Chalma, it is a town of a few thousand outside the sprawling extremes of Mexico City. Thursday I joined a few hundred peregrinos, or pilgrims, from the small town on their trip home. They had walked for four days to reach the basilica with their local statue of la Virgen de Guadalupe. They camped out in front of the basilica for a night and the day I met with them they were preparing for the haul back. A bit faster, four hours on a bus.
Chalma a tus pies. Chalma at your feet, is what all the banners read, we made our way through the front of the Basilica along with those from Toluca, Ixtapan and several other communities, ran through the streets and caught buses back.
One of the most entertaining things of the evening was the fact that while I spent hours here only two people learned my name, I was guera (or light skinned/white girl) the entire evening.
We arrived in Chalma at 10pm, paraded la virgen through the streets before attending a 11pm mass. For someone like myself, agnostic that is, it is amazing the amount of faith some in town had and amazing the amount of duality (as in perhaps the way you lead your life as opposed to the virtues you extol) la virgen seems to inspire.
I’ve included a few photos, but these are going towards my semester long project concerning la virgen.