A Jungle Village
Our State of Oaxaca has some 32,000 rural villages. Many are very isolated due to distance and mountains that are difficult to navigate. Understanding the worlds our students come from helps us help them adjust to a modern world.
When young people come from these villages to work or study here in the capital, they experience culture shock, and feel out of place in, what is to them, a high tech world. Many express their lack of family, friends, genuine connection with others, to name a few.
In Fall 2020 two of Casa de Kids’ supporters, Karen and Tom, expressed interest in visiting a remote jungle village about three hours northeast of us here. They’d read that one of our students was from a village called Santiago-Cuasimulco that was only accessible by hiking in on foot. I was delighted by their interest in the students and we planned a visit.
In May, the three of us drove high up into the mountains and down the eastern, tropical side. The town of destination is comprised of just 19 houses. It was settled about 50 years ago, and is the birthplace of our third year student, Eraclio Santiago. He’s studying Mechanical Engineering in Oaxaca city, with an emphasis in aviation. He’s flown only once in his life!
The town is situated on the side of a steep lush mountain. Their new rough road isn’t yet completed and not in operation. So, hiking in and carrying everything is the only way to get there! We carried with us school supplies and clothes for many of the town’s children. The village just got internet two years ago; low voltage electricity comes from solar panels. This means no one has appliances nor computers.
What did we learn about Eraclio’s village? There’s little to no employment, with little cash in use. There’s no doctor, no store, only cell phones to access the outside world. Windows have few coverings and latrine toilets are the norm. Their diet is simple, comprised of what can be grown nearby or carried up the mountain. The young people who leave for a better life, face an uncertain future, not knowing how they will fit into the outside world. The ones who stay face a tough life similar to their grandparents 50 years ago.
What did Karen and Tom think? Check out their experience by clicking here