ALBERTA SAN AGUSTÍN VELASCO
Otomí Founding Partner, Mujeres con Futuro
Community of Lindero Chico, San Bartolo Tutotepec, Hidalgo
Como la naturaleza viva
Soy trabajadora con fuerza, justicia y voluntad
Para lograr lo que quiero para mí y los demás
Tanto como las plantas, la tierra y las personas
Para poder salir adelante con grandes logros.
When I turned 31, I became a single mother, widowed with six children. It has been difficult, but I know how to work and get by. All my children are workers.
My family roots are in farming and bricklaying. At school, I learned to read and write, and I participated in many dances. Currently, I am a businesswoman, and I have also been a delegate to my community and an assistant at the local health center. My work is in commerce and a great achievement is that I have a son studying at university in the [state capital] of Pachuca.
The program “Initial education from CONAFE” (National Council of Educational Promotion) came to my house to invite me to work with my community. I don’t have any studies, but I did it anyway. I worked for three years. We brought workshops for children. As a health assistant, they too came to my house to invite me to participate after I worked as a delegate. I helped to start our health center; with my colleagues, we built the building.
I am a leader because I like to participate, and I think that I do good for myself and the people of my village. To be a delegate you have to have knowledge. You have to be a representative. In the community, leadership is different, because there are meetings and people elect you.
[Civic leading] has many angles, you have to work for all of the people, attending to everyone’s needs. And since we think differently, everyone works as they wish, but you have to have knowledge. If you don’t do anything, nothing happens; but, you also don’t earn respect.
I lead by asking others for their opinions. And if my opinion doesn’t convince others, I must listen to others and use the best opinions. I really liked being a delegate. My first term was four years, my second was for three years. I enjoyed the job because I like working in the community to build a chapel or a health center. I am glad that I am able to help people, and I thank them for electing me to get things done. You never expect people to thank you, but you also feel proud of yourself.
The pride I feel is how my community now sees me differently. Since being a delegate, people now believe that I have knowledge. I don’t ask anyone for permission to do anything. What motivates me about my work with my organization is to have better knowledge for myself and for all my colleagues. We come to PSYDEH for knowledge and then we go back to our communities and gather the group or some people and give them the knowledge we have learned. With respect, for them and their opinions, we are going to inspire people to try to change.
In my community, the women are the breadwinners because they are involved in everything. There aren’t many men anymore because they have to travel long distances to find work. The women are the ones who participate. If there is a meeting, only women go. If the meeting is about work, the women dictate what is to be done. It is as if you were operating alone, you have to decide. But I think this is better. Because if we decide it is about cooperation and work, then we will do it.
To achieve some things you have to suffer a bit. It requires leaving your home, it requires money and even some permissions from others. Work is work: the key is to be able to do it.