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Photographer's Note

This is a shot from our visit to the Mexican Government run Tarahumara Indian Boarding School on the reservation in Creel. The way our guide explained it to me was that these children all live many miles away from the school and instead of walking 10 or sometimes more miles everyday they live there most of the week. Sometimes they get time in the week to go home and to change clothes or perhaps show their family what they have learned at school. Quite often this is hygiene-related.

The Tarahumara are a very interesting people. They are intensely shy - it was hard to coax the children into looking at the camera or to even make eye contact.

Some folks may think the Tarahumara are poor and backwards. I didn't see them that way at all. They have what they need and have their traditions. They have a splendid land on which to spend their lives. They desire to live on their own without interruption and away from the meddlesome government, abusive drug lords and others who would take advantage of them. Their life may not be the easiest, but I think it is more stress free and in the long run happier than the modern, urban or suburban denizen.

However, no matter how hard anyone tries, they are not immune to progress and change in the environment and corruption to their diets. They have discovered the wonders of Coca-Cola and Fritos and Doritos which cause them to become fat and rot their teeth. Some see the ease of begging from the tourists and denigrate their reputation as a proud people and some tourists, not realizing the effect, give into that begging because they see the Indians as poor and backwards.

These young boys and girls were curious and more gregarious than the normal Tarahumara children, so they didn't have too much trouble mugging for the camera. Unfortunately, one asked for "cooperation" later - it was hard not to give in to him and hand him a few pesos. Rodrigo, our guide, explained that he would probably just spend it on the broken down video game in from of the local store or buy a Coke - either way it would not be good for him.

"Cooperation" is akin to a request for money, but not quite begging as there is normally some sort of trade involved. I suppose in the case of this child the trade was the photograph, but I was cautioned against giving them money for nothing - they must learn that money or even "cooperation" should be earned in some way.

I really enjoyed this trip - it was not only sightseeing, but it was a learning experience. Rodrigo was great at explaining everything we wanted to know and not afraid to spend the time to go into detail if we were interested. Although I understand that many tours go to the boarding school, I felt that our tour was a little more personal as Rodrigo seemed to know the people that run the place well and have a special relationship with them. We also only had five couples in our group, so it made it easier to get everyone into smaller areas.

Anyway, I'm sure there are lots of photos you all want to look at today, so I will quit and pick back up tomorrow!

Have a super day and may there be no reservations in your own life!

chiaretta, pauloog, feather, avene, worldcitizen, BennyV, phwall, ktanska, Glint, zoomer has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Reed Radcliffe (rlrad) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 250 W: 18 N: 393] (1845)
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