Houses of the indegenous people, San miguel Tlaxcaltepec, Amealco
We visited the zone of San miguel Tlaxcaltepec on 18th March 2017 with Grecia Jurado, Ricardo and their dog (I dont remember her name). Grecias Notes on the visit are here.
San miguel Tlaxcaltepec is a quaint little village about 10 kms from Amealco. A temperate climatic zone with abundant surface water and rainfall. This zone recieves heavy rains in the months of May – October with a dry season between Feb – April, the winters are realtively cooler with temperatures dropping down to 0 deg C while a summer day can be as hot as 30 deg c.
The zone is abundant with stone, sillar and tepetate. There is a shallow expansive clay deposit that allows corn cultivation.
We visited three houses to find similar patterns in all the houses. These are a list of obvious observations made and noted down.
This is what we see from the main road.
We walk down to get to the patio.
As one enters the patio, a multitude of shelters (or houses) appear such as the house for firewood, house for chickens, goats, cows, pigs, turkeys, house for grains, the kitchen etc.
The main house is said to be over a hundered years old (walls shaded). As one enters the vestibule, there is a immediate drop in temperature, there is darkness yet everyting inside is quite visible. Three doors open into the vestibule, all doors are short and narrow and allow the movement of only one person.
The Granary is the first and the lagest room and has a small window, a skylight and a gable roof. Tools, grains and other dry produce is scattered on the floor.
The kitchen has a similar configuration and there is a wood fired stove at a corner with a “Komal” used to cook tortillas. The lady offered us a couple of tortillas, and we ate them with a little bit of salt.
Clearly nothing goes waste, there seems to be a complete cycle of life and livestock around the house. The shelters for the livestock are mere shacks, most of the livestock is free to roam around the house. There is sufficient storage of wood under one of the sheds. And another shed nearby stores cattle feed (Dried maize plants).
What is notable is the patterns in which they sleep, bedrooms are large and have a minimum of 2 large beds in the same room. Specially notable in the newer buildings built by themselves. It is a modern room with plasters, fitted with a tv, and sometimes even a refrigerator.
The concrete block houses in the background were built by the government, with low asbestos roofs. The family modified the structure by adding a few courses of brick and use a brick tiled roof instead. The asbestos as reused to create an outdoor kitchen on the other side of the patio.
The toilet is a separate structure seen at the back of the house, close to the pig pen. A dry toilet is what is used inspite of the government built toilets on their land. The government built toilets are used a small storage houses instead. There is no shower seen most places.
There are plants almost everywhere in the house. On the sides of the walls, on the walls, hanging from the roofs, plant beds and fenced gardens are all integral parts of every house we visited.
The connection with the land and the surroundings is striking in every house. Life is seen as a cycle, where processes fit into each other, depend on each other. Humility and simplicity shows on the smiles of the women and children we met.
Liberty and freedom is seen with all the inhabitants. Men, women, children and all animals and plans living together.