Translated by Fulano from an article in El Mexicano.
TIJUANA – The woman arrives at the cathedral esplanade. She unfolds a faded quilt she brought in a a blue bag. Between here knees, she places a white synthetic leather bag, so new it still has the price tag. She put her arm through the handle, formed her hands like a pillow, and in a few minutes she was deeply asleep.
She is Mahuana and there are scores of stories about her life, as she has been homeless since the 1970’s. There are those who say her name is María Luisa Castro Valenzuela, and who would be in her 60’s, an that Mahuana (or Maguana) is a nickname for Marijuana.
There are those who say she was a normal woman, no so beautiful with a not so good body and that she worked as a nanny until she fell into alcoholism, which made her homeless, as so many other people in Tijuana.
However, the legend is very interesting
It is said that before falling into disgrace, she worked in the “Mi Ranchito Bar,” and was a dancer.
She was described as a dark woman with an exuberant hairstyle (like the Rarotonga comics), and that she danced like a Tongolese, wearing just some small coverlets on her breasts and intimate parts.
“She was famous, not just in Tijuana, but everywhere. There were people who came from afar just with the dream of seeing her dance or to dance a little with her,” said a resident of Tijuana.
It was the boom times for tourism, and the bar totally filled up when she danced.
“I was a kid and a I also felt attracted to see this woman that everybody talked about. I stood in front of the bar to see her when the curtain opened so adults could enter. And yes, she was very beautiful and a great dancer.”
The comes the sad part of the legend of Mahuana
“Sometimes she would get involved with some of the bar customers. One day some Asians came, and they invited her to go out with them. She accepted, as this paid a lot of money. It appears she was drugged and she remained high.
Since then, Mahuana walked the streets. Those who have seen her over the long term of almost four decades have seen here pregnant, and do not know where she went to give birth to her children.
Some people have complained she has yanked their hair as they passed by, or that she has thrown objects, but generally she moves around indifferently among the people who also repay her with the same indifference, just as they do the thousands of drug addicts who roam the streets of Tijuana, each in his own little world.
But Mahuana is the most popular of them all.
Yesterday, she slept on the ground in front of the cathedral, immune to the cold and the passage of time.