ZAPATISTA REBEL AUTONOMOUS EDUCATION SYSTEM OF NATIONAL LIBERATION OF THE HIGHLANDS OF CHIAPAS (SERAZLN-ZACH)

Don Andrés

(Compañero Andrés Aubry,
"Otra vez fertilizando la Memoria")


 

The Zapatista Rebel Autonomous Secondary School (or ESRAZ), through the Zapatista Rebel Autonomous Spanish and Maya Languages Center, shares classes with those who wish to lend support that will help feed  the young students in our secondary school. As you may know, the ESRAZ is a project in autonomous education built with its own resources and the solidarity of national and international civil society. Therefore, the education being designed and carried out is an education not only for the indigenous people of Chiapas , but for the world as a whole. For this reason, the Language Center is a space for exchange and communication with diverse peoples and cultures of the world. Learning Tsotsil and Spanish is a concrete form of this exchange because the classes are offered in a context of the reality of the indigenous people in resistance. The activities offered are part of the educational and cultural exchange and are given in reciprocity for the economic support that brothers and sisters offer to the school. We do not make language yet another piece of merchandise. We do not sell it, but we do share it with all those who are open to this cultural experience and who identify with our struggle.

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?

All those who share our ideal of Justice, Liberty and Democracy for all, in accordance with the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, without distinction on the basis of language, race, religion, age or gender.

You will need a letter of recommendation from an organization or group (social, political, educational, religious, cultural) that will assume the responsibility of your coming to our Center in the Caracol II of Resistance and Rebellion, Oventic, located in the Highlands of Chiapas.  Once you have the recommendation, go to any of the organizations listed below to receive a written accreditation which you should then present on entering Caracol II.

HOW MUCH IS THE DONATION AND HOW SHOULD IT BE GIVEN TO THE ESRAZ FOR SPANISH CLASSES?

In accordance with the general agreement reached by all of the organizations that support us, and based on the principle of fairness, the minimum amount to be given for Spanish classes is the equivalent of 3 days work at the minimum wage of your country of residence. This amount covers 15 hours of classes (3 hours a day for 5 days) and 15 meals (it is our custom to offer lodging without charge to those who visit us). To facilitate the donation process, we ask that the donation be given in Mexican pesos or US cash dollars. The money is given directly to the authorities in charge of collecting donations in Caracol II.

HOW MUCH IS THE DONATION AND HOW SHOULD IT  BE GIVEN TO THE ESRAZ FOR TSOTSIL CLASSES?

The minimum donation requested for Tsotsil classes is the equivalent of 4 days work at the minimum wage of your country of residence. This amount covers 15 hours of classes (3 hours a day for 5 days). However this does not include meals for the week (again, lodging is offered without charge). To facilitate the donation process, we ask that the donation be given in Mexican pesos or US cash dollars. The money is given directly to the authorities in charge of collecting donations in Caracol II.

WHAT ARE THE LIVING CONDITIONS?

Our brothers and sisters who attend classes are housed in one of the cement buildings of the secondary school. Shared bunk beds are provided. It’s highly recommended that you bring a sleeping bag. The ESRAZ prepares meals, which are offered three times a day (breakfast 8am; lunch 3pm; dinner 7pm). All food and drinks served are disinfected. There is running water for showers and bathrooms are shared with the students at the secondary school.

WHAT ARE THE CLASSES LIKE?

Inspired by the Zapatista way, the classes are organized in accordance with agreements reached between the students and the teachers (promotores), that is, we are flexible in terms of schedules and location within the Caracol. The classes start off from activities designed as a base for collective construction. The active participation of all is important to enliven the activities. The activities are divided into two hours of class with a facilitator and one hour of open, collective activities (video presentations on Zapatista resistance; visits to the various autonomous projects in the Caracol II; songs, dance; small voluntary work projects in the school library; classes up in the surrounding hills, the river, under a tree, etc.)

Classes are organized on three levels: beginning, intermediate and advanced. Grammar is only one instrument of many used in class, above all at the beginning level.  Since the emphasis is on the COMMUNICATIVE aspects of language, we prefer not to center ourselves in grammar, but rather in the themes that arise in the exchange and from the use of different didactic materials. A great deal of dialogue and discussion is guaranteed from the outset because of our desire to learn and share what people bring to our school.

P.S. If you could come having recently read the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, it would be a great help… that is, to begin your classes before packing your bags to come to Caracol II, Central Heart of the Zapatistas before the world.

WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE?

The temperature during the day varies between 10 and 20 degrees centigrade (50°-68°Fahrenheit). The nights can be cold, falling to below 9 degrees C. (48° F.). Part of the year Caracol II is covered in fog (As Eduardo Galeano once said, ¨The fog is the ski mask of the jungle¨). A raincoat is recommended year round.

WHERE IS THE CARACOL II LOCATED?

It is one hour from San Cristobal . Take any collective taxi van (¨combis¨) going to Bochil. The fare is 16 pesos to Oventik. The transportation runs between 6am and 5pm. There is no telephone service in Oventik. The closest place with phone service is 20 minutes away.

More information is available at the organizations authorized to accredit language center students.

THE ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE AUTHORIZED TO ACCREDIT ARE (*)

(*) Interested people from countries without an accrediting organization, please contact info@serazln-altos.org