Posts Tagged Iztapalapa

Iztapalapa, the district hit by water conflicts.

Our second individual interview took place this weekend, in the Delegation of Iztapalapa where we got a glimpse of water issues affecting an entire district.




The street Benito Juarez in Iztapalapa


This district lies in the northwest region of the city. An area high in crime, low resources and known to be overpopulated. Taking these facts into account, we decided to get to the district on Sunday because it’s a sort of family day, in which you can see streets full of parents with their children and local markets.






Getting to Iztapalapa was an adventure: the metro line we thought we could take all the way down to our destination was blocked off halfway. From what we were told, glitches in the line had made the rest of the line unsafe to travel. We took stairs back up to the street where a free bus line stopped at every closed metro station. After that we took a small van crammed with locals deep into the heart of Iztapalapa.

Jessica sitting in the "Combi" (really small van)

Jessica sitting in the “Combi” (really small van)

Ainhoa sitting in the "Combi" (small van).

Ainhoa sitting in the “Combi” (really small van).


We couldn’t avoid thinking of Phoenix’s blog post about travelling in small buses in Ethiopia. The situation was funny and a little bit concerning, as we weren’t sure how safe the vehicle was. Fortunately, having women and kids around made us feel safe (this feeling has come to us in more than one ocassion). Over bumps and zig-zagging our way through what seemed like a maze, the van got us quickly to our destination.



We felt grateful that our interviewee opened her home to us with open arms. We explained the project once again and asked if we could videotape her story, “anything to help bring attention to this,” she replied, nodding in agreement. She gave us the history of her family and it’s issues with water scarcity and contamination. With a bright eyed, joyful demeanor she began to weave a story that started decades ago, when there were no water problems at home.

The family and Ainhoa.

The family and Ainhoa.




We climbed up into the roof to check the water distribution system and its quality.

The view from the roof.

The view from the roof.


We were amazed to find how a little bit of clean water can be used time and again for different household chores. It made us conscious of how much water we use daily without once thinking about how we might recycle it. Water used for showering, to flush the toilet. Water used for washing clothes to mop floors. In this case we learned that need leads people to be creative in finding solutions to survive.

This friendly buddy joined us in our visit.

This friendly buddy joined us in our visit.


We left the house with the feeling of a job well done, and the hope that our project brings a voice to these problems. If we can help this family by telling their story we will have done our job.

On our way back home, almost by chance, we found multiple “Pipas” (trucks used to distribute water to individual houses). We quickly took our cameras out and took photos for about 20 seconds, until we saw a guard approaching us and we quickly left.


Weeks before, a policeman started asking questions about “what we were doing” when on Insurgentes taking a photo of a road that was flooding. “It’s for the photo memory album, we are from a small village and have never seen so much traffic in the street,” we lied. Then the policeman started talking about the World Cup and we quickly slid away. So this time in Iztapalapa, we didn’t want to try our luck!

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