The last few weeks have been amazing! I visited an indigenous community that Someone Somewhere collaborates with, attended a Mexico Independence Day party with my coworker’s family, and went an enchilada fair!
The visit to Naupan, the indigenous community in Puebla, Mexico, that Someone Somewhere works with is already one of my most cherished memories of my time in Mexico. On the trip were the new hires at Someone Somewhere, one of the founders, Fátima, and Victor, a longtime employee of SS. Victor drove the twelve of us to Naupan, positioned high in the mountains of Puebla. Victor does the trip to Naupan twice a week, evidenced by how he expertly maneuvered through the foggy, curvy mountain roads.
When we started getting close to Naupan, I realized it was like no other place I had been to in Mexico. Most of the locals are indigenous and speak Nahuátl as their native language. In the Northern Sierra of Puebla, different communities are dotted across this high-altitude zone. Transportation is limited in this region, and many locals are accustomed to walking long distances to get the different towns.
Many of my friends have heard me this before, but once again Mexico reminded me so much of my heritage country, Yemen. If Mexico City reminded me of similarly chaotic, sprawling, bustling capital city of Sana’a, Naupan was a parallel of my grandparents’ village nestled into the mountains in Yemen. Both situated around 7000 feet above sea-level, the scenery in Naupan was a lush green, similar to what you see in Yemen during the rain season. More than anything, the mannerisms of the locals is what most reminded me of Yemen.
Friendly and curious of outsiders, we got to know the locals in the workshop where SS works with the artisan women to teach them the designs used in our products. Naupan is the first community that SS collaborated with. It was encouraging to hear how working with SS has positively impacted their lives, while also hearing the challenges they are still facing. After lunch, we did a walking tour of the town with the daughter of one of the artisans. She could not have been older than eight years old, but the way her mom trusted that she would be safe walking with us reminds me of the trust that people have for each other in my grandparent’s village.
Naupan is Nahuátl for “over four rivers.” As we walked around the perimeter of Naupan, we were blessed with views of the rivers around the town, amidst run ins with horses, sheep, and cows. I have attached photos of the Naupan trip below!
I was very excited to celebrate the 15th of September this year (Mexico’s independence is celebrated the 15th and 16th), since last year the pandemic meant there were very few public celebrations. A coworker graciously invited me to spend the day with their family. With live mariachi, salsa, and cumbia, and plenty of food, it met all the expectations I had for this day. I also was able to go to the main plaza of Mexico City, where the president does the “grito” to a crowd of a couple hundred thousand. The “grito,” which in this context can be translated as a revolutionary shout or cry, is one of the most iconic parts of Mexico’s Independence Day. I ate plenty of pozole, a hominy stew traditionally made in large quantities in the month of September.
When a friend of mine told me about the 19th annual Enchilada Fair in Iztapalapa (one of the largest municipalities in Mexico City), I knew we had to go. Iztapalapa is known for being the hometown of Los Angeles Azules, one of the most popular bands of Mexico. The genre of music they play, cumbia, is one of the most popular in Mexico and especially in Iztapalapa. I had some of the most delicious enchiladas of my life, while seeing different traditional dances from regions of Mexico that I had never seen before.
Each week in Mexico City I learn more and more about different parts of Mexican culture. I have been fortunate to have found great people who love sharing their culture with me. Excited for what’s next as I approach the halfway point of my Lumos award!