Carlos Pérez Méndez (left), 9, and Eliseo López Méndez, 10, are shoe shiners in San Cristóbal de las Casas, a major city in Chiapas, Mexico’s southernmost state. The two boys, who are not related, charge 7 pesos (about 34 cents) per pair, and 10 pesos (about 49 cents) when a customer requests a special hue or tint. They estimate they shine as many as 15 pairs a day. The daily earnings contribute to their families’ household income. According to 2014 figures from local nonprofit Melel Xojobal, nearly 3,000 children in this city work on the streets.
The band Eddie y Los Grasosos plays for dancers at the monthly Noche de Museos, or Night of Museums, on the main patio at Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso in Mexico City. Before the concert, the museum screened the movie “Grease” to create a rock ’n’ roll atmosphere.
Santana Alcázar Rodriguez prepares hundreds of tamales that she will sell door-to-door in San Cristóbal de las Casas, a city in the southern state of Chiapas, Mexico. Tamales, a traditional dish, vary by region. These tamales are made of corn and filled with marinated pork and local peppers.
Rodolfo Arturo Gómez Lavarrios, 23, breakdances in a public park in Mexico City. Gómez Lavarrios, who goes by his b-boy, or breakdancing, name, Arfo, says it’s difficult to find places to dance in the capital. Sometimes it’s because the floor isn’t the right surface, while other times it’s because some people drive him and other breakdancers away. “Some people don’t know us, but they have a bad opinion [of us],” he says.
Carlos Badillo Pedraza, 18, performs an ollie, a skateboarding trick where the rider jumps off the ground by pushing off the back of the board. Badillo Pedraza, originally from the western state of Michoacán, moved to Mexico City last year to become a chef. He says he has skated since he was a child, and now he’s looking for more parks like the Skate Park San Cosme, located under a bridge in the capital.
Dr. Claudia Samayoa, from the health center Centro de Salud los Pinos, talked to attendees at the first Feria del Condón, a condom fair, on Valentine’s Day in San Cristóbal de las Casas, a city in Chiapas state. The event promoted condom use as a sign of love between a couple.
Steve Gerome performs in the streets of Jacmel, Haiti, during Carnival, a celebration held for several weeks leading up to Mardi Gras each year. Gerome is costumed as one of the “rope launchers,” who symbolize liberated slaves. They cover their bodies in syrup, charcoal ash or paint.
A family of musicians in Mexicali, a city in Baja California state, performs for motorists queueing to enter the U.S. near the border checkpoint at the Calexico West Port of Entry. Alier Delval, 18 (far left), holds a drum and cup for donations, while his father, Simón Delval, 48, plays the trumpet, his brother Ervey Delval, 17, plays the clarinet, and Simón Delval’s wife Lorena Trillas, 35, plays the drum. The family, which is standing up against the border wall, has been playing popular Mexican songs for passing motorists for 14 years.
A dancer walks through the streets of Chiapa de Corzo, a municipality in Chiapas, Mexico’s southernmost state, during the Fiesta Grande de Chiapa de Corzo. The dancer is known as a “parachico,” which, translated literally, means “for the boy.” He wears a mask made to look like a Spanish conquistador. The festival lasts for about two weeks each January and honors three Catholic saints, Our Lord of Esquipulas, St. Anthony the Abbot and St. Sebastian. Parachicos dance as an offering to the saints in homes and churches that have erected altars for them.
People enjoy an exhibit titled “Luz e Imaginación”, which in English means “Light and Imagination,” at the Museo de la Ciudad de México on Jan. 11. As visitors interact with sound, the Mexico City museum room is darkened so visitors can watch light rays beam down from the roof. The exhibit began in late November and runs through Feb. 12.
Dancers wearing Chinese-style lion costumes and drummers, all from the Asociación Shé Lóng de Kung Fu, perform in Mexico City on Jan. 27 in honor of Lunar New Year. As part of the performance, the lions approach restaurants that have hung lettuce from the entry and remove it with their mouths, to symbolize abundance and to drive away bad spirits. This Year of the Rooster took place on Jan. 28.
A woman in Mexico City holds a sign that reads, “No to the gasolinazo,” the informal name for a measure passed in late December that deregulated gasoline and boosted prices by 14 to 20 percent. Thousands in Mexico City and elsewhere in Mexico have since marched and blocked traffic and access to gas stations. The average price of fuel is now at 16.89 pesos (79 cents) per liter.
Evens Valentin, 25, cuts Jackson Mervilus' hair at migrant shelter Hotel del Migrante, in Mexicali, Mexico, a city near the U.S. border. Both men are Haitians who have been in Mexicali for three months, hoping to cross into the U.S. Haitian migrants have flooded shelters in the border cities of Mexicali and Tijuana, according to Mexico’s national human rights commission.
Two evangelical pastors, both on left, baptize a young girl in Lake Atitlán in Panajachel, a city in southwestern Guatemala, in late December. A group of young boys stand nearby in the water, awaiting their turn. The group traveled from Patzún, a nearby municipality, to perform the baptisms. Lake Atitlán is renowned in the region for its size, beauty and surrounding volcanoes.
Freshly butchered meat hangs in the Mercado de Jamaica, a public market in Mexico City. Pig heads sell for 24.50 Mexican pesos per kilogram ($1.20 per 2.2 pounds). The heads are often used to make pozole, a hominy stew prepared for special celebrations, or thinly-chopped braised or fried pork known as carnitas, which is often served in tacos.
A vendor drops off radishes to sell at Central de Abasto, a main wholesale market in Mexico City, Mexico’s capital. A huge portion of the country’s fruits and vegetables are brought and sold here. One 2011 USDA report noted that it handles 50 percent of the country’s food products. It’s one of 60 central wholesale markets nationwide, but Central de Abasto, as the backbone of the country’s traditional market sector, generates more than 10 billion dollars each year.
Visitors at the Palacio de la Escuela de Medicina museum in Mexico City participated in a blindfolded tour on Nov. 30 designed to create awareness of how visually impaired people experience such events. The event is part of the museum’s monthly Noche de Museos, or Night of Museums, which convenes nocturnal visitors to the Palacio the last Wednesday of each month.
American Indians gather in a gym at the American Indian Center in Minneapolis, Minn. for a powwow honoring people who were adopted or fostered in non-native homes. Many of those adopted and fostered people, including those who are now adults, attended the powwow, which was held in early November. A large number of American Indian children were adopted out of their communities until 1978, when the federal Indian Child Welfare Act created guidelines for placing those children and gave American Indian tribes the chance to handle those cases within their own court systems.
Alejandra Gamallo Silva, 36 (left), and Juan Carlos López Rojas, 33 (right), wear white masks on Nov. 17 to symbolize the deaths of unidentified homeless people who died in Mexico City, Mexico’s capital. The couple took part in a campaign organized by El Caracol, which advocates for homeless people. About 400 people have died on the city’s streets each year since 2010, according to the organization.
The 12th annual Caravan of Central American Mothers stopped in San Cristóbal de las Casas, a city in southern Mexico, on Nov. 16. There, they were joined by about 200 people in the plaza of the Catedral de San Cristóbal Mártir church. The caravan’s annual trek began in 1999 when a group of mothers from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua set out to search for their disappeared migrant children. The caravan travels for a month throughout Mexico, pausing to search for their loved ones in migrant shelters, jails and other waypoints, as well as to meet with local officials and others who can help them. This caravan began on Nov. 15 and will be traveling through 11 Mexican states by Dec. 3.
Gabriel Peralta, 8, celebrates having won a game against other children in his neighborhood by being the first to catch a pig that has been covered in animal grease and oil. Gabriel’s prize is the pig itself, which he takes home. The game occurred in Barrio de la Asunción, a neighborhood in Mexico City, as a celebration of one of the neighborhood’s patron saints, Virgen del Rosario, known in English as Our Lady of the Rosary. This celebration takes place every Oct. 7. Similar events are common throughout the city’s neighborhoods.
Artisans from Oaxaca, a state in southern Mexico, take a photo of themselves in their booth at the 15th annual “Son para Milo,” which celebrates traditional Mexican music. The festival took place from Oct. 13 – 16 in Mexico City, Mexico’s capital.
Families gather on Nov. 2 at the cemetery in Aldea Chaquijyá hamlet in Sololá, a municipality in southwestern Guatemala, for Día de los Difuntos, which is part of the two-day Día de los Muertos celebration, known in English as Day of the Dead. For Día de los Muertos, a religious holiday in Latin America, families often visit the burial sites of loved ones to offer food and gifts, pray and perform rituals. Many also share a meal by the tombstones. Día de los Difuntos is reserved for praying for the recently deceased who may still find themselves in purgatory.
Students in Sololá, a municipality in southwestern Guatemala, play roulette in a celebration of Día del Niño, known in English as Universal Children’s Day. The students, from Escuela Oficial Rural Mixta, Caserío Cooperativa, each had one turn at the wheel in a chance to win candy, piggy banks, books and other prizes. The player shown here didn’t win a prize, but instead landed on a spot that stated, “You didn’t shower today.” Universal Children’s Day was instituted by the United Nations in 1954, and the countries that celebrate it choose their own dates. In Guatemala, it’s celebrated every Oct. 1.