Killings show up every day in the news. Politicians on both sides of the border cast blame. Despite all drug related violence, the citizens of Ciudad JuÃ¡rez, Mexico have to go on living their lives and have problems of their own to face. The current economic crisis is making it difficult to find jobs and as the city expands outwards neighborhoods are popping up without basic utilities. In early January 2009 I traveled to Juarez, Mexico with some friends to build a house for a family in need. This photo essay is about my time spent there.
This photo tour can be viewed as a slideshow. Simply click on an image to begin play or Click Here.
The neighborhood that we built in was one of the newer areas that lacks many utilities. Many houses get electricity from pirate electrical lines run across the ground that the neighborhood kids play soccer on, and without waste management garbage either goes into the neighboring field or is burned.
The young family that we built for has three kids ages 1, 3, and 4 and was living in a small cinder block house. The father had been out of work for a while and was unable to find stable employment. Many people in his condition end up looking for small day labor jobs to put food on the table.
The dog from the previous photos chased this chicken into a fence constructed from bed springs, where it got stuck. It was unable to get out by itself, and was rescued only to find it’s self toted around by this boy.
I shot over 1,800 images over the trip on my Canon 30D. I switched between my Canon 17-40 4L and Canon 70-200 2.8L IS. Since I was building while shooting my 30D took a beating, mostly from scratching against my tool belt. Some of the paint was scratched off underneath the LCD, but other than that no real damage was done.
In an attempt to bring about order the Mexican troops had been dispatched to Juarez. The only time we saw them was at a checkpoint the first day. We stopped at the checkpoint, and only after leaving did we realize that there were soldiers in makeshift bunkers aiming rifles at our vehicles. I wanted to get a photo on the day we left, but the checkpoint was not operational.