This is the first of many Notes from the Field. Dr. Rico and I visited a number of communities in the Ojuelos Municipality (like a county in the U.S.). We settled on three closely cluster communities: La Granja (The Farm), Los Morenitos, and Salitrillos. These villages are remotely situated in the Altos of Jalisco. Altos are the foothills or mountains of the State of Jalisco, in the far northeastern part of the state. From Guadalajara, it was about a four to five hour drive. The last hour of the drive was slow going on bumpy roads. We left Guadalajara quite early in the morning in order to have enough time to do our Needs Assessment of the villages.
The area used to employ many people in copper, gold and silver mines, but most of the mines have panned out. Most of the men have left for work in the U.S., while their wives take care of the families and try their hand at farming. They grow corn and beans and raise goats, pigs and chickens. The land is very rocky and arid, so productive farming is difficult here. Some of the pictures below give a good idea why it is so hard to farm. I will be posting more from this trip soon, so check back!