From her home in Tecámac, in the state of Mexico, kindergarten teacher Berenice Cruz video chats with parents to discuss her students’ learning environments and upcoming schoolwork. “I’m going to change the decorations based on the holidays that come up,” she says.
Miguel de los Santos sculpts tree trunks for the Sierra Hermosa Sports Complex in Tecámac, in the state of Mexico. One of his sculptures is a Mexican grizzly bear that went extinct in the 1960s, to raise awareness of the role humans play in the extinction of animals.
Macrina Mateo works on a piece of pottery in San Marcos Tlapazola, a town in Mexico’s Oaxaca state. This community in the Central Valleys region is inhabited by the Zapotec people and is known for pottery made from the yellow and red clay around its mountains.
Alejandro Negrete puts on a helmet he made to look like an axolotl during the Rodada Axolotl 2.0 bicycle demonstration in Mexico City, Mexico. The demonstration was held to protest the construction of a vehicular bridge that threatens a wetland in Xochimilco, a neighborhood in the south of the capital. “It’s an axolotl because the animal is native to the municipality, it has been a symbol of Xochimilco for many years and it’s in danger of extinction,” Negrete says. “The few species that used to live in the wetland have already disappeared. Taking control with bicycles, taking some space back from the cars – which have always had the upper hand in this – is essential. Cars separate you, and bicycles get you to create communities.”
María Luna participates in a Mayan ceremony in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico. The ceremony honors the fifth anniversary of the declaration of the Maria Eugenia Mountain Wetlands as a sacred place. Locals and members of environmental groups gathered to honor life, Mother Earth and nature. The city of San Cristóbal de las Casas lies in a mountain wetland area, but the city’s growth and demand for housing have increasingly destroyed this natural environment.
Cristian Romero, a dancer, producer and the director of the Mas Beat dance academy, performs for drivers at a red light in the El Carmen neighborhood of Puebla, Puebla, Mexico. Since dance companies and art centers have closed, artists like Romero have taken to the streets to share their routines for donations. “We have no choice but to put our hearts into it,” Romero says.
José Ángel Tomas, 83, is a tailor in Guadalajara, the capital city of Mexico’s Jalisco state. He moved there on his own at the age of 12 to learn the trade. “Today, the fabric does not last long,” Ángel Tomas says. “Before, it lasted for many years. Now, they’re finished after being worn two or three times: They rip or lose their shape. Before, a suit was for one’s whole life. Not anymore.”
Viviana Alavés pours beeswax on a candle at her family’s shop in Teotitlán del Valle, a town in Mexico’s Oaxaca state. For residents of Teotitlán del Valle, marriage requires one of two things: asking for the bride’s hand before she leaves home or offering an apology for having taken her before asking. In either case, each aunt, uncle and parent of the groom must bring candles to the bride’s parents’ home. There, the bride’s parents will light each candle as a symbol of the good wishes and blessings the family bestows on the marriage, which will take place when the candles run out, approximately one year later.
Fabián López installs a door in the hallway of a home in Tecámac, State of Mexico. He has offered his services to his neighbors since the coronavirus forced the blacksmith shop where he worked to close. In spite of the health emergency, he’s been able to find enough work to maintain an income.
Manuel Gómez works every night selling tacos, hamburgers, hot dogs, quesadillas and other items from his mobile cart on Avenida Chapultepec, a major road in Guadalajara, Mexico. He says sales have been down between 70% and 80% over the last two months, leaving him more worried about the economic situation than about the coronavirus.
Juan José Gutiérrez Pinal, 47, makes kites at home to sell to neighbors in Mexico City, Mexico. He sells them every February and March, but since his construction job was suspended due to the coronavirus, he decided to sell the kites this June too.
Employees of Jurisdicción Sanitaria, the government institution in charge of public health centers in the borough, disinfect public areas in downtown San Cristóbal de las Casas, a city in Mexico’s Chiapas state.
José Azcona stands in front of his shop in Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico. Azcona is a monero, someone who makes giant puppets for celebrations. All events in Oaxaca have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, putting Azcona and his fellow moneros temporarily out of work. “My puppets have just been here,” Azcona says. “They haven’t been able to go out onto the streets.”
Karen Cerón, right, helps Karla Rey prepare for a dance performance in downtown Mexico City, Mexico, during “Contigo en la distancia,” which means “with you at a distance.” For LGBTTTIQ+ Pride Day, the National Coordination of Dance hosted the daylong event – which included live dance performances, classes and talks – on its social networks.
From left, Pamela Rodríguez Vela, José Ramón Fernández and Octavio Escobar Blancas paint a home in Puebla, Mexico. Neighbors, community groups and nonprofits around the city organized a neighborhood cleanup of the historic city center. Participants were entered in a raffle, and the winner had their home painted for free.
Guillermo Antonio Altamirano Ramírez monitors his cornfield on the banks of the Tonameca River in San Isidro del Palmar, a town in Mexico’s Oaxaca state. The river flooded in August after heavy rainfall, leaving soggy crops and football fields. “No one is denying that this is how nature is,” Altamirano says, recalling when Hurricane Paulina came through the area nearly 23 years ago. “This doesn’t even compare to Paulina. This was just a little flood.”
Herman Vázquez García, better known as Alibastik, sews wrestling masks in Chilpancingo, a city in Mexico’s Guerrero state. Vázquez has been wrestling for more than 40 years, but he slowed down toward the end of 2019 to prepare for his retirement from the ring. In addition to participating in the sport, he makes masks for wrestlers, a trade that today has become part of his economic sustenance. “This job doesn’t make me rich, but it does help me take care of necessary expenses,” Vázquez says.
Erika Martínez and Silverio Arango make bread to sell at the Mercado Alternativo Artesanal in Mazunte, a town in Mexico’s Oaxaca state. “The recipe is the same one we’ve been using since we started almost six years ago,” Arango says. “Except that we improved it by using sourdough instead of yeast.”
César Aceves makes chiles en nogada at his restaurant, Mesón de la Cofradía, in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico. The dish, which features stuffed poblano chiles and a walnut sauce, is offered during August and September because that’s when the ingredients are available.
Roberto García emcees an event on the roof of a home in Ecatepec, Mexico. García has used his talents as a sonidero to entertain neighbors since the pandemic began. “We did it with the aim of paying tribute to the neighbors who had fallen ill or passed away due to COVID and bringing a bit of happiness and music to everyone in quarantine,” García says. His rooftop sonideros gained attention over the months, which eventually led to an invitation from Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Ecatepec, an artist collective, to play in Ecatepec.
Aldahir Díaz Aguilar, left, and Pedro Maldonado discuss operations as they walk through a creole poblano chile farm in Calpan, a region in Mexico’s Puebla state. The duo work with Sociedad Cooperativa Sabores de Calpan, a cooperative that encourages local residents to visit farms to learn about plant cultivation.