fiesta, originally uploaded by jenniferlarson.

We had a party on our last day in the Chicueyaco community, with a pinata, bubbles, games, and many homemade tacos. About a hundred people turned out.


mother and daughter, originally uploaded by jenniferlarson.

This morning the three women in our group were invited to Juanita’s house (left) where she lives with her 84-year-old mother. There are no roads to her house–we traveled down a rocky trail through coffee trees with views of the mountains and lush valleys below.

Juanita’s mother speaks only Nahuatl. Our trip leader, Laura, translated our many questions into Spanish, which Juanita translated into Nahuatl. Then the answers would come back in Spanish and then English.

tortillas, originally uploaded by jenniferlarson.

I don’t know if I mentioned this earlier. I went to Mexico with Global Citizens Network (GCN), a nonprofit I work for as a graphic designer. They lead volunteer/cultural immersion trips to indigenous communities around the world where they help with community-led projects. About a month ago I asked them if they would like me to go on one of their trips sometime to photograph. They said yes, and three weeks later I was in Mexico! I’ll be working on a story of my adventures and the experiences of the family that was on the trip. So if you have travel magazine contacts, let me know.

Today we went to Chicueyaco, the village GCN has been working with for a number of years on a health center for their village. We helped them build a bathoom and patio outside the small health center building. Our work consisted mostly of carrying bags of sand and gravel for concrete down a steep trail about a 1/3 mile long.

We ate some amazing food on this trip–especially these handmade tortillas. When were were in the village each day, we were welcomed into this home for lunch. This is Concha making tortillas. I love the slap, slap, slap sound of forming the tortillas.

palm sunday, originally uploaded by jenniferlarson.

Palm Sunday procession in Cuetzalan. The procession started in one church and wound through the rainy cobblestone streets to the cathedral. This statue of Jesus on a donkey was carried by men the whole way. Jesus is wearing plastic sheeting and poncho to keep dry.

voladores, originally uploaded by jenniferlarson.

Today we traveled to the mountain town of Cuetzalan, where we spent much of our time. We stayed in the Hotel Taselotzen, a hotel run by a collective of women from five indigenous communities. They money they make from the hotel goes back toward their communities.

One thing Cuetzalan is known for is its voladores (flyers). Five or more dancers climb up a wooden pole almost as tall as the cathedral. They get back to the ground by “flying” upsidedown by ropes, rotating around the pole, slowly lowering them to the ground. (I’ll post a video.)  This voladore stays at the top while the other dancers fly down, helping to rotate their ropes.  Then he slid down on a rope.