The forgotten region of San Juan de Abajo
San Juan de Abajo is a suburb of León (Central Mexico) and, hence, not only belongs to one of the country's biggest agglomerations, but is also situated in one of the most poverty-stricken regions of the federal state of Guanajuato. Here, half of the population lives below the poverty line. There is hardly any public infrastructure such as drinking water, health facilities, paved roads, a sewage system or schools. Extremely high rates of illiteracy and school dropouts are characteristic for the region. Moreover, violence in families, vandalism, gangs, rapes, teenage pregnancies and addictions pose major problems.
Most of the population work as construction workers. The unemployed keep their heads above water by collecting and selling recyclable plastic bottles. Nothing is safe here: all too often the little things people possess are stolen – by others who have even less. Nevertheless, the inhabitants of San Juan de Abajo neither give up nor let themselves go. Always neat and impeccably styled, they disguise their poor living standards.