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Jamaica is one of the largest market places of Mexico City and is the biggest flower market of all Latin America. Also it is a bastion of Mexican traditions, food, plants and knowledge. It exists since the times of the Aztec city Tenochtitlan, when the streets were water canals and transportation was all done in canoes. Jamaica is special for all of this but even more so because it is a well-functioning cooperative. The vendors called Valentina and asked her to write their stories, the very old ones and the day to day struggle to get the local government to hand over the market´s administration to them. That is how this book was born.

32 indigenous women agreed to speak to an outsider, they told Valentina about their forced migration to the city, about their ancient traditions, about their fear of being women, their shame at speaking their indigenous language. During these chats, sitting together under the water reservoir of the urban shantytown they call home, they shared their memories and collectively wrote the story of their 30 year old struggle against the public forces who wanted to evict them. Valentina lent them her pen because these mazahua women never had the time to learn to read or write. And the day they saw their book published they nodded happily because they agreed that now they had proof that they existed and that it was time to claim a space in the web of living.

In Mexico there are three very violent neighborhoods and each has a community center. In these centers there are many women studying full time to become cosmeticians. The least of their concern is beauty there are more interesting things in life. With their stories they speak of childbirth, motherhood, passion, pleasure, dreams of becoming pilots, psychologists or specialized nurses. With their words they heal the violence that surrounds them in their communities and families, they mend the wounds of rape, poverty and terror.

The community of Guadalupe Ramirez is sad because it has lost its spring water (ameyal in nahuatl); there used to be fresh water running alongside each house, now even the forest is dry, says grandfather Lupe. With their memories they revived the ameyal and passed on their stories to the young ones; as they spoke about the sweet water mermaid, the short chubby ateteos, the spirits of the water, and the great old tree the community came at peace with the loss of their spring.