Compiled by PEDRO LAHOZ WOLFE

Sanda lives in Oaxaca, Mexico. Photo: Pedro Lahoz Wolfe
Sanda lives in Oaxaca, Mexico. Photo: Pedro Lahoz Wolfe

Name: Sandra

Age: 16

Hometown: San Antonio, Oaxaca, Mexico

Languages spoken: Spanish

School: Sandra left school at 14 to work.

Work: She first started working when she was 8, selling tamales that her mother made. Now she works in a small hotel in Mazunte, an area on the Pacific coast close to her home. She greets guests and helps them to feel welcome, asks them what life is like in other places, sweeps and does laundry.

Family: Her father is a farmer; he grows corn, beans and squash.

Favorite pastimes: Dancing

Favorite food: steak

Dream for the future: To become a veterinarian: “I love caring for animals.” She says there are veterinarian courses at the Oaxacan university, but they are expensive.

Place she most wants to go: “Cities”

Message to U.S. kids: “Our country is beautiful. Everyone is welcome here. You should come visit.” she says it is hard for Mexicans who want to go to go to the U.S. to work.

Mexico at a Glance

Population: 106.5 million

Capital: Mexico City

Languages: Spanish (official language); 62 indigenous languages

Religions: Roman Catholic (76%); Protestant (6%)

President: Felipe Calderon

Poverty: 50% of Mexicans live in poverty

Learn a little Spanish!

farmer: campesino

dancing: bailando

squash: calabaza

welcome: bienvenidos

turtle: tortuga