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Abundance and The Simple Life in Leona Vicario

I love going to visit Eugenia, my Maya friend who lives in the sleepy little village of Leona Vicario. Her home is simple, warm, and welcoming with abundance bursting from every corner.

I arrived bearing gifts, a beautiful blanket from Oaxaca, a set of blue sheets, two bath towels and other household items. As always, the gifts were received with thankfulness. Then I was ushered past a brooding hen in a bucket on a table and into the kitchen where Eugenia gave me a tall glass of sweetened cashew fruit agua-fresca and a charred camote (a bit like a potato) that her husband had cooked buried underground in the pib.

A green parrot prattled away in the corner while I sipped my fresh juice. He was a familiar presence. In the past I had listened to him laughing with the grandchildren as they ran through the house. You can tell a lot about a family based on what their pet parrot says! This one actually laughed! He enjoyed a kind life with the family after having been injured when he was young and being nursed back to health. He was not able to fly much on his own but often made his way up into the branches of a wild tamarind tree right outside the back door. Today he was nestled in his favorite old paint bucket in a shady spot in the kitchen, probably avoiding the heat like the rest of us.

The air in the kitchen was much cooler than the sweltering outside, and sunlight filtered in through the slats in the walls accompanied by a hint of breeze. Through the slats in the walls, I could see another brood of chickens scratching in the dirt. “Can we go see them?” I asked and in less than a moment the door was open to a backyard filled with huge banana trees dripping with bananas, papaya trees with great ripe fruits, and scads of chickens running about here and there.

“We have more than 50 babies!” Eugenia exclaimed in Spanish. She was very proud of all her baby chicks. I asked if they were for eggs or for meat and she used a word meaning to consume suggesting that they would use every part of this poultry blessing.

The chickens tumbled away from the back door and into a newly cleared bit of jungle where Susano, Eugenia’s husband, proudly showed off his new cow, Susy. The cow was very young and would be lovingly raised, then bred and used for milking, and eventually for meat.

A great stack of palm leaves lay piled in one corner of the lot, soon to be used to fix the aging roof of the house. Three bright eyed pups scattered underfoot looking for attention as we moved out into the heat where my hostess introduced me to her newest addition to the family, a very pregnant pygmy pot-bellied pig named Negrita!

Negrita happily left her make-shift cement-block home and came out to greet us, nuzzling her mistress and saying hello to me too. It was a happy afternoon.

As we walked back into the shade of the kitchen, we passed the huge, smoke-stained pot used to cook black beans and soups over an open fire. I remembered seeing Eugenia out there stirring tirelessly one day as she cooked enough food for 20 people. She had such a big heart and in response her home was filled with so much abundance, so much joy.

Happy and full,




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