So, we have entered 2013, still waiting on the judge in the second demanda (lawsuit) to send a neutral perito (surveyor) and make a ruling. The Christmas season has ended, and Lent has begun and it is time for another junta (community meeting). We waited all of February for Desorolla Urbana (the permit office) to give us a definite date when they would come to La Yacata and explain in general terms why what is in place in terms of water, sewage and electricity, is not serviceable. Finally, we could not wait any longer and set the date for March 10.
On March 8th, we were given an appointment in Desorolla Urbana to meet with the new director. When Moroleón elects a new town presidente (mayor), most of the government employees are replaced with cronies and relatives of the new presidente (mayor). As the new president took office in December, the director in Desorolla Urbana is not the same one that we met with before. I’m not sure how this is an effective way to manage government since often the replacements are even less qualified than the previous ones. As they know they will only have 3 years at this post, there is no effort on their part to do things the way they ought to be done to prevent future problems for the next person who holds that position. Regardless, it’s best to make the attempt.
I took special care with my appearance, even so far as painting my toenails, not that I thought it would necessarily help, but my philosophy is it’s better to approach the powers that be arrayed as a queen willing to negotiate than a peasant begging for favors. R is currently in the States, so would not be present for the meeting. Super Prez and I made arrangements to meet in the entrance of the Presidencia (town hall) a few minutes before the meeting.
When he arrived, I could see he also took care in his appearance. Instead of the normal polo shirt, he wore jeans and a blue-checked country bumpkin shirt, although he left out the oversized belt buckle and boots that would have completed the outfit. Of course, some of the effect was ruined in the crisp ironed creases in his obviously new shirt, but I suppose he was making an attempt to be more representative of the colonos (property owners) in La Yacata.
So we went upstairs. On the way, Super Prez, who averages 2 to 3 days in the Presidencia (town hall) per week because of his business (he has a construction company that is often employed by the municipality), was greeted by several Presidencia (town hall) employees, even the current presidente (mayor) JG, who stopped and shook his hand as he hurried out to a meeting. We didn’t have long to wait and were ushered into the new director’s office.
The director started by handing us a list of applications made by La Yacata since 1997 and that’s pretty much all we got from him. He talked about how things are more accessible nowadays and problems that he has with Chuchi. While we agreed with all of this information, I pointed out that those that needed to hear this information were the colonos (property owners) of La Yacata and asked when he would be available to come to La Yacata or whether we should send all 680 members to his office. I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m not really the sort of person that should be taken along in political pussyfooting. Anyway, he didn’t have a date scheduled and most assuredly wouldn’t consider a Sunday visit, although that is the day we have always had our juntas (meeting).
Needless to say, I was a bit disgruntled when we left the office. What were we supposed to tell the colonos (property owners) on Sunday? That yet again, Desorolla Urbana was not interested in stirring themselves to help us make things right? Hardly the stuff that inspires community spirit.
But the meeting went better than expected. We started with a complete run-down of our expenses since Super Prez took over. Apparently, there were some speculations that we were in this for the money. Well, being a detailed oriented and honest person, I could account for every single centavo that passed through my hands. Hopefully, that doubt has been laid to rest for the moment. Then Super Prez read the paper given to us by Desorolla Urbana and got the people to agree on a day and a time of day to re-invite Desorolla Urbana and the registradores (I’m not sure yet who they are but seem to be those that make the final decisions). So, some Monday in the near future in the morning, we will have this inspection of sorts. While Super Prez was explaining all of this technical stuff, it suddenly dawned on some of the colonos (property owners) that all services that had been supposedly completed by Chuchi were not usable and all the money that Chuchi had received was gone and that all the services would need to be redone and consequently, paid for by us again. This is not anything new but does still engender frustration and anger. Before it could get out of hand, I decided I needed to say something. I spoke fumblingly, not having the words I wanted in Spanish, but surprisingly everyone was patient and heard me out. My point was that yes, we are all frustrated and angry but we need to be unified in our efforts and not let the anger stop us. If we aren’t unified, we won’t ever be in a position to improve our living situation. That seemed to calm down most of the attending members for a bit.
Our problem is that La Yacata has never been granted the “cambio de uso de suelo” permit which changes the fraccionamiento (neighborhood) from agricultural to residential. Without this permit, there are no permits for water, sewer or electricity. I think we finally got that point across this time.
The meeting broke up when our 97-year-old property owner fell and cut her head open. One colona (property owner who isn‘t living in La Yacata) asked me if I had some ice to put on the Doña’s head to help stop the bleeding. Maybe I was a little scornful with my answer–that NO, there is no electricity in my house, therefore, no ice–but really now! Anyway, Doña Maria was taken by a fellow colono (property owner) to the hospital.
After the junta (meeting) I talked with Super Prez a bit and remarked that the speed with which we were moving in our efforts to advance the colonia (neighborhood) were not at a speed that Doña Maria would be a beneficiary of. Super Prez, though, believes that we have made good progress in the 18 months or so that we have been making efforts to get organized, but did agree that Doña Maria may not live to have water, sewage, and electricity. As this Monday is the birthday of Benito Juarez and a federal holiday and the following week begins Semana Santa (Holy Week), it will be at least a month before we can get anyone in the Presidencia (town hall) to come and see us. No hurry though, right?