Talks at Sendas

Photo by Schools for Chiapas

I landed in San Cristóbal by chance, and like many fellow visitors, its magnetic pull drew me right in. Even so, there was much I didn’t understand about my new surroundings. I was lucky to come across Schools for Chiapas, which hosts biweekly discussions at Sendas for anyone looking to learn from this compelling place. The meetings have been integral in my venture to grasp as much as possible about the cultural crucible that is Chiapas, and ultimately, to engage with it consciously.

Among the wide-ranging topics, we’ve delved into the philosophy of Zapatista governance and traced the movement’s evolution, from the Mexican Revolution to recent structural changes. We’ve examined global migration and “Zapatourism” alike, shedding light on their local implications and the North-South dynamics they derive from. We’ve covered liberation theology and evangelical missions, testaments to the subjectivity–and the stakes–when religion and politics mesh. We’ve discussed gender, health, and global development doctrines. We’ve even discussed what it means to be happy. Who decides? And why? Each discussion has charted a new point on a mental map of stakeholders, and their tangled web of interests in the struggle for territory and autonomy.

Digging into local issues has by all means broadened my perspective. Schools for Chiapas has consistently challenged ideas I took for granted, and nuanced my view of the world around me. Perhaps most importantly, these insights have enriched my work outside Sendas, in different spheres such as education and activism.

I strongly encourage anyone passing through San Cristóbal to attend, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4 PM.

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