Jaguars [by Karla Gachet & Ivan Kashinsky]

In the month of May, in a couple of communities in Guerrero, Mexico, they celebrate the fiesta of Santa Cruz.  The people worship crosses and leave offerings of flowers and food.  Men, women and children wear jaguar masks and fight each other on top of sacred mountains. This is a pre-Colombian tradition in which the blood and sweat are offerings to the gods. In return for these offerings the people ask for rain.  The Jimenez family hosted one of the crosses in their house.  Everyday the men slaughtered animals and the women prepared enormous quantities of food for all the people invited to the celebration.  The smells of mole, tamales, pozole, corn, and mezcal traveled across the dirt roads mixing with the smell of blood from the jaguars and slaughtered animals. Every day was a culinary surprise and a banquet of colors.  When we returned to Ecuador, I learned I was pregnant. This story is special to me because my son was with me, navigating through the crowds that came to see the jaguars and enjoying the most exquisite tastes of Mexico from inside me.