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Xandu’ after the earthquake

Guestwriter for EL UNIVERSAL, Alejandro González Iñárritu shares a poem by Héctor Yodo from the Juchiteca community in Oaxaca, a month after the deadly S19 quake
Juchiteca community in Oaxaca celebrate Xandu' Yaa' (Day of All Saints) to honor their beloved departed - Photo: Alberto López/EL UNIVERSAL
03/11/2017
11:03
Juchitán, Oaxaca
Héctor Yodo vía Guestwriter Alejandro González Iñárritu for EL UNIVERSAL
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Xandu’* after the earthquake

How will you find the road that leads to what used to be your home?

The streets are full of rubble
The houses of the neighbors have been demolished
In what used to be your home now there is a desolated yard
The smell of cempasúchil is mitigated by the dust
The aromatic incense dissipates in the air

Even so, I will wait for you like every year
Even though now the feasts will be fewer
The altars will not be adorned

But still
I will leave a light on,
not just any light, a light of hope that will illuminate your way.
A light that will lead you to find us and even though we cannot see you and even though we cannot offer you much, you shall arrive and know that we still remember you

Receive this light and this cup of water, with some bread and fruit.
I imagine your journey has been long,
I am sorry if I cannot greet you like in other times

But it just trembled over dampened land,
it rained over what had trembled
and it still trembles over the rubble.

But…
if this year you cannot find the road that leads to what used to be your home,
I wish you a good return to what is now your dwelling,
may smiles paint again our faces on your next visit
and may we celebrate life again
as if not a single tear had the earthquake taken from our eyes

Héctor Yodo
Juchitán, Oaxaca
30 days of the month of 
Xandu’ in the year of the big earthquake.
 
*Xandu' Yaa (All Saints) is the Zapotec celebration that honors the beloved deceased. Bi Guiee' (offerings) are set up in memory of those who have passed away.

 

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