For the last three decades, Benito Hernandez and his wife have been living under a huge rock, in Mexico’s Coahuila Desert, 80 kilometers from the US border.
Benito 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. Many 8-year-olds have crazy dreams, but Benito’s followed him into adulthood. 55 years ago, when he and his family first discovered the remote rock formation, a man could 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, he beat off other who would claim the rock for themselves and 20 years later he finally became its legal owner. He could finally build his dream house under the boulder that fascinated him all this time.
Photo: Daniel Becerril/REUTERS
The Candelilla harvester 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. Life is simpler during the summer, when they work hard to harvest the little desert plant used mostly in the production of chewing gum and in the cosmetic industry, but during the winter, when Candelilla doesn’t produce much wax and the desert spring freezes, they struggle to make ends meet. “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. Despite being the only ones still leaving in the remote area, he and his wife won’t leave the rock house they raised seven children in.
Source: International Business Times