Photo essay: Crossing paths in Mexico

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One rainy afternoon in Mexico, I ran into a church to take refuge – just as the rain started to clamor hard against the tin roof. I said hello to a few girls arranging flowers under the cross and I sat quietly in the back, happy to be out of the rain.

More people arrived, and it became obvious that I was in the middle of a religious ceremony. People knelt on the concrete and began reciting prayers as a woman handed a flower to everyone in the church, except me. After the prayer, everyone took their flowers and placed them under the cross. Once they were finished, the woman handed them out again and began to repeat the prayer. My cold knees hurt, but I wanted a flower. On her second time around she looked up at me; we made eye contact and she walked to the back and handed me a flower. As I walked forward and placed the flower at Jesus’ feet, I could have sworn he looked down and tilted his head with just a little more compassion.

The community of Cerro Boludo, tucked in the mountains of Veracruz, Mexico, is seldom visited. Only a year ago did they build a dirt road to the village, which is only usable when it doesn’t rain for weeks at a time. I found this out the first day when the bus stopped five miles from the village, and three thousand feet below it. As I began walking, I passed a young man carrying a small backpack and stopped to ask where he was headed. He replied as he passed, “to Mexico City, and later, to the United States.” I looked over my shoulder in amazement and thought about our crossing paths.

These photos are intended to communicate the lifestyle in a small village in the mountains of Veracruz. They aim to show the depth of our similarities and the beauty of our differences. The importance of appreciation and understanding from Americans never became more clear than the moment I watched the boy walk down the hill into my world, and I, up the hill into his.

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