We meet in the street. He’s shaking uncontrollably and, since I’ve only lived in Mexico for three months, I can’t understand anything he’s saying. It’s clear that Ismael Sanchez has a form of motor neuron disease, and that’s why he’s having trouble controlling his movements and making coherent speech. But this doesn’t stop him from digging up the English he learned thirty years ago in the United States.

Within five minutes he’s suggested we head to his home to take photos. Of what, I’m not certain. But he’s very excited to have invited me over to his house, I’ve gathered. Where that is, exactly, I still don’t know. As we get closer, he mentions something about his brother and, still not understanding what’s going on and always on the wary, I put my camera away, just in case things go bad, in this country where everything is still new and there’s still a surprise behind every corner.

I follow him through the entrance of his house. No sign of anyone else there, he begins to give me a tour of the medicinal plants in his backyard before taking me around his home.

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Ismael SánchezIsmael SánchezIsmael SánchezIsmael SánchezIsmael SánchezIsmael SánchezIsmael Sánchez kiss the brim of his hat while saying a prayer after getting home, Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico.Ismael Sánchez holds a molcajete in his kitchen in Ajijic, Jalisco

Ismael Sánchez