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Mauricio Córdova

Mauricio Córdova

Industrial Engineer with Sara Lee

Born: Quito, Ecuador
Heritage: Ecuadorian

Mauricio Córdova

Industrial Engineer with Sara Lee

Hello Happy Valentines. My name is Mauricio Cordova. I am from Quito, Ecuador. I was born October 21, 1975 in Quito.

My grandparent from that side, he is Spanish and the one from my mom’s side is Italian.

I grew up in Quito, pretty much since I was a little one, I always liked to go to my grandpa’s farm. He had a bull farm where he raised bulls for bullfighting. In the city, I went to school. To a Catholic school.
We started, the school I went to, a Catholic school in Quito, the capital of Ecuador. I have one brother, one sister. I’m the older of my siblings. Like any boy my age, we play soccer every day. Then I started to play tennis, kinda competitive. I play tournaments. That was my sport of preference. But when I turn a teenager, I started to be more and more related with my grandpa’s farm, helping him out until I got attached enough bullfighting.

I learned how to do that. I did some of that, too. I never became pro because there was a point of my life where I had to choose between college or what I was doing so I went to college.

Since I was younger, I always liked to travel. I got opportunity to visit many countries and my parents.
I graduated from high school. My country had a war conflict between Peru and Ecuador. At that time, when you were 18, it was mandatory for you to go to the army.

I enrolled to the army and get ready just in case this conflict develops and you needed to go and protect the border pretty much. I wasn’t feeling like going to war, I never really believed in war. I always like peace.

So I tell to my parents and they are like, you know, I mean, no one can really force you to do something that you don’t want. And I went to study abroad in France. As soon as I graduated from high school, I went to Lyon, France. I went to high school there. I studied a little bit of French, I get a little bit of it over there, a culture.

I came back to my country and I went to college. I studied agricultural engineering since Ecuador is an agricultural country. We have blessed with the weather. We have no snow the weather is so nice you can grow pretty much everything. So every season of the year, you are harvesting food.

During that time, Ananda’s mom went to Ecuador to study abroad. She stayed at my aunt’s house. That’s how I got to meet, now, my wife. She stayed there for maybe six months. It was the last year of my college. And then she had to come back.

After I graduated from college I told my dad there is a very interesting fair in Minneapolis, Minnesota, it’s called ??, the State Fair where I can get a lot of good ideas for the technology in the agricultural business. So he bought it, he said, “Yeah, yeah, that sounds like a good idea. So why don’t you go and see what you can find?”

But my real thing was coming to visit my girlfriend, which at that time was Lynn, Ananda’s mom.
I came. I stayed a little longer than I was planning to. As a foreigner, I needed a visa to come to United States. My tourist visa expired so I needed to go back. In the meantime, I found a great college, Augsburg College and I got my student visa. So I could come back and stay for longer than only three months. But the condition was going to college and stay there until…

Then I came to Augsburg. It was a pretty interesting experience. It was so different than everything I tried in college. Before I finished college, we got married. My wife got a scholarship to study her Masters in Santiago, Chile.

Ananda was a little baby back then. She was three months old. And we moved to Santiago, Chile for two years. Since my wife was busy in school, I pretty much took care of Ananda every day. We had fun. We lived in a building and in the building the first floor was a kinda like a mall with shops. We got to know the owner of the store. The next door, there was a beauty salon. I learned to dye hair. Pretty much our mornings were having fun at the park or visiting our friends around they were working there.

Then, time came, Linda graduated from her program. And that was almost two years. Her first language was Spanish pretty much even though she loved those Barney videos in English.
We came back and my wife was pregnant with my son, Luca. He was born in the United States seven years ago. And since then, we’ve been here. She works in a non-profit and I work as an industrial engineer for Sara Lee.

During my time in Chile, I was looking for something else to do. I went to college there and I got a technical, industrial license. I came back to the United States and I went to Dunwoody. And I finish an engineering program over there. And that’s how my life has changed from the farm to the industry world.

Currently we are now in Minneapolis. My family now, it’s my two kids and my wife and we have a dog called Sadie. All my family, they live back in South America. I have family in Chile, in Venezuela, and my parents and siblings are in Quito, Ecuador.

That’s pretty much up-to-date what it’s been, my life.

[stories about your grandfather]

That was a very, very exciting time of my life. The farm was in the mountains, very high altitude, where the bulls are pretty much raised wild. They have no contact to humans until they are in the arena.

Every, twice a year, you bring all of your brevanyo. Brevanyo is the group of animals you have together. What’s that in English? The group of…herd. Together for vaccination and control, so…
Our cowboys are super brave because they go all the way up to the mountain with those tiny little horses and all they have is a spear, a long stick in their arms. So they start rounding-up the bulls all the way down to the corrals for checking. But remember, they are wild. So if one of them feels threatened, which is when they are by themselves, then they become dangerous.

So they have the cows and the cows they have the bell; they are tame cows. And pretty much the cows are guys guiding the herd all the back to the corrals. So once they get to the corrals, they check them. They are pretty much trapped and you take samples and see how well they are developing. But you have to separate. Every male has ten females and they live in very far parts. They can’t be together, especially males. Females seem to, they don’t bother, don’t fight. With females, they are tested when they are one, two, and three years old so that are brought to the arena and you try them to see if they are going to be good mothers for the next offspring.

Bulls, you don’t really touch them until they are in the event itself. Pretty much what a bull fight is, erm, it is a tradition from Spain. We, I will say, got it from them when we were conquered. These are a special kind of animals, a special breed. They have the particularity of their braveness, I would say. Instead of backing up, they are always charging at you. The bullfighter has just a piece of cloth on his hands and that’s how he manage to avoid the animal charging at his body.

?? the bull fight in three different stages. The first one, the bull fighter has a big, big piece of cloth where he can really learn how the bull is charging. There are different ways you can tell.

Then he changes the big piece of cloth for a tiny, little one and that’s when he is pretty much exposed because all he has is this cloth and with this cloth you have to manage the charging away from the body.

Then this part is the most dangerous one, which is the bullfighter has a sword and with the sword, he going on top of the bull and trying to get rid of him before the bull gets rid of the fighter. It sounds kind of…when I…in December when we have these festivities in my city, and I took another look at there, but if you are not grown with the tradition, you are not going to like it. Even my wife, they are like, “How can you like it? How can you do that?” But it’s hard to explain.

For me, it’s more of an art. I grew up pretty much in that atmosphere. I got a heightened appreciation. Even though this sounds weird, we really love those animals because we get to know them. The way they, it’s kind of like giving them a lot of respect, giving them the opportunity. Because if the bull does his job in the arena, then that bull is going back to the farm. And that bull is becoming the father for the different offsprings.

Cows, it’s interesting, but the cows really give the baby calves the braveness. It’s the bull itself that gives the novelty, but are the mothers who are the brave one. And you are looking for balance calf is probably becoming a good bull.

So that you know, the president of my country, he is trying to ban bullfights now. So, they were banned in Spain. They are trying to banned now in Ecuador. At this point, probably, if they are prohibited, I don’t think there’s going to be bullfights anymore. Especially in Ecuador and in Spain, they are already banned. They have until 2012, they have one more year and after that, they can’t do that. [Forever?] Hopefully, not forever, but ??.


For The People, For The Mestizo

Honoring Mauricio Córdova

For The People, For The Mestizo
(Honoring Mauricio Córdova Argüello)

Like most countries in South America,
we were conquered by Spain
Back in the 1300's,
before my country had a name.
Where life was routine,
pretty much each day the same.
For the people, for the mestizo
The bull became a symbol
of man against beast.
But to the native people,
the bull is there to teach
Us to live in balance,
with respect and peace.
For the people, for the mestizo

On my grandpa's farm,
we raised bulls to bull fight
That was the most exciting
time of my life
With cowboys in the mountains
rounding up bulls into the night
For the people, for the mestizo

Every bull has 10 cows
and they live far apart
but when they come together
They show courage from the heart
to protect the herd
when threatened in the dark
For the people, for the mestizo

Dressed with a cape and sword
the bullfighter goes on top
of the bull to get rid of him
unless the bull stops
the matador from fighting
For me it is an art
For the people, for the mestizo

I know this might sound strange
but I really love
the bulls that are fighting
For when the fight is done
If the bull survives
The bull then becomes
For the people, for the mestizo

The father on the farm
For the cows of the offspring
Yet the mother is the brave one
It's interesting
When you're looking for the balance
Of what tomorrow brings
For the people, for the mestizo

Like the bullfighter,
The brave matador
Like the bull in the arena
Together we strive for
a life of balance
to live in harmony
From now into the future
To live your dreams

For the people, for the mestizo
For the people, for the mestizo
For the people, for the mestizo
For the people, for the mestizo

Music by LARRY LONG. Words by LARRY LONG with Devrae Hudson’s 4th Grade Class of FAIR School Crystal. Crystal, Minnesota.

© Larry Long Publishing 2011 / BMI