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Anay's Will to Learn

Anay's Will to Learn: A Woman's Education in the Shadow of the Maquiladoras

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    Anay's Will to Learn
    Book Description:

    The opening of free trade agreements in the 1980s caused major economic changes in Mexico and the United States. These economic activities spawned dramatic social changes in Mexican society. One young Mexican woman, Anay Palomeque de Carrillo, rode the tumultuous wave of these economic activities from her rural home in tropical southern Mexico to the factories in the harsh desert lands of Ciudad Juárez during the early years of the city's notorious violence.

    During her years as an education professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, author Elaine Hampton researched Mexican education in border factory (maquiladora) communities. On one trip across the border into Ciudad Juárez, she met Anay, who became her guide in uncovering the complexities of a factory laborer's experiences in these turbulent times.

    Hampton here provides an exploration of education in an era of dramatic social and economic upheaval in rural and urban Mexico. This critical ethnographic case study presents Anay's experiences in a series of narrative essays addressing the economic, social, and political context of her world. This young Mexican woman leads us through Ciudad Juárez in its most violent years, into women's experiences in the factories, around family and religious commitments as well as personal illness, and on to her achievement of an education through perseverance and creativity.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-74428-8
    Subjects: Anthropology, Education, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-24)

    Anay’s Will to Learnexplores education in an era of dramatic social and economic upheaval in rural and urban Mexico. The guide through that exploration is a young woman, Anay Palomeque de Carrillo,¹ who lived in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, during the early years of the city’s renowned violence. Ciudad Juárez² is a city in Mexico on the U.S. border in close proximity to El Paso, Texas. For most of their history, the two cities were one, separated by the river (once mighty, now a dry bed most of the year) and so close that, from my window on campus at...

  5. ONE Meeting Anay
    (pp. 25-30)

    In the border areas, churches often serve as vehicles for cross-border connections and collaborations. My home, Las Cruces, New Mexico, is about forty miles up the Rio Grande from Ciudad Juárez. In 2002 a friend who is a member of the Church of Christ in Las Cruces invited me to go with a group from her church to visit another Church of Christ in Ciudad Juárez. The purpose of the trip was to worship with the Mexican church on Sunday morning and to visit with the church leaders about helping them replace a section of their roof. I had begun...

  6. TWO Childhood in Southern Mexico
    (pp. 31-53)

    Anay’s family and her experiences as a child are centered in a village in southern Mexico of about forty thousand people. In this book, we will call the village Huixpan. In the summer of 2008, Anay and I traveled to Huixpan to meet her family, friends, and teachers and to learn more about her childhood and her educational experiences there.

    Huixpan is the economic heart of a region that comprises scores of very small farming communities. The village sits on the narrow slope between the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. A venous network of rivers, too numerous to...

  7. THREE Rural School in Southern Mexico
    (pp. 54-64)

    I loved elementary school. In first, second, and third grade I had to walk to Huixpan every day to school. It took about forty-five minutes, and you know my Grandfather did not want me to go alone. So he walked with me to town, then walked home, then walked back to pick me up, and we walked home. That was the first years. In fourth grade the teacher came here. That year, we sat under a tree down the street from Grandmother’sranchito. That was our schoolhouse—that mango tree right there! Then, the next year the government built a...

  8. FOUR Ofelia and the Move to Ciudad Juárez
    (pp. 65-86)

    Anay entered a new phase of her life when she moved to Ciudad Juárez, where she met her husband and began her family. To better understand Anay’s history and her move to the border, we will meet Anay’s mother and examine her role in bringing Anay north to Ciudad Juárez.

    In Spanish, the term for giving birth isdar a luz(to give light, or to bring to light). Anay’s mother, Ofelia, was the little fourteen-year-old who gave light to Anay while her own world was a fog of ignorance, superstition, and punishment. Ofelia herself is a victim of time,...

  9. FIVE School in Ciudad Juárez
    (pp. 87-107)

    Anay never let go of her passion to achieve a full education and attend a university. Her successful experiences in elementary school in rural Mexico motivated her, fueling her confidence and determination. Her path to achieving an undergraduate education serves as a window through which we can peer into unique approaches to schooling in Mexican border communities.

    Ofelia’s actions brought Anay to a location where she could continue her education, but she had to struggle up a hill of limited resources and personal delays. The maquiladora where Ofelia worked, Harnesses of Juárez, hired Anay just as she turned sixteen. Anay...

  10. SIX Maquiladoras and Violence
    (pp. 108-129)

    In the early years of our research collaboration, Anay, Enrique, and I visited many communities on the outskirts of Ciudad Juárez, communities that had sprung up in the past few years to accommodate the 250,000 maquiladora employees. Virtually every member of these communities had recently moved to the city from the interior of Mexico, and when we met them, they were living in temporary houses, most of which were made with cast-off materials. We saw many a house, often no more than a shelter, with a particle board roof held down with old tires to counter the forces of spring...

  11. SEVEN Leaving Ciudad Juárez
    (pp. 130-138)

    Several weeks before Anay graduated from high school, she called with exciting news. She and Enrique had new jobs. An innovative program provided by some level of Mexican government was funding job training for citizens who were seeking work. Those selected would participate in a six-week training program where they received a very small salary along with the promise of a job upon completion of the training.

    Anay was selected for training to work in a quality control capacity for new cosmetologists who were starting their careers, eventually providing on-the-job training for these new hires in the city’s beauty salons....

  12. EIGHT The Missionary and the Beauty School
    (pp. 139-150)

    Anay and her family had moved 1,500 miles away, and I did not hear from her for months. Her computer was not working. She had access to a telephone, but the technology to make calls to the United States was difficult to manipulate and very costly. I tried calling the number she gave me, but the calls did not go through. She could use an Internet café, but the owner raised rates and the costs added up quickly. Also, Anay and Enrique were extremely busy. I was uneasy about their new world and was anxious to know what was happening,...

  13. Epilogue
    (pp. 151-154)

    In December of 2011, the first class of thirty-two students graduated from Anay’s beauty school in Huixpan. In January the new cohorts began, and all sessions were full. I visited her in March, and she showed me three new beauty shops in Huixpan—evidence of her graduates’ first economic adventures. In addition, she had acquired a building and equipment to open her second beauty school in a small city nearby.

    Enrique was enthusiastic as he told me about his church activities involving youth rallies, medical campaigns, and preaching in small communities throughout the area. Anay was his partner in most...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 155-160)
  15. Works Cited
    (pp. 161-166)
  16. Index
    (pp. 167-169)