In early December, a team from Feed the Hungry headed out to Misión Chichimeca to deliver 120 blankets to 61 families, along with their bags of food. We would like to thank Amigos al 100, whose coordination with the San Miguel Community Foundation provided the blankets, which could not have arrived at a better time: temperatures were near 40 degrees Fahrenheit when the team arrived mid-morning.
Misión Chichimeca is a sparsely populated community on the outskirts of San Luis de la Paz, in the San José Iturbide municipality. At 80 kilometers from the Feed the Hungry Center, it is the only location outside the San Miguel de Allende municipality that we serve. A severely poor indigenous community, it is the last native Chichimeca settlement in the country. Its bilingual school strives to keep their native language alive and teaches the children to speak and write Chichimeca Jonaz, in addition to Spanish.
The houses are built with rocks, a few bricks, and elements of their surroundings, such as dried maguey leaves. The kitchens at the homes are mostly coal-powered. Conditions can be extremely harsh. The area is higher in elevation than San Miguel, which makes it colder. It also makes farming much more difficult—they have only one growing season, as opposed to San Miguel, which has two.
The families make their income mostly from the sale of nopales (cactus paddles) and tunas (cactus fruit), and whatever food they can grow on their small plots of land. Sadly, these nutritious plant foods are reserved for sale and hardly, if ever, cooked to be consumed at home. The families mostly subsist on tortillas, rice, and beans.
While there to deliver food and blankets, FTH nutritionists also presented a workshop related to good eating habits, with a specific focus on avoiding diabetes.