I took the above picture outside of Ciudad Juarez, in the sand dunes of Samalayuca, in 2009. I remember walking over the dunes and thinking about how many bodies had been buried there in the past few decades; how many Ni Nombres (the unnamed dead in the drug war) lay beneath my feet. Narcofosas (mass graves) have been discovered there in the past; I knew full well I might be treading on someone’s sacred turf.
Then I saw this little kid, jumping around on the dunes. I talked to her and her parents – like many locals, they came there from Juarez every weekend for a long walk. They didn’t think about the deaths, they said, they thought about their own footprints, the steps they were taking toward the future, steps toward a better future for their little girl.
I walked back to the car with that in mind. I didn’t think about the dead bodies anymore, I thought about the future, a future where one wouldn’t have to walk over dead bodies in order to enjoy one of the most beautiful spectacles on the planet.