by Rachel Ogbu
It’s not a figure of speech, at least not in this case; Benito Hernandez, his wife and seven children have been living under a huge rock, in Mexico’s Coahuila Desert, 80 kilometers from the US border.
For the last three decades Hernandez started visiting the 40 meter diameter rock that now serves as a roof for his sun-dried brick home when he was just eight years old. He liked it so much that he decided to one day make it his home.
55 years ago it was legal to claim a piece of land by settling on it for long periods of time, so during the many years they spent working in the area harvesting the Candelilla plant.
20 years later, and winning two other men who were also interested, he finally became its legal owner.
He used sun-dried bricks and cement to build the walls of his desert home, and locally-sourced wood for the windows and doors. It took him a few years, but he managed to build a home for his family, although it doesn’t have a reliable energy supply or sanitary sewers. They use a wood-burning stove to cook the food, and get their water from a fresh-water spring in the area.
“It gets very cold here and we struggle to get food. We have to work hard here on the Candelilla (fields). That’s the only job we have. That’s what we live from,” Benito said.
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