Tunsavi - The House of The Troubled Waters - Mélanie Wenger
Tunsavi - The House of The Troubled Waters
On the slope of a hill between a hole in the ground and an old barn resides a Temeskal, a sweat lodge of sorts. The blue blanket steams into the freezing wind as pigs wander through. The cold air comes roaring through as Veronica takes off her belt and red top. The bewildering look on her face while she barely slips under the blanket made it known that the cold air didn’t phase her. All the while, back in the kitchen, a young lady is cooking on a tiny fire. Daylight can be seen pouring in from above through the wooden planks of what is to resemble a roof. The wind continues to howl through as there is no distinction between where the indoor space ends and the outdoor space begins. There is unseen movement under the covers of a straw mattress that laid on the floor. “Watch for baby” says a young kid walking into the kitchen to ensure the baby’s presence was noticed.
At the age of 14 and for 50,000 pesos, Veronica was sold at the hands of her father to marry a man she had never met and into a family she had never encountered. This is not uncommon here as a lot of young ladies of Cochoapa-la-Grande in Guerrero, Mexico are sold for marriage by their parents. This remote municipality is mostly populated by poppy farmers and is also the second poorest of the country. 99% of the population is in extreme poverty and 93% of the original plants to produce the heroin sold in the USA are cultivated in this region. Migration is the main reason that families forgo their traditional values, turning dowry to human trafficking.

We tried to enter the Cochoapa Mountains to meet several young, early married girls, some of whom have since divorced, others who have managed to escape from these arrangements at the cost of abandoning their families. This is the story of this remote mountain, an outlaw community in Guerrero, Mexico's most dangerous state, which tells the very secret life of these girls they sold and those who bought them.