Tag Archives: Water

Pleading in the Presidencia Phase 10

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.

presidencia

La presidencia de Moroleon (town hall)

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?

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Water Woes

ajibe

Using the ajibe (dry well)

As La Yacata does not have any water lines, nor sewer, nor electricity, daily living is challenging some days. Not having electricity requires that we make daily trips to town and buy just enough perishable foodstuff that we would eat in a day, and have the same thing for both lunch and dinner. Any organic scraps go to our animals. Nothing wasted. For lighting, we do what we can during the day and use a candle when it’s dark. For the most part, we rise and roost the same time as our chickens.

But not having water is much more difficult. We have an ajibe (dry well) that can hold about 3000 liters of water. Then we have a tinaco (water tank) on the roof that holds another 1500 liters. And recently we bought another water tank to hold the animals’ water. This amount of water will last us about 2 months.

tinaco

Our tinaco (water storage tank) on the roof of the house provides us with water for the kitchen sink, toilet, bathroom sink, and shower.

The rainy season begins in June and lasts until about the end of September. During the rainy season, there isn’t a shortage of water. We catch the rain in barricas (barrels), even been known to hang the blankets out for a little rain washing. The trick is then to get them dry.

For about 400 pesos, we can have a tanker truck full of water delivered to our house.

For about 400 pesos, we can have a tanker truck full of water delivered to our house.

But during the dry season, water is a problem. During the last president of Moroleón’s term, the local pozo (well) at Los Areas Verdes refused to provide us with water saying that the well was drying up. However, the tanker trucks that arrived daily and left full told a different story. I’m sure they paid more than the poor people in La Yacata. For awhile, Los Areas Verdes was charging us 50 pesos per barrica (barrel). So we had to look for alternatives.

The truck pulls in front of our house and we run a house from the truck to the ajibe and tinacos.

The truck pulls in front of our house and we run a house from the truck to the ajibe and tinacos.

We ordered a tanker of water directly from the bomberos (fire company), however they charged us for 10,000 liters but only left 7,000.  When we pointed out the discrepancy we were blacklisted and now no delivery to La Yacata.

water filling

Filling the water storage container.

Another of our solutions was to go to a little community called Ojo de Agua de en Medio.  As its name implies, there is a natural spring in the center of town.  A section of the spring has been diverted into a public trough, used for water livestock and washing clothes.  The water then runs into a sewer canal.  So we loaded up the tank in the truck and off we went.

bucket bridgade

From trough to bucket

into the tank

From bucket to tank

We used a bucket fire brigade line to fill the tinaco (water storage tank) and barricas (barrels) and headed back home. As our ajibe (dry well) is the rear of the house, we had to poke a hole in the wall to run the pipe in. My creative husband used an old bicycle inner tube to connect the tinaco (water storage tank) to the pipe and let gravity do the rest.

inner tube

From the back of the truck through the wall

into the ajibe

Through the wall into the ajibe (dry well)

As you can see, the process of getting water is not just a simple matter of turning on the faucet. Therefore, we respect each and every drop. This requires adapting how we used to do things.

For instance, in order to wash dishes, we employ what is called “drought washing.” Dirty dishes are stacked to the side. The sponge is soaped up. The dishes are soaped up. Then they are rinsed. No sink full of water for us.

My husband’s grandparents, being in their late 80s, have even more difficulty in obtaining water. So doing dishes at their house is more of bucket washing. Minimal water is used. The dirty water then goes to water the myriads of plants they grow. Not a drop wasted.

bucket washing at great-grandmas

The little guy helps great-grandma with her bucket washing

more bucket washing

Under the plants in the background is their ajibe (dry well). I’m pretty sure the same water has been there since the dawn of time.

Bathing uses quite a bit of water. We have a small gas boila (water heater) that provides the luxury of a nice hot shower. In order to both save gas and water, we schedule our showers so that we only have to light the water heater once. As one member finishes, the next jumps right in. When everyone is squeaky clean, we turn off the boila (water heater).

Our animals are also limited to the amount of water they use.  Each corral has a container for fresh water, but it the container is no bigger than the animals need.  For instance, the goats have a receptacle that will hold one bucket of water.  Since they won’t drink water that seems dirty to them (has grass bits in it) we reduced the amount of water wasted when we cleaned out their bowl.  The rabbits have an even smaller water dish, again with the idea to minimize waste.  So even though all our animals have fresh water daily, we try to keep the water waste low.  Additionally, the dirty water from the animals is used to water our fruit trees in the back.  Waste not, want not.

I could say that housecleaning too is diminished due to lack of water, but honestly, I didn’t do much of that even when we lived in the States.  Our house is clean, but not spotless.  I mop the entire house only once a week, then toss the water on the trees. I clean surfaces as they need it, not as a part of a daily ritual.  We’re good with that.

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