A view of the Oaxacan Mountains from the Simply Smiles Center of Operations, standing from inside our new dormitories.
Downtown, historic Oaxaca.
Downtown, historic Oaxaca City, with its vibrant colors.
Oaxacan mountains, framed.
Instead of barbed wire, shattered glass serves an effective - and pretty! - barrier on concrete walls.
Water insecure: Safe drinking water must be trucked in.
Dona Rosa, unique black pottery from San Bartolo Coyotopec in Oaxaca, celebrated for its shiny finish after firing.
Tree at the Oaxaca City park.
Gardens in San José del Pacífico, a town located 8,000 feet in the Oaxacan mountains.
Street food in San José del Pacífico.
Coffee seedlings at Santa Maria Tepexipana
Loncheria, San José del Pacífico.
A view from Santa Maria Tepexipana
Mezcal is the drink of choice in Oaxaca, made from the agave cactus that grows wild and cultivated domestically. (San José del Pacífico)
María Sabina, a shaman of sorts, who is celebrated for finding medicinal mushrooms in San José del Pacífico. Bob Dylan, The Beatles, other celebrities, hippies and expats alike sought out Sabina's "talents" and the town of San Jose Del Pacifico for its medicinal and culinary mushrooms.
...and the mushroom soup at this restaurant in San José del Pacífico was amazing!
My room for the night in the jungle town of Santa Maria Tepexipana
Comedor Jazmin in San José del Pacífico. The region is known for its culinary and medicinal mushrooms.
Jungle bananas and a blossom in Santa Maria Tepexipana
A schoolgirl in Santa Maria Tepexipana
Sunglasses, Santa Maria Tepexipana-style
Mexican Chinese food
Dog in the Oaxaca dump. An entire communities of individuals and families live and work in the dump, sorting through the mountains of trash from the entire city for recyclables.
Mattress frames serve as fences for many home plots in the city's dump community
A view of the dump community in Oaxaca, from atop a trash pile
An evening in historic Oaxaca City
En route to Santa Ana Yareni
En route to Santa Ana Yareni, three hours north of Oaxaca City
Draft animal-powered farm fields on the hillsides of Santa Ana Yareni
A pup poses in Santa Ana Yareni
Up in the clouds in Santa Ana Yareni
Draft power (Santa Ana Yareni)
Catholic churches sit prominently in most towns and villages in Oaxaca (Santa Ana Yareni)
A home in Santa Ana Yareni
Colorful home in Santa Ana Yareni
Garden limes in Santa Ana Yareni
Garden-grown cilantro in Santa Ana Yareni. The remote nature of the villages makes it necessary for residents to grow and raise their own food, and to barter and trade with neighbors for other ingredients and supplies.
Cliff and mountain-side gardens in Santa Ana Yareni
My friend Gaby (in blue), her mother, grandmother and cousin in their village of Santa Ana Yareni
Farmland in Santa Ana Yareni
A friendly tree in Santa Ana Yareni
Traditional adobe home in Santa Ana Yareni
Alebrijes, or brightly colored folk art sculptures made from wood found in the mountains. One artist said that the shape of the wood determines the creatures he produces.
Corn husks, used for tamales, animal feed and a fuel source
Cocoa pod in Santa Maria Tepexipana
Sunset in Santa Maria Tepexipana
Pineapple in Santa Maria Tepexipana
A hibiscus gift from a new friend, outside my temporary kitchen window in Santa Maria Tepexipana
A family receives their monthly food supplies as part of the Simply Smiles despensa program in the jungle community of Santa Maria Tepexipana
Handmade pottery at the Coyotopec artisan market
I had the opportunity to cook in a family's home for the volunteer group during our second week in the jungle. It was a privilege to be given this space to use, and we we often had little visitors. But, it was uncomfortable cooking large amounts of food for the groups and being watched. In this region, people have been known to boil leaves to satisfy their hunger.
A woman awaits her food supplies as part of the Simply Smiles despensa program in Santa Maria Tepexipana