In the Spring of 1993, I visited the Ojos Negros valley, in Baja California, for the first time, accompanied by Walter Zuñiga, who at the time was a graduate student at UABC/Ensenada. The purpose was to examine the damage caused by the winter rains on the outlet of Laguna Hanson, high up in the Sierra Juarez. Soon thereafter, Miguel Vélez, the municipal delegate, invited us to a jaripeo, the local rodeo.

The attraction of the rodeo was "El Mofle," a huge horse that must have been at least 16 hands high. As the horse made his entry to the arena, it looked like we were in for some excitement. But, something went wrong at the last minute, and "El Mofle" came out running like a mad horse, directly toward us, who were seated on the second bench row on the opposite side of the arena. Before we realized it, he jumped into the stands and almost fell on the lady who was seated in front of us. The whole incident lasted only a few seconds, and the lady was miraculously spared from serious injury, but she bruised her left leg.

The lady was Doña Rosita Bustamante, mother-in-law of the municipal delegate and a long-time resident of the valley. I helped Rosita treat her leg with some first-aid lotion that I had handy, and pretty soon she was on her way to full recovery.

After the accident, she became a very good friend. My visits to the valley, which became more frequent as time went on, always included a stop at Doña Rosita's. Despite her age, her conversation was agile and spirited, and she appeared to have the benefit of knowledge that only time can bestow. It was she that first encouraged us to research the climatic changes of the valley, which we began in 1998, some time after her death.1

1 The Ojos Negros Research Group, 2002. Sustainable management of water in the Ojos Negros valley, Baja California, Mexico.

The Late Rosita Bustamante, a long-time resident of the Ojos Negros valley.

The Late Rosita Bustamante, a long-time resident
of the Ojos Negros valley.