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Felipe Arnulfo Rosa

My son wanted to learn Spanish well. He speaks Mixteco. In the town where we’re from everyone speaks Mixteco; there’s very little Spanish. I learned Spanish because I came to Ayutla to work. But I can’t write or read and my son wanted to learn that, in Spanish.

- Damián Arnulfo Marcos

The Arnulfo Rosa family is Mixtec and lives in Rancho Ocoapa, a small mountainside community located in the Sierra Madre del Sur, municipality of Ayutla de los Libres, Guerrero, where there are pines and tigers, and only one indigenous primary school. Felipe’s sister Librada recalls that when he was younger he liked to play basketball, soccer, and marbles, and worked in the fields with his father, Damián Arnulfo Marcos, during his elementary school years.


In order to study high school, Felipe had to move to his aunt and uncle's house in Ayutla de los Libres. He attended the Plan de Ayutla school and then in the Colegio de Bachilleres Plantel 8. During his studies, staff of the Normal of Ayotzinapa went to the Plantel 8 to invite the students to study to train as teachers. Each year, the Normal accepts 140 first-year students and 40 spots are assigned to bilingual young people who speak Spanish and an indigenous language. Felipe, along with four others admitted for the 2014-2018 generation speak Mixteco.


During the holidays and on the weekends throughout high school, Felipe returned home to Rancho Ocoapa to farm with his parents. Felipe cleared the milpa and they planted corn, coffee, beans, and sugar cane. He told his mother he would continue to work while at Ayotzinapa in order to support the family and his two nephews, left fatherless after Felipe’s brother, Victoriano Arnulfo Rosa, was killed in August, 2012. Each time Felipe returns home he brings items to support his family; money, chickens, soap, and for his nephews: clothes, notebooks, and pencils.


Felipe's family lives in a wooden board house with no electricity. The last  time Felipe visited, on August 15, 2014, he promised his father that when he returned in December for vacation, they would cut pine trees together to make boards to build a new house. 


Dominga Rosa, Felipe’s mother has set up a small alter in the house to honor and receive the dead. There she talks to her son Victoriano, before the flickering light of the candles that refuse to illuminate the house completely. She asks him to find his brother Felipe, to take care of him, and to bring him back home.

Felipe Arnulfo Rosa
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