After the corn is gathered during the dry season, each ear must be husked and stored in a barrel for the following year.
This is our cluster of 6 houses. All of my neighbors are somehow related.
Joao, in the red shirt, has one of the most beautiful smiles of all my neighboring kids.
This is one of my favorite photos of the aforementioned Joao's mother Almazinha and the newest child (of 6) named Nelson. Nelson is like my god-child because I spoil him with gifts and he reaches for me when I visit them.
Before heading to the USA in December 2002 for 3 weeks of vacation, I told my neighbors I wanted to get photos of them to develop in the USA and bring back in January. This was the only family in my cluster that was able to gather family members for a group photos. There are still 3 of their children that are not in the photo, but most other families couldn't gather more than 2 people at one time because they are always out doing chores in the fields or mountains. The baby is wearing an outfit I gave them (only for the photo and church), which I found on the clearance rack at Target. The father has cement dust on his hands because that particular day he was building a water tank next to their house -- looking serious in photos is a cultural thing!
Silvina is another one of Almazinha's children. She is 15 years old and does not attend school. It wasn't until December 2002 that I found out she was 15, and not 12, as I had thought. She cannot tell time (other than on a digital watch), read, or count money. Her days are spent laboring in the distant fields all day. Here she is drying laundry that she washed by hand earlier in the day. Someday, I hope to bring her to the USA, even if just for a 30 day visit.
Minguinha is the youngest daughter of Almazinha, and at 10 years old, she does not attend school either. She can carry heavy loads, and is often seen carrying baby Nelson on her back while she does chores.
These are the youngest kids from my cluster of 6 houses in the village of Hortelao.