Cecile Smetana Baudier

CECILE SMETANA BAUDIER

Statement: In 2015, the Mexican government finally recognized its 1.38 million citizens of African descent in a national survey, signifying a tremendous victory for the Afro-Mexican community who had up to that moment largely gone unnoticed on the margins of Mexican society

Chacahua and El Azufre, small villages located on the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, are populated mainly by Afro-Mexicans. Most of them know little of their African heritage and what they do know is often based on myths and legends. According to one of these tales, American boats, full of slaves, would pass by and as they made a short stop, the slaves would escape and seek refuge in the wild jungle, that is now ” The National Park of Chacahua”.

The photos aim to reflect the same subtle drama and feeling of nostalgia within the story.

72_Diaspora_01

72_Diaspora_03

Yaymi on the prairie

Yaymi on the prairie

The wind is blowing harshly just before sunset.

The wind is blowing harshly just before sunset.

The dust enters every window, every crack and there are not many trees, to protect you from the sun. 

The dust enters every window, every crack and there are not many trees, to protect you from the sun.

Nobody owns a functioning toilet, but everybody owns a big television, which is usually placed next to the religious artifacts in the livingroom. There is a small church here, but only few attends.

Nobody owns a functioning toilet, but everybody owns a big television, which is usually placed next to the religious artifacts in the livingroom. There is a small church here, but only few attends.

In the laguna of El Azufre

In the laguna of El Azufre

The men who are not fishing, usually works in the fields, cultivating peanuts. The harsh weather and high temperature makes it difficult to work during the day.

The men who are not fishing, usually works in the fields, cultivating peanuts. The harsh weather and high temperature makes it difficult to work during the day.

In order to leave the village of Chacahua, one must pay the taxi driver, the fairy and then the bus. It cost around 50 pesos, which is a lot of money for most people in this region. 

In order to leave the village of Chacahua, one must pay the taxi driver, the fairy and then the bus. It cost around 50 pesos, which is a lot of money for most people in this region.

The towns of El azufre and Chacahua are both located in the National park of Chacahua. Parrots, turtles, crocodilles and many different species lives and thrives here.

The towns of El azufre and Chacahua are both located in the National park of Chacahua. Parrots, turtles, crocodilles and many different species lives and thrives here.

Mitchel clings to Nicolasa, her grandmother.  Family is the center of most peoples life here and many who are born in El Azufre never leaves. 

Mitchel clings to Nicolasa, her grandmother.
Family is the center of most peoples life here and many who are born in El Azufre never leaves.

In Mexico, it is mandatory to wear school uniforms. The girls wear white long socks and the boys long pants, regardless of the hot temperature. 

In Mexico, it is mandatory to wear school uniforms. The girls wear white long socks and the boys long pants, regardless of the hot temperature.

The region of Costa Chica

The region of Costa Chica

Chacahua, located in a national park in Oaxaca, Mexico seems at times isolated and disconnected to the outside world. It is difficult to get there and expensive to leave.

Chacahua, located in a national park in Oaxaca, Mexico seems at times isolated and disconnected to the outside world. It is difficult to get there and expensive to leave.