MEXICO: The Harvest

Through the pale predawn, a chill wind swept down from the sierras of northern Mexico. By the river Santa Engracia, it rustled the small stands of russet corn that marked the Francisco I. Madero ejido (one of Mexico's some 14,500 communal villages), and kicked up dust patterns among the thatched huts that housed the colony's 52 families.*

In the half-open shack of young José Castillo, the wind fanned lingering coals that Joée and his wife Magdalena had heaped under their henequen cot the night before. José stirred, roused Magdalena. Soon a kerosene lamp was fluttering, lighting up the small cot where...

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