The here and now... and what and why

Complacency is a trap. At least that’s what I was thinking when I up and left the comfort of a Yankee prep school gig, where I taught music, amongst other things, for 28 years. There was also that life long career as a composer, musician and artist.

First, it was a year in St. Thomas, USVI, working as a reporter and shooting photography and then, a year in San Agustin Etla, Oaxaca, Mexico.
Time passed.
More time passed and a year back in the Athens of America followed by a hasty return to Oaxaca where it is all happening.
A couple of years in San Sebastian Etla and now, just down the road in San Pablo Etla. Life is good.

Click on an image to see it larger.
For additional photography please visit my flickr page.
You can find my music on Jango (World & latin - Worldbeat) and at iTunes and most online stores.
¡Soy consciente de todas las tradiciones del Internet!
If you are coming to Oaxaca, please contact me for tours or advice.

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo
The view from Corazon del Pueblo

The hereafter re me

My photo
Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico
Musician, photographer, videographer, reporter, ex-officio teacher, now attempting to be a world traveler

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Into the belly of the beast

I live near one of the hot spots in terms of protests and blockades.  The stretch from Viguera out to Hacienda Blanca is popular mainly because it is just about the only access from the north to the city and the teachers have intensified their presence on protest lines.
Oh, and school was supposed to start yesterday.  So needless to say it's a mess.  I took the back roads down to check out the action and it was laid back, but highly effective. 
There was zero traffic heading north...nada.

They were letting a single lane in from the north, but I think if was blocked further down because I saw cars jumping the median to drive on the other side of the road.  The freshest chicken......hmmm.
Fresh eggs a'sittin'... and notice the zika, chikungunya and dengue billboard hovering over the scene.  Good times!
 I'm not sure how people got through it.  It looks like the teachers' parked cars blocked the way out.
This was the scene at the Viguera end.
Normally, I would head to Etla for market day, but no way today.  Luckily, I could get everything I needed within a few kilometers.  I was most glad to avoid the mess today, but who knows what tomorrow will bring? ... probably more chaos.  As for the opposing sides in this never-ending, damaging and demoralizing drama.... a pox on both their houses.  Oh, and irony is not dead.
Whatever it will be, I do not think it will be....


Anonymous said...


A question about education. When I was a boy growing up in Iowa, my grandparents' generation mostly had eight years of school (many in one-room schoolhouses). My parents' generation usually finished high school, even the children of farmers. All of my siblings have post-secondary education. I'm not saying all of this is progress. Some countries can be over-educated (South Korea, for example).

But my question is what are the varying levels of education in Oaxaca today? In your photos, I see lots of people working with their hands (wonderful crafts-people). How many years of schooling do they have? My maternal grandparents had eight years, for example, and were successful farmers. How does that compare with people in Oaxaca?

Christopher Stowens said...

I am hardly an expert, but I would say that one's education depends largely on economics. If a family can afford to send their kids to private school, they make it through the equivalent of high school and even to university. However, if the family can't afford that, then the kids go to public schools and may only complete a few years of education before beginning to help the family by working. The inequity between schools and all seccion XXII's work stoppages and protests only make things worse. We are talking decades of inadequate education for the general work force. An under educated work force hurts the state on many levels. Lots of very intelligent people do not get the education they deserve and need to better themselves and their communities.

Also... I taught lots of Korean students and I would not say they were over-educated. They were ravenous and dedicated students. Their culture just has different priorities.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the response.

Is the school on the billboard (Edison) a private school?

Koreans in the US or Koreans in South Korea? Last year I lived in South Korea. Right now in South Korea there's a LOT of social pressure to go to university. The number of students with a BA is very high, even if South Korea doesn't have jobs for them all. The sad aspect of this is that people who are intelligent but don't go to university feel bad about themselves. People look down on them. So, in contrast to South Korea, your photos or proud craftsmen and craftswomen in Oaxaca look great.

Like you, I'm a teacher, and I have lots of questions about the use and abuse of education.

I'm living and teaching in China right now. If you're interested in photos from China, here's the link. I also have photos from other countries where I've lived, too.

I've been following your blog for years now and appreciate all the work you put into it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Here's the live link: