Day 4 - Batopilas In and Around Town
This church is pretty famous and old. I have about 30 versions of this shot.
A few miles downstream from Batopilas is the town of Satevo, which is host to an architectural mystery – the Jesuit mission of San Miguel de Satevó. The church is known as the “Lost Cathedral," as nearly all of its records were destroyed in a series of fires. No one knows for sure when the Satevo Mission was built or by who, but historians think it was the Jesuits sometime in 1700s. One thing is for sure: The place is huge and not built near any towns.
Why would any humans erect such a large structure in an uninhabited area? My common sense would lead me to believe that the mission was built by the same aliens that erected the pyramids. It is still a mystery as to how the aliens can build such great wonders and still forget their children and pets on our planet.
It was a short ride from Batopilas to Satevo. As we entered the town, a crew of excited kids came running to the church where we parked. Everyone was saying hello to Pete and asking where Ana, his wife, was. This was a key location where a good guide comes in handy. Pete and Ana have been coming to this town for years and have many friends here. Since our guide was such a celebrity, he was able to get a local man to unlock the church for us for a peep inside.
While we toured the church, we handed out more candy and toys to the locals. Pete gave dolls and toy motorcycles to a few of the younger kids. He said that he liked giving these rare treats for two reasons. One, he loves to see them smile. And two, they will remember us and other travelers when they get older and be waiting with open arms.
The girl in blue stripes behind me has epilepsy. Pete and his wife bring her medicine all the time and are willing to take donations. These kids have next to nothing and meeting them is an experience that will stay with me the rest of my life.
Pete and his wife have not only been handing out candy and toys, but they have been providing sick children with necessary medicine and supplies in this area for years. A girl in a blue and white striped shirt really had an impact on me. She had a friendly smile but her deep eyes told a story of heartbreak. She handed us a handwritten note in English, explaining that she has been battling with epilepsy. In the letter, the girl talked about how difficult it was to find or afford prescription drugs to treat her illness, and it made me realize how much I take for granted. It is definitely a luxury to be able to go to the local drug store for something as simple as cough medicine. Pete handed her a package in a brown paper bag and told her that he will bring more meds on his next trip in a few months. A few tears of joy welled up in Pete’s eyes.
I stopped in my tracks for a second as a shiver went up my spine. These kids have absolutely nothing. Poor as poor can be. I really felt like our presence makes a difference in their lives. It’s hard to explain, but this experience will be a part of me for the rest of my life. Riding quads on this trip is only a small part of the total experience.
At dinner back at the hotel, a local mariachi band plays. I realized I’m a better photographer than a singer. Brian decided to celebrate the day’s events by having a few drinks. The tasty margaritas made Brian an excellent singer, or so he thought. He got up with the rest of the band and sang a few songs in Spanish with them. The funny thing is that Brian doesn’t know any Spanish. Nada.
The night ended with Pete and Brian lighting some aerial fireworks. As most of you know, booze and explosives are not a good mix. Brian later apologized to Pete for torching the top layer of his epidermis and learned a good lesson as to not place fireworks upside-down while trying to shoot them out of a mortar.