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Corona: The Mexican Response

by Prof. Martha Beatriz Ojeda Pacheco

Let's begin with a very Mexican colloquial expression, slang. Híjole denotes amazement, surprise at something unexpected.

It is written with an H, which in in this case is silent, or almost. According to language scholars it is an aspirated H.

The accent is on the antepenultimate syllable (the one before the second to the last; in this case, the first): EE-hoe-lay, or better, EEEE-hoe-lay.

All that is for school kids and their teacher. The interesting and important thing is its continued and frequent use in the daily conversation of the Mexican.

Imagine you are standing on the corner. Passers-by are passing by. You hear snatches of their conversations as they do. Each conversation is distinct, but all have a common theme. They read the current news. What is everyone talking about now? The Mexicans are united by a sentiment embodied in a word:

-A virus appeared, resulting in the inhabitants of the earth looking at each other, looking for each other, hugging each other. Híjole!

-There are more prayers in the streets than in the temples or in the churches. Híjole!

-The elderly are in total danger; they are living history, they are silent sages. Híjole!

-The destitute, the deprived of liberty ... invisible to the pandemic. Híjole!

-The classrooms are empty, the home is full; all day every day. But then, the home is where kids learn first. It is the first school. Híjole!

-The skies without planes, only in its blue the freedom of birds and clouds. Híjole!

-The concierge, the street sweeper, the postman, the driver, the seller ... as indispensable as the health worker. Híjole!

- The stock market focuses all attention on statistics ... when the first value is life. Híjole!

-The big cities are suspended and quiet like the most remote town... vulnerability links us. Híjole!

-This pandemic forced us to see the humanity in our being. Híjole!

-Contradictory news, we run to the supermarkets, to the pharmacies; nerves and insecurity lead to shortages with unprecedented selfishness. Híjole!

Híjole, in the face of the truth that occurs, we must not achicopalarse (shrink / sadden).

This will pass, we will come out of this together and in solidarity.

We will apapachar (cuddle) with the assurance that God exists and there is a mother, common to all, that accompanies us on the most rugged roads: the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Something muy chido (very cool) will emerge from all this earthly convulsion.

El humano bien chingón (an awesome person) and a chiplotudo (someone who takes care of business) will work with solidarity, respect, wisdom and equality with others.

Come on, carnal (friend), play a little music on the way... it's long and curvy!



Prof. Martha Beatriz Ojeda Pacheco is a Caraqueña (from, and still living in, Caracas, Venezuela). She is a lover of educational work, especially in the classroom. She is sure that human beings will do their best to find solutions in the midst of the crisis. She enjoys reading, the love of friends, growth, the personal world and dancing- the happy movement of spirit.

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