About my photography: I do not create photographs or situations, I grab what happens in front of me, if possible without my interference. I don’ want my presence to appear in my photography (it appears in the image below, but as I noticed these two boys, they noticed me – it was not created). The emphasis is on documentation rather on art.
This post shows a point in time, only 3 days, in the life of Mexican Indians in The Sierra Norte de Puebla in December 1970.
I rented a Volkswagen bug in Mexico City, driving to the northern part of Puebla State. I went to a small town: Cuetzalan (I don’t remember why I chose or who told me to go there), a Pre-Coumbian town with a population of both Totonac and Nahua Indians in The Sierra Norte de Puebla, at the intersection of the Sierra Madre Oriental and the Trans-Mexican volcanic belt. The region relies on agriculture (recently tourism infrastructue has been implemented), with coffee the main cash crop.
From Cuetzalan I hiked for 3 days in rugged montainous terrain to three Totonac and Nahua Indian villages (Jonotla, Caxhuacan, Ixtepec, all Pre-Columbian), using mule trails. I slept in Indian houses, eating their food, which had its consequence… On the last day, on my way back to the last village with before Cuetzalan, I started feeling stomach pain. Arriving at the village the pain became excruciating. Fortunately there was a Catholic father who took me to Cuetzalan in his old car. During three days and three nights the pain was unbearable. An old doctor, who, I was told, had participated in the Zapata revolution, had no clue. On the third day, a Sunday, a doctor from Mexico who had come for the weekend as a tourist, said I should take an antibiotic. Fortunately there was some in the local pharmacy (owned by the old doctor!). I soon was better, but I was so weak that I had to hire someone to drive the rented car back to Mexico City.
Looking at the satellite maps and zooming in on the villages I was surprised that now (2018) there are hotels, internet cafes, taco restaurants in these once relatively isolated villages…
Maps and Links:
Sierra Norte de Puebla Wikipedia article.
From Wikipedia: Map By Yavidaxiu – Own work, Public Domain, Link Relief map of Puebla: Mountain ranges in Puebla state. Includes the Sierra Madre Oriental and Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt.
Rio Zempoala, which flows into rio Apulco, a tributary of rio Tecolutla (indentified as Tecolutla on map – all tributaries of rio Tecolutla are called Tecolutla on Google Maps). Map from Google / MAPHILL (hybrid map).
Enciclopédia de los Municípios e Delegaciones de México:
Puebla State Click on Region II, Sierra Nororiental, then on Cuetzalan, Jonotla, Cahuacan and Ixtepec for inforantion on the respective municípios (or click on the 4 links below)
Caxhuacan link “El municipio se localiza dentro de la cuenca del río Tecolutla y es bañado por varios ríos provenientes de la sierra Norte.”
MAPHILL FREE MAP
Go to full screen on top right (there are 4 different maps – you can navigate from one to another).