Santa Anna de Valle, Mexico
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Story and Photographs
by Steve Macauley.
 

One morning I awoke to the sound of church bells ringing and fire crackers bursting outside my window. It was the official notice that a wedding procession was about to begin. I grabbed my camera and ran toward the noise. Before long I was not only a part of the celebration but I was also a favorite target of the men walking around pouring shots of the local liquor known as Mezcal.

The revellers refused to take "no thanks" for an answer and by the end of the day I was so looped that I must have gotten distracted and forgot to reload one of my cameras. I'm convinced I took some of the greatest pictures in history after that but they'll never be seen except through the haze of my imagination. The famous Mezcal roll.

 

The cactus used to make the wicked Mezcal, is called Maquey and along with corn and beans it is the big cash crop for Zapotec farmers. But these days, tourism rather than farming, is the biggest money maker in Oaxaca.

Nearly every family supplements its income by making something to sell on the city streets or at one of the city's many markets. Most villages specialize in a particular craft. Some make pottery, some excel in carved wooden figures and Santa Anna is known for its serapes (or rugs).

 

Like most villagers, my host family had two looms about the size of grand pianos in their adobe home. Another common trait of most households was the absence of the young men. As Wilfredo- my host father- had done when he was younger and his son was doing now, many of the men venture off to "El Norte" (the United States) to bolster the family income with whatever kind of work they can get.