Hermenegildo Catzín has dedicated his 62 years to his lands, the planting of the corn, and to his family in his native Cuzamá. But one day the daily routine changed, when the farmers from the Cuzamá area were taken to the Maya underworld, to the most wonderful cenotes (sinkholes) network in the world, created after the fall of the Chicxulub meteorite.
This is how the first touristic cenotes started in Yucatán: the ones from Cuzamá, namely Bolonchoojol, Chacsinicché (“tree with small ants”), and a third one, the smallest, “Chan Uzil;” and a new way of life for Hermenegildo and many other farmers, who joined this touristic activity with the famous “truck,” a platform moved along rails.
Hermenegildo wouldn’t change the last 23 years of his life dedicated to telling people about his culture, his roots and ancestors, and the Maya language, alive with traditions and customs. He says his biggest satisfaction and pride is when the visitors are amazed the moment they hear him speaking Maya.
He opens the doors to his heart to all the travelers, to share the history of his father and grandparents, when the Hacienda Chunkanán was in full production of “henequén” or sisal as it is known throughout the world.
“I tell stories about the Maya, my people: about the ‘aluxes’ that do exist, and about the ‘Yum Kaax,’ lord and master of the countryside: they are my roots; and how the Maya names are pronounced, which all the tourists love. The ‘cheles’ (white people) are the most amazed! They think the Maya no longer exist, but when they live these experiences they love it. Their faces light up,” explains the father of seven.
More than transporting the tourists in his “truck,” Hermenegildo enjoys his day-to-day life, and he also learns other people’s’stories. In any case, he believes that there are no more beautiful stories than those of the Maya.
The years have taken a toll on Hermenegildo; an accident in his youth damaged his left eye, and three years ago “Canelo,” his beloved loyal horse, departed on his own journey to the underworld.
“Now I have another ‘Canelo.’ They are part of our family. I will keep going as long as my body will let me; only God will have the last word.”
Interview by Yucatan Concierge
Luxury Private Tours of Merida & Yucatan
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