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What Is The Mexa Tze’?

by Susana Raymundo

The Mexa Tze’ is what we call a backpack today, only made of wood and the straps went around the head. It’s where my grandfather carried my grandmother when I was very small and had to go to the cotton, sugarcane and coffee farms, to work for a little money.

The Mexa Tze’ was also the place my ancestors carried the invaders so their feet would not get muddied or the soles of their boots get worn.

When walking in the villages of Xela we see women carrying their babies on their backs with a rectangular or square shawl, which were woven by themselves or by the oldest daughter.

The ends of the shawl cross the chest, which hastens the fall of the breasts. As the back bears the adorable burden, they need to use their head to carry the vegetables, fruits, grains, chickens and turkeys which they can’t carry in their hands because they need them free for any emergency.

If a woman has to cook food for the family, the man of the house needs to go to the mountains to cut an old tree, chop it in pieces and tie a rope with a special knot in each end, to hold the backstrap placed on the head, to take the wood home. “Plass” is the sound of falling wood and the woman with her baby in arms hurries with a drink in hand, for if she doesn’t take her man a drink quickly, she will get a kick from him, like a horse.

We no longer use the Mexa Tze’ to carry the sons of bitches. We are tired of doing it. Our back is hunched, but not broken, and can be straightened with physical therapy.

And those who are used to carrying baskets on their heads must now at least use hand carts to carry things and avoid twisting our necks.

The breasts will fall one day, but it’s not because we carry our favorite burden for a long time on them or on our backs.

Let’s fix the leg of the horse and put the noose for firewood on their feet, allowing them to walk to the fire where they can drink and serve themselves.

He is tired, but I am, too, because I care for the children, clean the house, make the bed, go to the market, make the food and barely have time to make myself pretty for him.

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