early morning at 7 o'clock I arrived at little Sonia's house. As previously
agreed with Sonia's mother, the family would allow me to take some photos
of little Sonia showing us the very traditional way bread is still baked
family's house is a few blocks from downtown. I arrived at the time when
the wooden fire in the clay oven was at its highest point and Sonia's
father would start to bake the dough. Sonia's mother was frying some donuts
by herself in boiling oil.
Suddenly, Sonia appeared at the door, beautiful and smiling and said hello
to me. Her brother was beside her, but he only allowed for one photo with
his sister. Then he ran away and we never saw him again!
"Sonia, how early did your father start his working day today?"
"Papa got up today very early, at 01:00 hrs, to start preparing
the different kinds of dough for different bread. All the dough is prepared
by hand. Papa has no machines to help him on this. The oven is started
at 03:00 and now bread will start to be baked."
Father: "It gets more and more expensive and difficult
to get the wood to heat the oven. A donkey load is now $80 pesos; a
horse load is $120-140 pesos. Not long in the future we will have to
think about installing gas to continue our family business."
Sonia's father, mother and uncle do all the work themselves. When the
bread is baking, we came to the kitchen and Sonia drew a butterfly for
us. I asked her what she thinks we could do to preserve the Monarchs Sanctuary
in our region for a long, long time:
Sonia: "Not cutting any flowers or trees anymore."
Shortly after, we come back to the oven place, and the bread is ready!!!
Sonia pointed to some of the racks with baked bread and told us the names
for every one of them:
"Here we have pastelitos (little cakes), flores
(flowers), cuernos (horns), nueces (nuts), conchas
(shells) and quesadillas."
It is now time for Sonia to go to school. She is 6 and is attending the
It is also time for Mom to pack the warm just-baked bread and donuts in
the palm baskets and go downtown to sell it. Each piece costs only 2 and
Mom awaits beside the main church until all the bread is sold and until
Sonia is finished with school. Sonia crosses the main street and meets
her Mom to go back home to have dinner and play and rest the whole afternooon.
María Estela Romero
Angangueo, Michoacán, México
Marzo de 2009