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The Season's First Report from Estela Romero

February 14, 2013

Dear Friends:

Hello from Angangueo! Here I am, camera in hand, looking for native faces and locations to show you the lives of our children in our homeland, and the winter homeland of the Monarchs.

First about our weather: Until two weeks ago we have had really cold temperatures. I am sure it dropped to zero degrees in town. In the mountains above town, where the monarch sanctuaries are, temperatures surely fell below freezing.

There is an alarming absence of moisture throughout the region. Although it's normal for November through May to be dry (since this is our dry season), this year it is exceptionally dry to the point of drought. For example: small rivers that normally don't dry out until May are already completely dry in February. Soil that typically turns dusty in late May is already bone dry. We are concerned about how this will affect our people and the monarchs.

Today I want to show you ways some children in our town help to support their family business. When they are not attending school, many children can help increase the family income. Parents who encourage this are seen as exemplary, as are their children.

A few years ago I introduced Journey North readers to Sonia whose family follows an old tradition of baking delicious bead. Sonia is 9 years old now and she has her own bread stand outside the town market. She gets everything set up by eight o'clock on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Each piece of bread costs 2.50 to 3 pesos, and it's worth every bite!

Lupita and her sister have the freshest vegetables in town. Every weekend, they come to Angangueo from an indigenous Otomí community south of town. We Mexicans are so fortunate to have an enormous variety of fresh, inexpensive, locally grown fruits and vegetables. For example, compare these prices to your own: I paid today 10 pesos for a kilo of red tomatoes; 25 pesos for a kilo of high quality apples, and 12 pesos for a kilo of potatoes! I imagine prices are much higher at a modern supermarket in the U.S. and Canada.

Last, I ran into Sara. Every weekend she sells forest flowers and Forest Tea, which is delicious in aroma and taste. The flowers and tea are 10 pesos today, but her tea was already sold out.

Meanwhile, a religious, but also deeply-rooted prehispanic ceremony is about to take place at the main square of town. This ceremony happens every year at Carnival time around the world.

As you can see, life continues at its normal pace as the Monarchs spend their last month and a half with us. See you next week!

Your local reporter,

Estela Romero
Angangueo, Michoacán.

Angangueo, Michoacan, Mexico Map: Location of monarch butterfly overwintering region in Mexico
In the mountains, near the largest monarch sanctuaries.
Monarch Sanctuaries
The region in central México where monarchs overwinter.


Estela Romero
Estela Romero

Monarch Butterfly overwintering region of Mexico
Sonia sells delicious bread!

Monarch Butterfly overwintering region of Mexico
Lupita sells the freshest vegetables in town.

Monarch Butterfly overwintering region of MexicoSara with forest flowers

Monarch Butterfly overwintering region of Mexico

The opening ceremony of Carnival in the village.

Monarch Butterfly overwintering region of Mexico