The other day a lady came to the door about some lots in La Yacata. Even though I’ve retired from active service, I still find myself called upon to advise. Her sons looked surprisingly familiar. In fact, they looked quite a bit like my nephew L. Turns out, they are related.
My husband’s sister M. took up with DZ, brother of the woman at the door. She had 3 children with him, although not his wife. They met in Cerano and when DZ migrated to Nebraska, she followed him, leaving the wife and her children in Cerano. My husband’s sister L. took up with LZ, brother of DZ and the woman at the door, although she was married with 2 children at the time. Her third son L is the result of that liaison and he’s the spitting image of the boys at the door. So then L married her second husband and had another son but took up with the LZ and DZ’s sister’s husband C for a time. She also managed to get the father MZ of LZ, DZ and the woman at the door, to sell her the lot on the corner in La Yacata. The property certificate was issued to her second husband’s mother, only it turns out that L was never legally married to the second husband since they married while she was still married to the first husband. When second husband and L had a falling out, she kept the certificate. Recently, the second husband has been coming around to try and sell the lot or give it in exchange for some money he owes–only he doesn’t have the certificate. He tried to accuse me of making another certificate in L’s name, but I haven’t. She’s never asked me to. I expect because L knows I wouldn’t authorize it without second husband’s mother’s signature.
Family issues aside–Ma.Z, the woman at the door proceeded to tell me her story of woe. Her father MZ bought several lots in La Yacata and partitioned them off amongst his children. She and her two sisters had lots just above us. Only RZ, one of the sisters and the wife of C, had taken all the original ownership certificates. Most of the certificates had been returned to the dad MZ–all except for Lot #9. And it was this lot that Ma.Z wanted to sell.
I showed her the property registry. Apparently, she had already sung this song to Super Prez because there was a notation to the effect that in the event someone comes forward with this certificate, the owner is Ma.Z. I told her there wasn’t anything more I could do but gave her some free advice. She could do one of two things–go to Ministerio Publico and have a demanda (lawsuit) drawn up against her sister RZ or offer to go miches (split the profit) on the selling price in an attempt to get RZ to agree to the sale. She left rather less than satisfied.
Then I had another visitor. This guy was an older gentleman and self-proclaimed corredor (which is someone who tries to sell lots to earn a small commission). So he had this certificate that was made by Chuchi in an area that didn’t exist. I told him this. I also told him the certificate that he had in his hand was a copy, not the original. He wanted me to give him another lot in exchange. I said I couldn’t since every lot had an owner (or 2 or 3). He then went on and on about how he knew the original owners and Chuchi. I said he should talk to them then. The president of the association is the son of the original owner. Chuchi has lost his house due to shady deals and as far as I know, has several open demandas (lawsuit) against him. Furthermore, the person listed on the certificate knew that his certificate was invalid because I had talked to him about 2 years ago. He could go to Ministerio Publico and have a demanda (lawsuit) drawn up against any of them. He left rather less than satisfied.
And then there were the golden van people who have come several times. First, the elderly lady wanted to know where her lots were. I showed her in the community plan. Then she wanted someone to clear them off. I said my husband would clear and mark the boundaries of her lots but there was a fee for that. They went away but came back a few weeks later saying that they had come several times looking for me. I told them that I worked and wasn’t always at home. She wanted to know when we were going to have a community meeting and start the next project. At the last meeting, so long ago, we presented the costs for water, sewage, pavement, and electricity to the community. Sewage would be the cheapest to obtain at $6,000 per lot. She wanted to know when we would begin collecting for that. I said that we could not begin another project until we paid for the lawyer and that cost was only $250 pesos per lot. If the community couldn’t be bothered to pay that, why on earth would we start a new project?
Meanwhile, the kids in the van got out. Puppy was laying in the shade under the truck. I told the people that he does bark, but won’t bite. Puppy was already cranky because the horse guy’s horses were wandering around loose and encroaching on his territory. The boy had a slingshot and the girl picked something that was in Puppy’s area, probably a rock. So he went ballistic. He charged the girl and growled at her. I stepped between Puppy and the girl and called him off. She hadn’t been bitten, just scared. But then, the dad, who had been standing there the entire time, picked up a boulder and tried to bash Puppy’s head in. I called him a name or two (in English because in times of high emotion my Spanish fails me) and told him to leave and not to return. I also yelled at the old lady and told her to sell her lots and be done with it. Perhaps not my finest moment. They left less than satisfied.
While I’m on the topic of La Yacata–we’ve been the subject of quite a bit of negative gossip. Apparently, someone said that my husband started the brush fire that burned the posts of the cholo borrachos’ (drunk cholos) lot. Of course, that isn’t true. It’s actually quite inconvenient that someone set the fire since now there’s nothing left for our sheep/goat herd/flock to eat. Plus it spawned a smoldering fire in the pig poop which takes weeks to burn itself out and smells! Then someone else said that my husband had broken into their place and stolen stuff. Again, this isn’t true. He does tend to pick up things like old pots and discarded candlesticks when he’s out with the goats which he sells for fierro viejo (recycling) but never goes into a house to steal anything. In fact, his presence is often a theft deterrent. The other day we were out with the animals and a suspicious van came along. The driver saw us and decided to go someplace else. Who knows what sort of funny business it had in mind?
Anyway, my husband is quite put out about all the chisme (gossip). I tried to tell him that it didn’t matter because he knew it wasn’t true and I knew it wasn’t true. He said that the neighbors threatened a demanda (lawsuit) against him. Initially, I scoffed at that because he hadn’t done anything so what is there to sue over? However, we are in Mexico and it’s guilty until proven innocent and how do you prove something that you haven’t done? Remember all those demandas I had to testify at (See Demanda 1, Demanda 2, Demanda 3)-all of them were bogus, but cost an arm and a leg to get it resolved. So perhaps I should be more concerned.
I’m also concerned that the golden van people will come back and poison Puppy. We’ve had a rash of mysterious chicken deaths this week. They could have been poisoned. It wouldn’t take much effort to lob some veneno (poison) over the walls into the backyard. There’s no conclusive proof though so I won’t be heading to Ministerio Publico to have a demanda (lawsuit) drawn up. It leaves me less than satisfied.
8 responses to “Less than Satisfied with Community Spirit”
Can I just say WOW! You have become the go to girl but it sucks on retaliation on things you aren’t even involved.
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I wish I could do more. I did what I could to help the community over the last 10 years to no avail. So now I’m tired and frustrated. 🙂
Love to read your perspective and adventures in Mexico. By now probably you will have learned that Mexico is quite diverse and it includes managing tough interpersonal relations. The kinds of interactions you describe are quite common in villages among inhabitants; who knows why. There is a saying: “pueblo chico, infierno grande”. The hardest thing is to learn how to navigate those in a way that is considered non insulting. For example, in many villages, not accepting food that’s being offered is an insult (whether you are allergic or not; asked for it or not). Having worked with many indigenous groups I can tell you that people in the van were angry and insulted by your “welcome”; whether your puppy could be justified by watching its territory, it was still considered mean that you did not send him away or leashed it when he was threatening the kids. I know it is hard to be polite enough in many situations when you feel treated unfairly but sometimes it is the only thing that will work. In villages sometimes there are people who are highly respected and hopefully will be reasonable as well, maybe you can identify who that person is and get support. Even for Mexicans from city it is a steep curve to learn how to navigate relationships when they buy and move into smaller villages. Good luck!
The proper word is “ministerio” not ministero.
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Thanks so much for your comments. Yes, I admit it wasn’t my finest moment but I get tired of people coming to my house expecting me to fix things that I have no control over. I do the best I can but realize I so much to learn yet even after 10 years. And I’ll fix that typo. 🙂
Yes, high drama sometimes. The opposite is true as well. Our neighbors have pictures of the cuidador from next door walking around their property and reaching into a window to steal a wallet. The police will do nothing. The pictures identify him clearly including his tattoos.
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Yeah, no help from police here either.
This reminds me so much of my husband’s relatives at the rancho! But you know what they say: pueblo chico infierno grande.
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Exactly! I’m not even related to these people.
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