On a visit in 1978 to the old province of Tuspa, we had the privilege of staying with a Nahua family.
The Nahua are those people who inhabited the Tuspa area – now the municipality of Tuxpan, Jalisco, approximately 90 miles south of Guadalajara – when the Spanish Conquistador expeditions of the 1500s first arrived. During our stay, we also had the opportunity to visit two Nahua sisters who many townspeople claimed were brujas (witches).
Mezcal before photography
When we asked to photograph the two elderly women, they at once became quite self-conscious. They changed huipiles (blouses) and began a flurry of general tidying up. Licha, the eldest, finally sat down with a sigh and said, “Pues, let’s have a bit more mezcal before we commence this business with the photography.” The mezcal — bootleg-home-bottled — was smooth fire, an excellent elixir of cactus with a smoky, bracing aroma and flavor.
The conversation quickly turned to Mexican history, to the past of Tuspa province. Both Licha and Ermita emphasized the poverty of the past.