The Shade Under the Achiote Tree

Translated by Katrina Hassan When Candido was 7 years old, he emigrated to the capital with five of his cousins. His uncle took them there so they could work and help with household expenses. At dawn they would sell orange juice, atol and bread with beans near Bolivar avenue. During the day they worked at a carwash. At night they would sell corn and christophenes near the Aguilar Batres street and the ring road. They took advantage of the end of the day foot traffic from the nearby University of San Carlos. Candido is originally from Nahualá, Sololá, Guatemala. He…

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Flower Petals

Translated by Katrina Hassan Capitalino sits under a lilac tree while he waits for the next car to come out of the automatic carwash. His job is to dry the cars with a damp towel. It is barely three in the afternoon. He works twelve hours a day from seven in the morning to seven at night, Monday through Sunday. He was been doing this for twenty one years. The smell of lilacs in spring makes him travel through time, even though it is not a flower native to La Magdalena, Chalchuapa, Santa Ana, El Salvador. The smell transports him…

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Daylight Hours

Translated by Katrina Hassan Cayetana turns on the stove and starts heating up the food she will put in containers for her lunch. It is four in the morning. She fills up five 1.5 liter plastic bottles of water that she will drink during her working day. She puts tortillas in her lunchbox that have been heated, wrapped in aluminium and then enclosed in plastic bags. She checks everything is there, the container of rice, beans, scrambled eggs and the tortillas. She puts her knee pads on, double pants, double sweaters, a jacket and her Caterpillar type boots. in her…

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The Furrow and the Daily Wage

Translated by Katrina Hassan Rosa tries to reposition the nylon bag full of oranges that she carries on her back. She is barely able to take a step because the bag weighs fifty pounds. She is short in stature and the bag is half her size. The pain in her back makes her walk hunched over. Rosa has been working in the same job for sixteen years ever since she came to California from Xicotepec, Puebla, Mexico. She barely speaks Spanish. English even less, she know only very few words. Rosa is an indigenous Otomi. She speaks mountain Otomi, one…

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Na hora do sereno

Tradução do Beatriz Cannabrava, Revista Diálogos do Sul Às três da madrugada já têm preparadas os maços de cenouras, beterrabas e rábanos. Lavaram na noite anterior, conseguem os legumes mais baratos quando os camponeses os arrancam de suas semeaduras e os entregam diretamente. Este ano também se aventuraram a comprar cocos para o ponche das festas de fim de ano, embora para consegui-los têm que viajar desde Chimaltenango até Escuintla ou às vezes até Suchitepéquez o que representa um gasto extra e muito forte para sua economia tão frágil.  Os pais de Ixmucané conseguiram comprar um lugar dentro do mercado, depois…

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Su majestad el Rey Pelé

Las generaciones más jóvenes creen que el fútbol se inventó hace diez años y que los campos sintéticos o engramillados siempre han estado ahí, al igual que la cercanía y sobreexposición de las redes sociales que todo lo magnifican a favor de las grandes empresas de la explotación informática y mafias que rodean el fútbol. De ahí que creen con inversiones millonarias en propaganda cada diez años a jugadores estrella que les servirán para la venta de camisetas, audiencia televisiva y entradas a los estadios. Imponiéndoles así a un ídolo a las masas mundiales que son tan manipulables.  Más allá…

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A la hora del sereno

A las tres de la madrugada ya tienen preparadas las redes de zanahorias, remolachas y rábanos. Las lavaron la noche anterior, las consiguen más baratas cuando los campesinos las arrancan de sus sembradíos y se las entregan directamente. Este año también se aventuraron a comprar cocos para el ponche de las fiestas de fin de año, aunque para conseguirlos tienen que viajar desde Chimaltenango hasta Escuintla o a veces hasta Suchitepéquez lo que representa un gasto extra y muy fuerte para su economía tan frágil.  Los padres de Ixmucané lograron comprar un puesto dentro del mercado después de veinte años…

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The Taste of a New Day

Translated by Katrina Hassan Justina cleans hotel rooms for a living, twenty two of them a day. Sometimes it can be twenty five, depending on if any of her colleagues miss work that day. Her shift begins at 5 a.m. and finishes at 7 p.m. fourteen hours in total. Monday through Friday. Saturdays and Sundays she rents a space at a Mexican supermarket. One square meter for twenty five dollars a day, where she sells hand embroidered blankets. She embroiders them on nights when she can’t sleep, and there are many. Money from the blankets pay for her gasoline. From…

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