at that point to get this job. I gave them every reason to hire me.

 A month later I get an email. Im over-qualified and they decided not to give me the summer camp counselor position.

 How do you take in such news? Do you feed your ego? Yes. Do you feel disappointed? Hell yes! Do you think it over and over ?… I don’t want to. Hence why I’ll write it about so I can let it go and move on.

Perhaps I was looking for something outside of myself to give me greater life satisfaction. Perhaps this, that, and the other. But perhaps, it just wasn’t meant to be. Why? Idk yet, so I have to move forward and keep trying my hardest at life. I really can’t spend these next few days thinking about their decision and why it was what it was. Everything I could possibly imagine would just be assumption. Instead I’m going to have to look within and figure out what it means at a higher level to be denied bc I’m “over-qualified”.

 I shake my head. And carry my heart forward. It would have been nice to spend the summer with a bunch of kids under the trees by the river talking about the future. It would have been nice to center myself far-away from the city. I’m gonna let go of whatever beautiful pictures I created in my head when I looked forward to this job. Now I have to create new pictures for another summer where I wont rely on someone else to tell me whether or not I can have it. Im a capable being, and my summer will be everything I want it to be. 

With that, i’ll walk away with this song by Selena, “Desprecios”, i love her !