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The "May Guinda" as a Young Girl


Edith remembers experiencing the "May Guinda" as a young girl, including the difficulty of finding food and seeing wounded people all around her.


We had to cross the river, which happened at around noon. Some people drowned because the sun was so strong. And when the shooting started , we just ran—my dad, my mom, my little sister, myself, and a woman named Vilma. We got down in a little valley and my mom told us to be extremely quiet. The other woman was so thirsty, she almost had dust coming out of her mouth, so we gave her water from a puddle to help her revive. She was so dehydrated, you see, and then we hid her. Some soldiers passed by very close to us. This close! They were shouting "Comrades! Comrades!" so that we would answer and they could find us and kill us. We stayed there, in that little ravine, until nighttime. When it got dark, we began to walk, and walk, until we got to the river at Gualcinga. We found a man shivering like this—brrrr, brrr—he was dying by a puddle with all his insides spilling out. I remember it really well. He had curly hair and fair skin. My mom got close to him, and she noticed his insides were coming out. She said, "Comrade?"

"No," he said, "I'm a soldier."

My mom said, "Leave him, let's go," and we began to walk again.

In the ravine, there was all kinds of junk, and dead people too. There were so many bodies we had no choice but to just walk over them. No, that wasn't the Gualcinga River, it was another ravine. When we were about to arrive at the Gualginga we met another woman. The moon was so bright it felt like daytime, and we kept walking with her. W e found a soldier that was crying like a small child, because he wanted to be rescued. As we walked down the ravine, we heard someone say, "Comrade María, Comrade María." So my mom noticed there was someone there. There was a woman with a huge hole here, gravely injured. She had taken her apron off and tied it.

My mom told her, "Don't worry, I will tell people to come get you."

We made it to Gualcinga, and we saw a few comrades from Saul's column. He's Berta's brother—her son.

So my mom said, "Saul, please go with a few comrades to fetch this woman. Go, go, right away!"

They went to get her and brought her back in a hammock. That's how we got to Chichilco. We walked so much during the guinda, my feet were bleeding. I could barely walk, I was bleeding heavily. I remember that day we got to a hospital and my mom—there were many wounded people. There were people with broken bones who were starting to heal, but they still couldn't walk, so they put them on horses. So my mom asked someone to let me a ride on their horse. I got on the horse and my feet were so swollen, and so severely scraped I could see my own flesh. I'm not sure who gave my mom some beef lard, and that helped me heal. We finally got there, just beyond Ojos de Agua, and there we didn't have anything to eat. The only thing we were able to get was solidified sugarcane juice. That's what we ate, panela with water from the ravines. We got such awful diarrhea! [Laughs]