For all its natural beauty and amazing culture, Mexico is still a deeply impoverished country. People do the best they can, scraping together what work they can find. But there is no “American Dream” here — for a variety of complicated reasons, it is quite difficult to become a self-made man or woman in this country. If you’re born rich or poor, you’ll likely die that way — unless you immigrate to countries where people are given more freedoms to fight their way out of poverty.
When you leave Mexico City (or any of Mexico’s major cities) you quickly see a different reality. The countryside — once gorgeous — has been burned to clear land for crops, and many people live in simple cinderblock hovels, some with electricity and water, some without. The infrastructure has not been maintained, the roads are littered with deep potholes. People are standing on the side of the road, selling what they can.
My father-in-law — always an observant photographer — took these photos from our minivan as we left one giant oasis, Mexico City, for the small oasis of Malinalco. The two hour drive between the two locales is less idyllic, but beautiful in its own difficult way.
Churches are always the nicest buildings in the poor towns:
Many people still make their living off the earth: