Nov 8, 2011

Bacadehuachi, Mexico

Bacadehuachi is a miniscule ranch town of about 1500 people in eastern Sonora, Mexico. Set in a gorgeous valley alongside a perennial stream and surrounded by the towering Sierra Madres, this town was home to my great great grandparents, my great grandparents, and my grandmother for the first fifteen years of her life.

Since moving back to Tucson, we have wanted to make the pilgrimage down to Baca. The opportunity finally presented itself to us. We packed up the Tacoma and headed south across the border to a little known corner of the planet that plays an integral role in my ancestry.

On the long drive we were awestruck by the stunning and absolutely untouched beauty of this part of Mexico. Once the road heads east from Moctezuma, we wound our way through incredible mountain passes and lush lowlands until we arrived, eight hours later, in Bacadehuachi.

My Great Aunts Teresa and Lydia were in town for Dia de los Muertos. We watched the small parade of school children, admired the idyllic church and took many strolls through the simple streets.

Amanda took to documenting the Dia de los Muertos annual grave maintenance. During this important holiday to honor the dead, the cemeteries in Mexico sprout with life and fresh colors overnight as families visit the graves. They spend the day repairing fallen tiles, painting worn engravings, and replacing dead or faded flowers. We were able to witness this transformation firsthand and even help to decorate the graves of my great great grandparents.

We spent countless hours eating homemade food and chatting with distant relatives over bottomless coffee and endless memories. We learned about the history of this town, how Geronimo’s army used to raid it for supplies, how my great great grandparents were both teachers in Bacadehuachi when the town was only accessible by horse.

It was a magical trip to the motherland, one that I intend to make again sometime. Amanda had a wonderful time documenting my family and enjoying the beautiful scenery and hospitable people.

After all these years of telling everyone I am half Mexican, for the first time I actually believe it to be true.

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