Sunday, March 09, 2008

Displaced

Each Saturday I volunteer at the Readers Membership Library which has an extensive collection of donated books, mostly English, that is a real treasure for the community. For several weeks I've noticed a group of men wearing distinctive sombreros who occasionally congregate in the small park across from the library. Yesterday I finally asked if I could take their photos, but am not quite clear about the reason for their presence--the language difficulty; remember that I'm not even close to being able fully to understand Spanish. What I have gathered, however, is that these men have been displaced by the building of a dam in their locality (don't know where), and there is an agency near the park that is helping them. I don't know how they've been displaced: homes, community, farmland??-unclear. Plus I don't know how the agency is helping. I do know that they're probably not in a great situation, but despite that, they were cordial to me. This is the Mexican trait that has totally captivated me--the people are unfailingly friendly, patient, and helpful!

18 comments:

Fénix - Bostonscapes said...

Hi Kate. I googled a bit and I think the article below (Google translation) explains the situation:

"PRESA PICACHO: In February of the 2006 it initiated his construction in the río Presidio in the municipality of Mazatlán that would flood 770 hectares. It will be financed under an unpublished scheme in the country: the beneficiaries would contribute in cash 21%; CNA 49%; the government of state 24%, and the municipality and Potable Water the Meeting of Mazatlán will contribute in equal parts of 3%. The work tries to incorporate to the agricultural irrigation 22,500 hectares, in benefit of 3.700 producers of that port and bordering zones; besides to avoid floods and to equip with safe potable water until the yar 2035, according to the argument of the government. The total cost of the project is of approximately 2.5 billion pesos and would be the Brazilian company Andrade Gutiérrez, in association with its Mexican unit, and the Renter local company and Material the people in charge to develop the work. The dam will catch water and have capacity to store more than 560 million cubic meters. Nevertheless, the region has much delay and marginalization, and it practically does not have agricultural production and most of its crops are seasonal. On the other hand, the conflict is latent. The farmers of the communities of San Marcos, Casas Viejas, La Puerta and Las Iguanas demand information, certainty and fair indemnification for the expropriation of their land, whereas the authorities have been lying. In the 2006 they threatened stopping the work. The authorities offered to equip them with houses Infonavit type and to relocate them in the community of La Noria, but their present condition has impoverished. A budget of 100 million pesos for the indemnifications exists, but the parts have not reached any agreement with the settlers. Sara Olivia Lucas, one of the relocated ones, accused the state government of destroying close to 25 hectares where she used to grow corn and watermelon, "but nobody has come to measure affected land. They said to us that if we had certificate of the land they will pay us within a year or two years. That is long time. What we are going to eat in the meantime?". Juan Rivas, commissioner of La Puerta, said: "they promise to us that they are going to construct a town exactly like ours, with all the services, with pantheon, church and school, but do not tell us where, and seems that they want to send us to Las Lajitas, where there is nothing but rock". To its communities they have gone the mayor Alejandro Higuera and directors of the state Hydraulic Infrastructure Bottom of Sinaloa (Fihsin), those who the farmers do not trust, because they used the companies of attendance to one of the ejidales assemblies to shape them in the document of the consent so that the dams were built on their lands."

(I've corrected a few -hilarious!- translation mistakes - too lazy to translate the whole article).

Take care.

Annie said...

Hi Kate, I'm glad they have the chance to spend time together, probably figuring out together what to do next.

Nathalie said...

This is one of the things I like most about your blog Kate: your great portraits !

I'm glad you told the story of these men and showed their friendly faces.

note - Sombreros, you say? Are all hats caled sombreros there? To me the sombrero was a typical hat of conic shape and a tendency to huge proportions. Wouldn't these hats be "panamas" ?

alice said...

Understand exactly what they are doing there is another motivation for your Spanish lessons! But to make great portraits, you could be the teacher...Have a nice Sunday!

Jilly said...

Interesting story, Kate and great photographs. Such good portraits.

Why tho, is the man in the fourth photo giving you the very rude sign? At least in Europe, this is very rude! V for Victory is with the palm facing out - don't ask what it means with the back of the hand showing!

Carraol said...

Its so sad, a common situacion on all the country and politicians keep lying to the people.

ruth said...

Such sweet smiles.

Yes, be grateful for your warmth there. Such a long winter it's been here, but no doubt worse in MN as it always is. Spring will be welcomed wildly.

Kate said...

**Fenix, Now I know why your blog is so great; you do lots of research. Thanks for the information.
Nathalie: If I believe my Spanish teacher, a sombrero is a hat, any kind of hat; not a cap, but a hat and definitely
not just the broad brimmed one that we typically associate with Mexicans.
Jilly: I seriously doubt that the señor was making an obscene gesture. First of all, it was a joke meant as victory because the man seated with him was initially reluctant to have his photo taken, and, more important, this rudeness would be totally uncharacteristic for a Mexican! I{ve been to lots of different countries and even I am totally unaware of the distinction you make about hand position. Another lesson to be learned!

Jilly said...

I so agree with you Kate about Fenix's research. He's brilliant!

Meanwhile I've done a little research myself on the hand gesture and it turns out that it's considered v rude in the UK (which is why I know it, of course) and also in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Italy. Take a look at this link, which tells of how Churchill was advised not to use his famous V sign with the palm facing toward him. Scroll down to No. 7. (Apologies indeed to your nice Mexicans) - I've learned something too.

The top 10 hand gestures

George Townboy said...

This is a beautiful post!

edwin s said...

Great post Kate. And thank you fénix for the article.

Erm, these men are wearing the same hat???

Chris said...

Hey, Kate! Great photos. Thanks to Fenix for posting that information, too.

I am interested in the library. I have some books that I would be willing to donate if they need them - from children's to adults. I'll email you privately.

marley said...

i'm glad you've found the people so friendly. It makes the world a better place. I hope things work out for these men.

Nikon said...

They do look friendly - like most of the townspeople you've photographed.
The Mexican day laborers around here can be spotted a mile away by the straw cowboy hats.
RI doesn't have many Mexicans yet - mostly Dominicans here.

Wanda said...

Beautiful photo's and narative. Two of my son-in-laws are Spanish, thus I have grandchildren that have that beautiful look and warm spirit.

Southern Heart said...

I love the photo (I love people photos!).

My son is majoring in turf agronomy, and has done 3 internships where he supervised Latino employees, and he really admires them, how they take care of their families, and their strong work ethic. He said that he "has learned from" them.

J. Andrew Lockhart said...

what a sad story! :(

photowannabe said...

This is indeed a very sad story of the plight of the working man.
I love your portraits of these men.