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from the October 2005 issue

La Pesicola

"As you see, that was how our Creator lived, He who created everything and He who created man. He never walked like men. While he lived on earth, He always kept himself holy. He never sinned despite the lashing he received from men. Now that He is resting beside His parents, He is found to be much more holy than before. As you reflect on your actions, you will see yourselves that many things you do are not done as God commands. We are not trying to use this to get rid of your customs. On the contrary, we are trying to help you to continue developing them, but without forgetting the word of God. Tomorrow we will see another film. For now, we should go to sleep, it's already late. Until tomorrow...." So the teiwari1 said after the movie ended. Meanwhile, three of his pals were guarding the movie equipment.

The next morning, I went to take a bath in the stream. Before I got there, I met a teiwari wearing dark glasses who was lying in the shade of a pine tree. His head was resting on a thick root that came out of the foot of the pine tree. He asked me, "Where are you going, my friend?"

"I'm going to take a bath." That's what I answered, and I went straight to the stream.

There, I happened upon three boys who made a game of sliding down into the water. They were about four years old, because I recall that they did not really understand when I said, "I, too, want to bathe. Don't dirty the water," and they went on playing.

The biggest of the boys did not understand me. His name was Tsikiri. That's what his brothers called out to him to get him to pay attention to what they were doing. They were fascinated by their game. It didn't matter if their seats were worn out, because it was for their own enjoyment. Their underpants were not sufficient to cover their behinds, but that didn't worry them. They were grabbing the branches and climbing up the hill and then letting themselves slide down in various ways: sideways, sitting curled up in a ball, sitting with their legs extended, lying down with their arms outstretched. In other words, there were many forms and styles. The best one looked more like a tobogan than a slide, the difference being that here they were lost in a cloud of dust. Once their skin could not endure any more rubbing against the ground, they decided to give up on the place, and they went to their house which was nearby.

When I was undressing, Tsikiri came by and he said, "I too am going to take a bath. My mother told me to."

I didn't say anything, but I kept looking at him. Some time had passed since he took off his shirt, and now he had decided to bathe, which is why he was taking off his pants.

"Is it true that I'm going to take a bath with your soap?" he asked.

How is it possible that a creature like this and I could understand each other? Why did this boy touch my sensibilities? So I thought for a second, and I answered him, "Yes, you are going to bathe with this. It is yours, too."

"Doesn't it smell good?" he said, as he was soaping up his head.

I left him alone for a bit. He was throwing dirty water on his head. Since I was undressed, I hurried to suction clean water from the dam through a bent plastic tube. The people around there always sucked water through with a tube to bathe, but I was not able to get it out. I tried to do the same with a lot of trouble. With great effort, I was able to get a mouthful, but the rest went back where it came from. Then with all my effort, I succeeded in getting it out.

"Look! It came out! Come here," I said.

I threw water on his back and on his head. He didn't let on that it was cold. The only thing that he showed, without moving from his place, was a flicker of his eyes. Who wouldn't jump with such cold water? I'm bigger than he is and I was jumping.... But I'm not from here. I'm from a warm place, which is why I was jumping so much. People around here think this is a warm climate, but for me it's winter and the water is so cold I can barely touch it.

I soaped him up and with a rough stone I cleaned off the filth that had accumulated on his feet. I left him clean and well washed. After he dried himself off in the sun, he said goodbye to me. "I'm going with my mother."

"Yes, go, but be sure to put on your pants."

"No I'm going to put on a different pair."

He just told me that and went to his house with his clothes in his hand. In a short time, I heard his father ask, "What were you doing there? Were you taking a bath?"

"Yes, yes, I took a bath. He bathed me with his soap," he told him, pointing toward me. And in that way, he avoided the scolding that he would get from his father.

Who gave us this place to live in? Why didn't he have a little compassion rather than leaving us ground down? Here we now have barely enough to suport the strangers who come spewing out a thousand arguments. I think that for these people, it's easy to get horses and vehicles. The thing is, in places like this, they bring them as though they were of little worth. They claim that the horses they bring are Arabians, and because of that, people should appreciate them. They say that in one day, they can mount ten mares and still feel like doing more. In other places in our country, they do the same thing, which is not charging a peso to the owners of the fortunate mares because their mission is to serve people who need help. They don't sell them because they are too expensive. They just offer them to those who count on the mares so they don't lose their ability to handle them. They think the horses that we use are deformed. They say that to get back to their original state and to make ears stand up again, they have to breed them with Arabians. Who knows what more they discuss with people? But that's why they brought them here and here they are.

Many times, before the sun has risen, they are already bringing the equipment from the wagon. They put all the apparatus and accessories that they need. I don't know exactly when the people come, but when I look around I see a lot of people watching these things. And as soon as it gets dark, we all begin to take our seats. When the movie starts, we all stand up to get a better view.

After my delicious bath, I came to the heart of Tateikie. There, in the same place where I had found him before, in the place where Our Mother lives, he was still lying. "What can this person be looking for?" I thought, and went toward him.

"How is your rest?"

"Terrific! I would like never to have to give up this shady place."

As soon as he said this, he sat down. For quite a while, he looked me over top to bottom. Later he asked me, "How cold is the water?"

"It's very refreshing, just what you need in this weather."

I told him that and looked around behind me. I accidentally bumped into his wagon, which claimed my attention for quite some time. On the door there was an inscription that said, "Evangelistas, the word of God." I quickly turned away and again I asked, "Now, what picture are we going to see?"

"The Life of Jesus Christ."

"Oh, how good! Yesterday's movie had a lot of violence and there were scenes of prostitution."

"Yes. That's why we're going to have something different. So with this comparison you can ponder many things, you will be able to know for example if yesterday's was the good one or if it's the one we're showing now. But you yourselves will think it over and decide what's for the best."

"And if we don't think about it?"

"Then you simply wouldn't have a place in Paradise. How are you going to reject the values of Our Lord? For that alone you wouldn't be accepted."

"Is it really possible that you could see a god in a movie? Nobody ever told me that."

"Well you Huicholes are nothing more than devils. What would you know about God!"

"No. Don't say that. We have our gods for whom we keep very respectfully. Certainly, not only one, but many."

"You see, already? You yourself just finished telling me that there are many gods. This is not so, you are lying."

"How could I be lying? If I was, my gods would punish me."

"No, no. You are really going in a bad direction. It's not the way you say. Imagine that I said the same thing and I got sick. I hope the same thing doesn't happen to you."

"Neteteima and Netutsima2 know very well that I don't lie. And if I got sick, they would not abandon me, they would do everything posible for me to be regain my health."

"No, I can't talk to you."

"Then who told you to come here? You just got here and now you have to put up with what I tell you. If you don't like it, you can go to where you say your God is, and take care of him over there and no one will say anthing to you."

"God is everywhere, here present among us."

"I don't see him... Can you show him to me?"

"You really want to see him? Come closer, kneel and we shall pray."

"I'm not crazy like you people, why would I kneel?"

"Well, you're asking me?"

At this moment I did not want to answer him anymore. I stood there in silence. In the meantime, he went on sitting shaking his head with a piece of straw in his mouth.

It would be better if I let him alone.

"I'm going right now. In a while, when the movie starts, we'll see each other again."

"Okay, that's good," he said.

There was nothing more to do but go back to the village. What else could I do with them? They had been coming here for a while. Moreover, I think they had asked permission from the authorities to hold these events. At least, that's what the stranger told me. For this reason, there was nothing more I could do by myself.

Where else could I go? The village is so small that I couldn't go anywhere without running into my friends, because that's how they deal with you. I didn't know at what moment I came upon the big fuss. It was mainly the schoolchildren who took the area right in front of the screen. Older gentlemen, accompanied by their wives, had reserved their place. Where else could they go, if the young people, my friends, took the back part so they could make a commotion? Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw my friends and they all looked frightened. Further up front, I accidentally bumped into Tskiri. He sat in the section closest to the screen and he did not blink his eyes, not even for a moment. I thought he was feeling the cold, because now and then he folded his hands, and at other times, he made them into fists to put them between his legs, but he never changed the position in which he sat. A while had passed since he had been frightened by the dream, but there was not a sign of a yawn, his dream had distracted him with something he had never seen before in his life. Everyone had lost their sense of time. Nobody was moving, although it was very late. All the older people were wrapped in blankets, and we hardly showed our eyes or even our noses. Again I looked toward Tsikiri and I saw tears falling from his eyes. It was the part when Christ carries the cross and the Jews are whipping him. I think it was because of this that they couldn't take their eyes off the screen.

"As you see, we have again brought the life of Jesus Christ to you. This is the God to whom we refer, born without sin and bringer of the truth. During His childhood, or His youth, He was not like us. He was always God and He continues being God. Very soon, you yourselves will come to understand that it is so. After this, we will continue to show other films. Tomorrow, we will show a violent one where men kill each other with pistols because of a woman. All the children, young people, and adults are cordially invited to tomorrow's film. I wish you good night."

Now we could go back to our houses. It was then that the Tsikiri started to get up. I don't know how he could see me in the dark, but I heard his voice saying to me, "Tunuaraiye, did you see la pesicola?"

I didn't make a mistake. It was him. I answered him quickly.

"Yes, but that's not what it's called, it's called la pelicula3. Pesicola is a soft drink, but with a p: Pepsicola."

"Ah, is it true that tomorrow we'll see another one?"

Just as he asked me, his mother spoke to him. "Let's go, or are you staying?"

"Go, your mother is already leaving. We'll see each other tomorrow."

That's all I told him, and I made a half-turn. Inside, I was not pleased because I had not answered him. But what would I have answered at the moment, since my thinking was the opposite of what he was asking? It's that these people taunt us, and it does not touch their soul to show us their venom, but it was for the best that his mother interrupted to hurry him, thus I avoided explaining the reality of these films to Tsikiri.


1. Mestizo or stranger

2. My mother gods and my grandfather gods

3. Film

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