Friday, March 28, 2008

Yay For Awesomeness

My friend / co-worker Liz just finished this great series on the Purepecha, who migrate in droves to Tacoma and South Seattle. Purepecha are a culturally distinct group of people who've lived in part of the state of Michoacan in Mexico for 700-plus years. They speak a distinct language (also called Purepecha) in addition to Spanish.

And, totally weird small world. The place that's considered the capitol of Purepecha culture is this small town called Tzintzuntzan. It's up a mountain and next to this gorgeous little lake. And I've been there! I was there like 9 years ago with my cousin Paul. It was sort of random, but we wound up there and met a whole bunch of interesting people, including the real-life version of Tommy Chong and an Israeli who'd just gotten out of his mandatory army service and was traveling the world. Tzintzuntzan means "Place of the Hummingbird". And we were told it's like otomatopoeia - it's the sound a hummingbird makes as it zooms around. Tzin! Tzun! Tzan! I still remember how just utterly delighted I was when I was told that. I probably clapped my hands and I may have even jumped up and down. And this morning, Liz said that she was told the same thing by an actual anthropologist academic person. My delight has been validated by a scholar!

So. Anyway. Go and listen to the series right freaking now! It's just fantastic. Some of the best stuff I've heard on radio.

And! it turns out our county's public health people are actually meeting with local Purepecha leaders early next week. Someone in public health heard the series and learned that a lot of local Purepecha don't go see doctors for various reasons, including a longstanding mistrust of authority. So they're gonna try to start fixing that and making it easier for Purepecha to get health care.

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