Most Dangerous Ways To School | MEXICO | Free Documentary

Free Documentary
22 Sept 201548:00
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TLDRThe script documents the perilous journeys of Raramuri children in Northwestern Mexico as they traverse treacherous terrains to reach their boarding school in Cerocahui. Facing steep cliffs, freezing temperatures, and long distances, these children risk their safety in pursuit of education, which they see as a gateway to a better life. The narrative captures their resilience, the harsh reality of their daily commute, and the hope that learning Spanish and attending school will provide opportunities that their remote and rugged environment denies them.

  • 🏞️ The Raramuri children in Northwestern Mexico face extremely dangerous and difficult journeys to reach their school in the Sierra Madre Occidental, often trekking for hours and overcoming changes in altitude of over 1,000 meters.
  • 🌟 Despite the risks and physical exhaustion, the children's determination for education is fueled by their desire for a better life and the hope that school will provide opportunities that their remote village cannot.
  • ❄️ The harsh climate of the Sierras, with freezing temperatures at night and potential for extreme weather changes, adds to the challenges faced by these children on their daily commute to school.
  • πŸ‘£ The Raramuri people, including the children, rely heavily on their ability to navigate the treacherous terrain, a skill that has been honed over centuries of living in the mountains.
  • πŸ“š The boarding school in Cerocahui is a crucial educational institution for the Raramuri children, offering them a chance to learn Spanish and gain an education that can open doors beyond their village.
  • πŸ‘§πŸ‘¦ The children, like Teresa, Filomena, and Ankara, often live away from their families during the week due to the impracticality and danger of commuting daily to school.
  • πŸ‘£ The journey to school is not only physically demanding but also risky, with the potential for injury from falls or encounters with wild animals, and the isolation of the region means help may not be readily available.
  • πŸ₯Ώ The children often wear simple sandals called huaraches, made from old tire rubber and leather straps, which are their only protection against the cold and rough terrain.
  • πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘§ The Raramuri community places importance on gender equality, with both boys and girls attending school and participating in community activities.
  • 🌽 The Raramuri people are primarily subsistence farmers, relying on corn crops and livestock to sustain their families, and the children's education is also seen as a means to improve their economic situation.
  • πŸŽ“ The Mexican government provides free education from primary school to university for indigenous children, but the remoteness of their homes and the necessity of their labor at home often hinder the Raramuri children's access to higher education.
Q & A
  • What is the significance of the journey to school for the Raramuri children?

    -The journey to school is significant for the Raramuri children as it represents their hope for a better life. Despite the dangerous and exhausting trek, their hunger for education is stronger than their fear of the treacherous paths.

  • What challenges do the children face on their way to the boarding school in Cerocahui?

    -The children face numerous challenges including a more than 1,000-meter change in altitude, freezing temperatures, and the physical exhaustion from hours of climbing. They also risk tumbling down the narrow, steep slopes and have to navigate through paths of loose stones and cliffs.

  • Why is the Raramuri language a barrier for the children in finding work in the city?

    -The Raramuri language, which the children speak at home, is not widely understood outside their community. This language barrier makes it difficult for them to find work in the city, highlighting the importance of education to learn Spanish and improve their opportunities.

  • What is the role of the boarding school in providing for the children's basic needs?

    -The boarding school plays a crucial role in providing for the children's basic needs by offering them three meals a day, which is a significant benefit considering that many families in the Sierras struggle with food scarcity and poverty.

  • How does the weather affect the children's journey to school?

    -The weather greatly impacts the children's journey. In the dry season, the lack of rain makes the journey more manageable, but when it rains, the rocks become slippery and muddy, increasing the danger. Additionally, the cold temperatures at night pose a risk of hypothermia.

  • What is the significance of the Corn Beer Festival in the Raramuri culture?

    -The Corn Beer Festival is a significant cultural event for the Raramuri people. It is a mix of ancient rites and Catholic faith, celebrated on special occasions like birthdays or weddings. The festival involves colorful costumes, dance, and prayers for rain, reflecting the community's deep connection with nature and their traditions.

  • What are the living conditions like at the boarding school?

    -The living conditions at the boarding school are basic. The children sleep in a simple welded metal hut, often sharing beds, and there is no heating. They go to bed fully dressed to keep warm during the cold nights, which can drop to zero degrees Celsius.

  • How does the school help combat hunger and malnutrition among the children?

    -The school provides free meals for all children, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This initiative is an attempt to combat hunger and malnutrition, which are major problems in the mountainous region where the Raramuri live.

  • What are the educational opportunities available to the Raramuri children?

    -Education for the Raramuri children is free, ranging from primary school to university. However, only a few children make it to university due to the need for their labor at home. The school in Cerocahui provides primary education, followed by middle school and then high school for those who wish to pursue further education.

  • What impact does the difficult journey to school have on the children's learning?

    -The difficult journey to school can affect the children's learning in various ways. Some children may arrive late or miss school due to the treacherous conditions, which can hinder their progress. Additionally, the physical exhaustion from the journey can make it harder for them to concentrate and learn effectively.

  • What is the role of the mother in the Raramuri community as depicted in the script?

    -The mother in the Raramuri community, as depicted in the script, plays a crucial role in maintaining the household. She weaves baskets to sell or exchange for food, and she also takes care of the children, ensuring they are well-dressed for school and providing them with necessary supplies for their journey.

🏞️ Dangerous Journey to Education

The script opens with a dramatic portrayal of the perilous journey children face to reach their school in the Sierra Madre Occidental of Northwestern Mexico. The Raramuri children must endure freezing temperatures, treacherous climbs, and the risk of exhaustion to attend the boarding school in Cerocahui, which is known for being one of the most dangerous and longest routes to education in the world. Despite the risks, these children are driven by their desire for a better life and the hope that education will provide it.

πŸ‘§ The Struggle for Survival and Education

This paragraph highlights the challenges faced by Raramuri children, such as Teresa, Filomena, and Ankara, who must balance their responsibilities at home with their pursuit of education. The narrative describes the harsh living conditions in the Sierras, where families like Lorenzo's barely survive on their garden's produce and the government-funded boarding school provides three free meals a day. The children's journey is not just physically demanding but also a testament to their resilience and the sacrifices made by their families.

πŸšΆβ€β™‚οΈ Lorenzo's Steep Ascent to School

Lorenzo's story is featured in this section, detailing his early morning start and the two-hour trek through the Sierras to reach his school. The path is fraught with danger, including navigating steep slopes and loose stones. Despite the hardships and the physical toll, Lorenzo's determination to attend school and play with his friends is evident. The narrative also touches on the broader issue of child labor and education in Mexico, where an estimated 40% of the indigenous population is illiterate.

🌲 The Harsh Terrain and the Apache Pine Snack

The script describes the arduous journey of Teresa, Filomena, and Ankara as they make their way to school, stopping to enjoy the juice from apache pine seeds, a natural candy that helps to alleviate their hunger. The girls face a dangerous descent and must navigate a steep slope that their mother warns them about. The paragraph also emphasizes the physical and emotional challenges the children endure, as well as their resourcefulness in utilizing nature's offerings for sustenance.

πŸ₯Ύ The Broken Sandal and the Healing Bush

This section of the script focuses on the practical difficulties faced by the children, such as broken sandals and the need for new ones, which are a significant expense for their families. It also shows Lorenzo's journey, where he finds respite by eating the leaves of a creosote bush, believed to have healing properties, to gain strength for the remainder of his journey. The narrative paints a picture of the children's daily struggles and their reliance on the natural environment.

🏑 The Raramuri People and Their Traditions

The script delves into the Raramuri culture, their tradition of long-distance running, and the historical context of their settlement in the Sierras due to the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors. It also describes the family's struggle to make ends meet, with the mother weaving baskets for income and the father and grandfather contributing to the household. The paragraph paints a vivid picture of the Raramuri way of life and the importance of tradition and community.

πŸ§—β€β™‚οΈ Lorenzo's Cliffside Path and Dreams

The narrative follows Lorenzo as he faces his most significant challenge yet: a narrow path along the face of a cliff. The description is filled with tension as Lorenzo carefully navigates the precarious route, with a 300-meter drop into the abyss below. Despite his fear, he perseveres, motivated by the prospect of reaching the boarding school and not having to traverse the path for a few days.

🌧️ Weathering the Elements and Cultural Celebrations

This section highlights the impact of weather on the children's journey to school and their participation in the Corn Beer Festival, a cultural celebration with ancient rites and Catholic influences. The festival is a time of sharing and praying for rain, which is scarce in the region. The script describes the girls' experience at the festival, the communal meal, and the sudden rain that brings a chill to the celebration.

πŸ›Œ The Boarding School Life and Aspirations

The final paragraph describes the life at the boarding school, where children sleep in simple metal huts or share mattresses due to overcrowding. The narrative emphasizes the harsh conditions, with nighttime temperatures dropping to zero degrees Celsius. Despite the difficulties, the children dream of a better future, free from worries and poverty, as they fall asleep after a long and exhausting day.

The Raramuri are an indigenous people living in the Sierra Madre Occidental of Northwestern Mexico. They are known for their unique culture and the challenging conditions they endure, including their treacherous journeys to school. In the video, the Raramuri children face a difficult and dangerous trek to access education, highlighting their resilience and determination to improve their lives.
Cerocahui is a remote village in the Sierra Madre Occidental where a boarding school is located. It represents a beacon of hope and opportunity for the Raramuri children, as it is their gateway to education. The village's isolation and the arduous journey to reach it, as depicted in the video, underscore the lengths these children must go to for a chance at a better life.
Altitude refers to the height of a location above sea level. In the context of the video, the children of the Sierras must overcome a more than 1,000-meter change in altitude on their way to school. This physical challenge is a testament to their strength and the extreme conditions they must navigate daily.
πŸ’‘Boarding School
A boarding school is an educational institution where students live on the premises in addition to attending classes. In the video, the boarding school in Cerocahui provides not only education but also meals and shelter for the Raramuri children, emphasizing the importance of such institutions in supporting the community's most vulnerable members.
Huaraches are traditional Mexican sandals made from old tire rubber and leather straps. In the video, the children wear huaraches as their only protection against the cold ground in winter, illustrating the humble means with which they must contend and the resourcefulness of their community.
πŸ’‘Indigenous People
Indigenous people are the original inhabitants of a particular region or country. The Raramuri, as an indigenous group in Mexico, face higher rates of illiteracy and poverty compared to the general population. The video showcases the specific challenges faced by this community and their efforts to overcome them through education.
πŸ’‘Poverty Line
The poverty line is the minimum level of income deemed adequate in a particular country. The majority of the Raramuri live below the poverty line of $1.25 a day, as mentioned in the video. This economic hardship is a significant factor influencing their living conditions and access to resources such as education.
Education is the process of acquiring knowledge, skills, values, and habits. In the video, education is portrayed as a critical tool for the Raramuri children to escape poverty and improve their future prospects. Their journey to school symbolizes their pursuit of knowledge despite the significant obstacles they face.
Sierras refer to the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range in Mexico, where the Raramuri people live. The treacherous terrain of the Sierras is a central theme in the video, as it presents both a physical barrier to accessing education and a symbol of the resilience and determination of the Raramuri children.
πŸ’‘Cultural Traditions
Cultural traditions are practices, beliefs, and customs passed down through generations. The video touches on the Raramuri's cultural traditions, such as their Corn Beer Festival, which combines ancient rites with Catholic faith. These traditions provide a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the Raramuri people and their way of life.
πŸ’‘Language Barrier
A language barrier refers to difficulties in communication due to differences in language. The Raramuri speak their own language, which makes it challenging for them to find work in the city. The video highlights the importance of learning Spanish for the Raramuri children to increase their opportunities and integrate into wider society.

The world's most dangerous ways to school are featured, showcasing children's journeys in Northwestern Mexico.

Children of the Sierra Madre Occidental face a perilous hour-long march to their boarding school in Cerocahui.

The Raramuri people live in the mountains, far from civilization, and their children endure over 1,000-meter changes in altitude to reach school.

The children's strong desire for education overcomes their fear of the treacherous narrow and steep slopes.

Six-year-old Teresa and her family live at 2,300 meters above sea level where it's freezing cold.

Teresa's family relies on their corn crops and livestock for survival, and she is responsible for feeding the chickens.

The Raramuri children wear traditional huaraches sandals as their only protection against the cold ground.

Aniseta sends her daughters to school to learn Spanish, despite the dangerous journey.

Many Raramuri children do not attend school as they are needed at home to help with work.

Lorenzo, a six-year-old boy, navigates a two-hour walk through the Sierras to reach school.

Boarding school provides three free meals a day, which is a significant incentive for parents to send their children.

The journey to school is so strenuous that the children often leave their books at school to avoid carrying them daily.

The girls' school, Cerocahui, is only 1.5 km away as the crow flies, but the journey is much longer and more dangerous.

Director Genoveva Cruz-Cruz describes the long and dangerous routes some children take to school.

Education is compulsory in Mexico, but many indigenous children work instead of attending school due to high illiteracy rates.

Lorenzo's journey includes climbing 1,000 meters and navigating steep, rocky paths without the risk of injury.

The Raramuri are known for their long-distance running abilities, which is a necessity given their scattered villages.

Aniseta weaves baskets to earn money, highlighting the economic struggles faced by the Raramuri people.

Lorenzo must traverse a narrow cliff path with a 300-meter drop, demonstrating the extreme risks of his journey.

Despite the challenges, the children arrive at school and participate in classes, showing their dedication to education.

The school provides free meals to combat hunger and malnutrition, which are prevalent issues in the mountainous region.

The Raramuri celebrate the Corn Beer Festival with traditional dance and prayer for rain, reflecting their cultural practices.

The boarding school environment is challenging, with children sleeping in crowded conditions and facing harsh weather.

Despite the hardships, the children dream of a better future, with aspirations of becoming teachers or having a prosperous life.

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