Tuesday, May 17, 2011

(Partially) Lost Treasures, Part III

In previous posts, I mentioned that I found two pieces of paper which contained lists of photographs that I took while serving an LDS mission in México.[1] In the last two installments [2] I went over the two lists on the first piece of paper. Now I'll go over the first list on the second piece of paper. At first I thought that these represented more lost photos.[3] However, upon looking through my photo album, I discovered that I had at least managed to develop the rolls of film described in the lists. However, I don't have every photograph mentioned in the lists. I don't remember now, but I suspect that the film was damaged and not all of the photographs turned out. Here's the list (with some of the photos):

1. AHMSA 2 on cloudy day 18 Ene 01
  • AHMSA stands for Altos Hornos de México, S.A. de C.V. ("Blast Furnaces of México" [4]). It is an ironworks and steel-mining company located in Monclova, Coahuila, México. There are two plants. This photo was of the second plant. This picture did not turn out, but I'll show you some that did in a future post.
  • ENE is short for enero ("January").[5] 
2. snowcapped mtn. in Monclova (Cerro de la Gloria) 19 Ene 01
  • Cerro de la Gloria ("Glory Hill") was a hill that lay between the nearby cities of Frontera ("Frontier") and Castaños ("Chestnuts"). This was the only time I ever saw snow in México.[6] The picture did not turn out, but, like AHMSA, later on I'll show you some other pictures I took.
3. Cerro de la Gloria from Cuellars 20 Ene 01
  • This picture of el Cerro de la Gloria, taken from the house of the Cuellars ("Collars"), also did not turn out.
4–7. bautismo de (Jessica and co.)
  • Bautismo is Spanish for "baptism". Only one of these turned out. And another one turned out to be some missionaries picando los ojos. Jessica was an awesome girl who developed a strong testimony of the Gospel. The last I knew, before I lost contact with her, she was engaged and preparing to be married in the temple.[7] Her friend Mary, who was baptized a few weeks earlier, can be seen sitting beneath me. (Her head is next to the bottom of my crooked tie.) My companion, Elder Taylor, is the fellow all in white (except for the black name tag).

8. house in Nueva Rosita calle Sarabia 14 Mar 01
  • By this time I had been transferred to the city of Nueva Rosita ("New Rosette"), also in the state of Coahuila. Our house was on a calle ("street") called Sarabia (which, as far as I know, has no meaning). This picture did not turn out.
9–10. baptism of Idalia 17 Mar 01
  • Idalia had studied with the Jehovah's Witnesses before we started teaching her. After attending Church with us, she was quite enthusiastic about the Gospel and got baptized. But after that she never came to Church again. This picture did not turn out.
11–16. Rio Consuelo near San Juan de Sabinas 21 Mar 01
  • When our branch had an activity at the Rio Consuelo we were given permission by the mission president to go with them. It was essentially a picnic.

17. Kikapoo hut 26 Mar 01
  • For one of our P-days we jumped in the back of a truck and drove several hours out to the Kikapoo reservation.[8] It rained on us. I taught the Mexican missionaries how to sing "99 bottles of pop on the wall" and we sang it all the way down to 0 (much to the chagrin of many of the American missionaries). It was my first time to ever do so.

18. Muzquiz' eagle 26 Mar 01
  • Múzquiz was a city near Nueva Rosita. The eagle is the city mascot and is featured on the city arch. We drove under it on our way to and from the Kikapoo Reservation. The photo is partially framed on the right side and on the bottom by one of the Mexican missionaries. I no longer remember which.

19. Nva. Rosita zone 26 Mar 01
  • A photo of all the missionaries serving in the San Juan de Sabinas municipality, which included Nueva Rosita, Múzquiz, Palau, and Sabinas.
20. tajo outside Nva. Rosita 6 Apr 01
  • The word tajo means "pit", possibly referring to a mining pit. This photo did not turn out.[9]
21–27. (Oscar's baptism) 28 Abr 01
  • Unfortunately, these photos did not turn out. Oscar learned of the Gospel through his brother, who was baptized several months previously. His mother kept ducks, so duck droppings covered the ground outside their house. It was kind of gross.
28. Smokestack in Nva. Rosita 2 Jun 01
  • There is a coal mine near Nueva Rosita where a large percentage of the men worked. Presumably they burned the coal for electricity here.

29. Rio Alamo, colonia Maria, Nva. Rosita 2 Jun 01
  • The bike that I rode for most of my time in Nueva Rosita was extremely difficult to pedal—especially uphill. My companion would always leave me in the dust. One day I took it in to get a flat tire repaired and learned that the rear axle had snapped in two. So the rear tire was crooked and constantly rubbing on one or the other of the brakes. No wonder it was so hard to pedal! This is the bike I borrowed while that one was being repaired. I'm not sure why it was special enough to photograph. Río Álamo means "Poplar River".[10]

Besides these pictures, there were a few more that I took but didn't list. They were of a flood that happened in Nueva Rosita which filled the streets several feet deep with water. The only ones that turned out weren't that interesting, though. While we were biking to a lunch appointment, the missionary I was with suddenly disappeared under the water—he hit a curb that he couldn't see (because the water was so muddy) and tipped over!


[1] For those who are unsure why Latter-day Saints (Mormons) go on missions, I recommend you visit here and here, where you can learn more about LDS beliefs concerning sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you have more questions, ask and maybe I'll do a full post on the topic.

[2] See here and here.

[3] A missionary who hailed from Ogden, Utah, by the last name of Noorda (the same Noorda who twisted his ankle while hiking Cerro de la Silla), offered to take some things back to my parents for me. Again, I put together a small package and sent it with him. My parents never received it. Several months later I sleuthed out that Noorda couldn't fit the package in his luggage, so he left it in one of the missionary houses in Monterrey. Several months later the missionaries that lived there threw it away, since they had no idea what it was. Thus everything in that package, possibly including some rolls of film, is most definitely lost.

[4] S.A. de C.V. is an abbreviation for Sociedad Anónima de Capital Variable ("Anonymous Society of Variable Capital"). It simply means that AHMSA is a publicly-traded joint-stock company.

[5] Month names are not capitalized in Spanish.

[6] It got below freezing plenty of times, though.

[7] For those who are unsure why Latter-day Saints (Mormons) get married in temples, I recommend you visit here and here, where you can learn more about LDS beliefs concerning marriage. (Note that sometimes we call marriage in the temple "getting sealed".) If you have more questions, ask and maybe I'll do a full post on the topic.

[8] I was told that this tribe of Kikapoo made lots of money in the U.S. since, being Native Americans, they didn't need passports or visas to cross the border. But they preferred to live in México because they didn't have to deal with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and because taxes were cheaper. I don't know much about the laws of the U.S. and México concerning Native Americans, but I now suspect that this was more hearsay than truth.

[9] I wonder now, though, whether I meant an ejido instead of a tajo. An ejido is a Mexican commune. They tend to be very small farming communities subsidized by the national government. México is currently in the process of privatizing the ejidos. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ejido.

[10] Yes, that famous fort in Texas, the Alamo, is named after poplar trees.


  1. You say it was your first time to sing 99 bottles down to 0? Does that mean there were others to follow?

  2. Yes. Twice since then. And the other two times I was also riding in the back of a pickup truck.