The Borderlands - Gallery

Dr. San Juana Mendoza in pharmacy

Filming with Dr. San Juana Mendoza

Over the months we worked with San Juana in her clinic, we grew to love her passion for her work to improving the lives of her patients. She strives to heal the entire person, providing dignity and self-reliance as well as medical advice. She says as people move closer to the US border, they tend to forget their traditional ways of using healing herbs.

Priscilliano & Rosalinas Family standing for the camera outside their home

Prisciliano and Rosalina's Family

Dr. Mendoza helped us find a family who could serve as an example of how borderland people blended the use of healing herbs with modern medicines. She led us to Rosalina Sanchez Medoza (left) and her husband, Prisciliano Cortes Cruz. Their story was so compelling we taped with them in several locations. They are pictured here with Prisciliano's mother and two children.

Bags and people at airport customs

Customs at Mexican Airport

Jeanne and Patrick's documentary work has taken them around the world several times, but this was the first time they traveled with a baby as a part of the "cast." It was a delight to watch the family adjust so quickly to life on the road.

Sitting with the Prisciliano family and having local foods

New Experiences "On Location"

Taping this production was filled with lots of "firsts" for the Prisciliano family. It was their first time on an airplane, and their first chance to return to Rosalina's village since the birth of her four children. They traveled like pros and never complained about the long days.

Patrick filming the Village Celebration

Taping an Annual Village Celebration

We taped in the village during their feast for the patron saint. The color, music, and fireworks during the day made for a great video. But we were dismayed to learn it literally went on for 48+ hours in the front yard of the building where we stayed. It rattled the windows and beds with no stop during our entire stay in the village.

Villagers giving traditional handmade paper flags during celebration

Handmade Flags Given as Gifts

On the feast day for the patron saint, young children make their first communion. Then they celebrate by giving away flags and flowers they have made to all their neighbors and family. There was a rush for these gifts, requiring some quick camera work from Patrick to capture the excitement before it was over.

Child with paper flowers

Villagers Value Children's Gifts

Villagers believe a gift from a child making their first communion will bring luck all year. The local villagers were not a bit camera shy as we taped them gathering and then showing off their good luck gifts.

Patrick filming outside the local alebrijes carving of a colorful lizard

Filming a Local Carving

The fanciful wooden carvings (known as alebrijes) are easily recognized icons for Oaxaca. There were so many delightful creations, it was hard to select which ones to tape - or buy. Naturally we came home with a suitcase full.

Amada Aguilares, Oaxacian healer, outside her home

Oaxacan Healer

Amada Aguilares is the curandera (healer) for her entire village and surrounding area. She lives some distance outside the town in a wild area so she can be closer to her medicinal herbs. There was no phone in the village, much less in her simple hut, so it was impossible to be sure our "star healer" would even be home during the time we were on location. But clients always drop in unannounced, so she didn't seem surprised to see us climbing up her hill.

Amada Aguilares, traditional healer and Dr. Mendoza

Local Healer and Medical Doctor

It was wonderful to see the professional respect between Rosalina's two "doctors." San Juana (far right) has a medical degree and Amada Aguilares (green hat) has centuries of traditional knowledge. They happily discussed various herbs and their experiences treating rare and difficult cases.

Amada Aguilares, traditional local healer and Dr. Mendoza with local villagers

Two Healers Share Family's Care

In the village, the curandera (healer) is almost a family member. Therefore, it was only natural for Rosalina (center blue blouse) to introduce her youngest daughter, Irali, to the curandera who had cared for her as a child. Rosalina's mother and sister are on the far left.

Amada Aguilares, local healer holding patients daughter

The Healer with Former Patient's Daughter

The village curandera (healer), Amada Aguilares is pictured here with Irali, Rosalina's daughter. Amanda was the only 'doctor' Rosalina knew from the time she was Irali's age. Therefore, holding Irali was like turning back the hands of time for Amada.

Patrick eating mole

Patrick Eating Mole

Oaxaca is world famous for its mole - a mixture of chocolate and chile peppers. Most restaurants feature at least seven distinctive types, each with totally different flavors. Patrick never missed an opportunity to sample the local delights. He wrote a magazine article about the savory experiences.

Patrick sitting and waiting by a colorful turquoise building on location

Colorful Waiting Spot

Being "on location" is usually quite physically demanding for Patrick Holian, the videographer, co-producer and writer for this show. So when we needed someone to watch the van full of TV gear while others bought supplies, Patrick agreed to "stand guard" and sat in the only protection he could find from the 100+ degree noon day sun.

Patrick outside Oaxaca ready to film the scenery

Patrick Outside Oaxaca

As we travel to and from our destination, we always slow down at each vista to see if it offers a unique view of the region. This overview was especially nice as we could see the agricultural areas, the small village and church, and the distinctive mountain.

Patrick with camera in a room

Series Ends in Pittsburgh

This was the last shot on the last location of Ancient Roots - Modern Medicine. The series had taken us from blazing hot Jordan to a tropical island to the arid lands of Mexico. Therefore, it seemed a bit strange ending our production in a snow blizzard at a medical research lab in Pittsburgh. It's this type of variety that makes documentary production something you can do for a lifetime.

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