CHIAPAS – Four days of training were spent together with 220 children of the
indigenous Tojolabal and Tzeltal communities at the 17 Novembre Middle School
(secundaria). The course held by our own Juri Monzani and Silvio Guareschi
captured the attention of the participants who showed up for the occasion on
overcrowded trucks from the Altamirano and Ocosingo regions.
The Inter Campus visit followed the rhythm of everyday life of the children
from the "Escuela autonoma municipal" school. A wake up at 6:00, two
morning workouts with 80 children broken up with the traditional ‘desayuno’
(breakfast), a mid-day ‘Pozol’ (drink made from corn) then a theoretical and
practical course with ‘educadores’ until 15:00 (the hour of the ‘comida’ meal).
From 16:00 to 17:00 the ‘baño’ (bath) for which 400 people, first the women
then the men, arrived on foot after a 10-minute walk down the steep
mountainside to reach a refreshing artificial waterfall. At breakfast and lunch
everyone lined up with plates and utensils in their hands, after a very long
queue, to load up on rice and beans.
There was a very high rate of participation witnessed for young girls, many of
whom wanted to put on shorts for the first time in their lives, replacing their
traditional long skirts. The Nerazzurri colours mixed with those of their
thousand-year-old garments, creating a vibrant and exciting mixture of colours
Inter Campus in Chiapas shares its teaching methodology with children and
educators in order to support the gradual development of the educational system
of the Mayan civilization, which is represented in the area by the school
system started in 2003 under the name ‘Zapatista autonomous school’. The new
school system is being constructed according to their ideas and needs as a
starting point, and the aim is shared learning. The school subjects (for now)
are history, languages (Spanish and local languages), life, media and
mathematics. Sports still play a marginal and very circumscribed role. The lack
of primary (elementary) schools is still a priority to be addressed by the
independent school system.