So after a hiatus of 6 months, we finally scheduled a community meeting in October. In case you think it’s an easy matter, it took the usual week to deliver the volantes (flyers) and there weren’t enough funds in the Yacata account to pay for our time or to put a “spot” on the radio.
Our main points were: 1–Request payments from those colonos (associates) who have not picked up their certificates ($100 pesos) or paid the $250 pesos for the lawyers. As tesorera (treasurer) I had the honor of reading la lista de verguenza (the list of shame), naming names and pointing fingers at colonos who have yet to pay their dues.
2–La Yacata is not a basurera (trash dump) and each person is accountable for his or her responsible trash or animal feces disposal (See Good Fences make Good Neighbors)
3–Explain the encuesta (interview form) that we would be requesting from each colono (associate) as to whether we could proceed with projects for los servicios (water, sewer and electric) beginning in January 2014. The approximate cost for all the services including pavement was $50,000 pesos per lot. That amount brought gasps of shock. The proposal would be that by December of 2014, all of the aforementioned items would be in place and serviceable. Theoretically of course. Things in México always take longer than anticipated.
4–Mention that there still were no resolutions for the second two demandas (lawsuits) against la colonia (neighborhood) (See Demanda 1, Demanda 2, Demanda 3) but all signs pointed to jail time for the perforador del pozo (well hole digger) and Chuchi. (See Negotiating for La Yacata) although that didn’t mean we would get back any of money stolen by said litigants.
5–Remind the colonos (community members) that is was a crime to cut trees without a permit. We were lucky enough to have someone from the Dept. of Ecologia at the junta (meeting) and were able to put into place a plan for the next time the motosierra (chainsaw) was let loose in La Yacata. (See Good Fences make good neighbors).
6–Ask that the colonos (community members) not lump the current mesa directiva (community leaders) with Chuchi and call us rateros (thieves). These types of comments particularly irritate me. As treasurer, I am responsible for giving an accounting of what money comes in and goes out, which I do every meeting. One colono said that he heard comments to the effect that there was some doubt as to where the money is spent. I about spit fire at that. I said that that simply wasn’t true. I have receipts for all expenditures and that anyone who was interested could come and check my books if they liked. With that, I gave the accounting for the current month. When I said that there was not a single cent left after delivering volantes (flyers) another lady–who had never come to a junta before and had never put a single solitary cent from her own pocket into the community fund–said that it wasn’t possible that it cost $600 pesos for flyers. I clarified that it wasn’t the copies that cost $600 pesos but the delivery. It takes nearly a full week for my husband, my son and I, to write up, organize and deliver the flyers. I snippily asked if there were any volunteers at the meeting that would do this work for free. I think I must have had lightening shooting from my eyes because everybody took a step back and remained perfectly silent. I went on to say that my interest was in the advancement of La Yacata, since I lived here, not the little bit of money that comes in. I think I impressed them with that point because another colono pointed out that we aren’t asking for money, only that those that owe, pay what they owe. The same lady then wanted to know why we didn’t take legal action to get these deadbeats to pay up. I retorted by pointing out that it would cost more to demandarlos (sue) them than we would get. With these cheery points, we ended the meeting and attempted to distribute encuestas (survey sheets).
The irritating lady was still there and wanted to be shown where “her” lots were. I pointed them out on the plan but didn’t have the inclination to walk with her to see them. She went to view “her” kingdom and straight away said she wanted to sell the lot that was up the hill. She turned to me and asked if I would be interested in buying it. I nearly blurted out “sure, with the money that I steal from La Yacata you *$&#)” but restrained myself. I say “her” lots because once upon a time her mother bought these 2 lots. When her mother died, her mother’s husband came and laid claim to them. He paid for the new registration and the $250 per lot for legal defenses. The lots, therefore, are in her step-father’s name and unless he authorizes it, she won’t be able to sell either lot.
My high hopes that perhaps we could advance into the 20th century have been dashed. So few encuestas (surveys) have been turned in that we will have to personally invite all 500+ colonos to come to Super Prez’s office and fill out the form. Of course, this will mean a further tax on my limited time and even more limited resources since La Yacata fund has nothing in it because of point #1–see above. A veces, es muy pesado ser parte de La Yacata. (At times, it’s a heavy load to be part of La Yacata).