Actopan is one of the communities near the city of Pachuca which is the capital of the State of Hidalgo, in Mexico. The name ‘Actopan’ comes from the Otomí: Man’uts’i and means my small way. On the 13 July 2015, they held the 469th anniversary of the founding of the town, a tradition which they continue every year. This is where my story begins of how Don Juan Erbinio Pérez López worked for more than 40 years in the very heart of this fair.
Don Juan talks to us about the traditions of the fair, which was created to celebrate the anniversary of the Actopan district. This place is full of culture and amazing food, and is home to a unique style of grill cooking.
A competition exists specifically on the subject of barbecue and at each event there are three places, first place takes the title of being the best barbacoyero of the country. For the winner this is a huge honour, since Actopan is known as the place where the best barbecue exists in all of Mexico.
Don Juan who now works the streets of the fair, shows us photos of back when he was a truck driver. Even after his accident where he lost both of his legs, he continued working as a trailer driver.
After a time he was already very tired from so many years of being on the road and driving, it was then that he chose to continue his life as a bolero or shoe shiner.
In the words of Don Juan he says “there is no better way to describe this fabulous fair than with photography”.
It is here while he works that Don Juan sees all walks of life on the streets of Actopan, and creates his pathway, in his own small way.