We headed to San Francisco de Borja Mission which is located about two hours North of Bahia de Los Angeles, Mexico via a dirt road. The ride was very rough up the mountain, but beautiful as it passed from coastal desert to more lush desert with strange and interesting flora and fauna.
The community has been care taking this piece of history for most of their lives. Jose Angel was our gracious tour guide and he is also the primary caretaker. Jose gives free tours and operates a simple but nice camping site near the natural hot springs that his ancestors lived around.
We spoke with Jose about his community and ancestral culture, and he was happy to share his history and life with us. After showing us through the Catholic Mission, he took us to where some of his ancestors were buried near the graves of missionaries behind the Church.
Jose is a very religious Christian, maintaining the historical Catholic Mission despite religious differences. He lives with his family in an isolated and beautiful part of Mexico, where access is limited and most the spread out community are descendants of the natives of the area.
He told us of the history of the Jesuit (In the mid 1700s) and then Franciscan Missionaries (In 1768), saying they were decent and relatively cooperative with the native populations, but the third Dominican Mission (in 1773) took advantage through abuse and slavery. Through these actions and the spread of new diseases, they were nearly wiped out. The current community of descendants are all that remain.
Jose informed us that there have been offers from mining companies to buy out the entire region to excavate for gold, including the Mission, natural hot springs, and the ancestral home of a decimated people. Many in the community wish to sell, but Jose told us his faith and the protection of the natural land are more important, and a unanimous decision is needed. He drew many correlations between the politics of today, the single minded nature of mining companies, and the history of exploitation that he has seen before. He wishes for the cycle to stop.
We found out that he is trying to finish expanding and covering their primary source of potable water to prevent foreign material falling in it. Jose built most of the infrastructure and housing in the area himself, and still works hard at the age of 60.
As they mostly depend on donations and small camping fees, they need additional money to continue their projects. We are trying to raise $300 for materials and the gas needed to go pick them up. This will secure their water supply and prevent any big issues with their primary source of drinking water.
Please help out in any way you can at our Fundraising page with YouCaring.com
With just $300 Jose could provide ample clean water to his family.