Climate change and poverty threaten to wash away the coastal community founded by fugitive slaves.

Oaxaca, Mexico – Outside Mama Cointa’s home where she has lived for almost all her life, guests have gathered to celebrate her 101st birthday. Her friend Victor steadies her quivering hand with his own while she tilts a ribbon-wrapped bouquet of wilting flowers to her nose. Her son Don Amado ushers visitors inside their family home.

“Our home is the last of its kind here,” Amado said, ducking underneath a sheet of thatched palm leaves hanging over the entranceway to a windowless, one-room house, where he was raised by his mother, Mama “Cointa” Chavez Velazco, in the village of Tecoyame, Oaxaca.

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