Monday, October 24, 2011

Clear and Present Information

Yesterday, I got an email from someone who said that readers would feel more of a connection if I showed a recent photo together with my name. My published photo dated from 50 years ago. I thought that perhaps I was short-changing my readers and published my recent passport photo. But just overnight. A comment by Tesaje made it obvious how that move made me feel vulnerable, almost coerced into doing something that went against the grain. I removed it, as well as my old one. Another factor that to me is more important than the way I look or did, is that I'm doing something that requires courage, determination, and more youth than one should possess at my age. So instead of being frozen in an image that is 50 years dated, or a present one that does NOT represent my true nature and character, I thought I'd do away with a picture frozen in any time at all. As to my name, which is an ancient French name, I've gone all my life by a nickname that would be associated with one very young and elfin like Audrey Hepburn. I am neither one nor the other. So please accept my decision to be portrayed by what I do, not by what I look like. I reveal myself with raw honesty in my words and my deeds. I hope it will suffice. Besides, I do gaze at the stars and here, where no street or city lights interfere with the darkness of the night , they sparkle as millions of diamonds in the night sky. I never tire of it.

I have changed the way of viewing the archives. They now begin with the oldest down to the latest. I moved on my lot in February 2010. I’m still in the RV; it will probably be my “home” for months to come. I realize that I haven’t toured much around and reported on it. But it will come when I have a car or van.
Back in January 2010, when I’d decided to move from Tequis to Oaxaca, it was with the idea of contacting a family of artisans living in Teotitlan del Valle, some 17 km from the city of Oaxaca. They had been introduced to me by the family son who lived next to Yuma, AZ, on the Mexican side. He had insisted that I would get help from his dad in finding a lot on which I could live in my RV while paying for the lot. On the very day just prior to my leaving for Oaxaca, some compatriots showed up at my casita on Juarez and invited me to dinner at their home in Santillan.

I went, detailed my plan to go to Oaxaca and was asked “… why go all the way to Oaxaca? There’s one lot right here for sale!”  The transaction was agreeable to both seller and buyer and that’s how I ended up boondocking on my lot for one year during which I paid for it. At the time of the purchase, I knew nothing about ejido lands. Didn’t know that they were unserviced lots and that much effort and money would have to be spent first in getting water, second that electricity was not a given. However, the 3 families belonging to a religious group had secured all this at considerable expense and one of them had a 15KVA transformer on his lot to which I’d hoped to get connected eventually…

Many attempts were made by one after the other of the members of that group to convince me to join their church. In vain. What I hadn’t known when I bought the lot was that their goal had been to develop a compound grouping members of the same religious persuasion. But I remained adamant in my resistance to join them and slowly became persona non grata. Particularly since I was told that I was in cahoots with Satan, being an astrologer. This meant that I would be isolated, a definite problem given that I have no vehicle. Fine… I thought. No sense crying over spilt milk. I’ll use public transportation and I’ll make other friends. I did.

Let me explain a bit about ejido lands. After the Mexican Revolution, land that had been kept in the hands of a few while most of the native population was forever indebted to the rich owners of haciendas and ranches was redistributed. The seized lands were meant to help the native workers farm FOR THEMSELVES and were thus divided up with the very specific goal of agriculture. Each area was and still is governed by a group of people called ejidatario. The sale of any lot was and is subject to the approval of this governing body, and requires every member’s approbation to convert the land into residential lots. This is the story in a very condensed nutshell.

I had to make the best of it and honestly, I was quite happy with my living conditions, hard as they were sometimes. I was consumed with learning Spanish and did so in order to get information first hand. There has been a mini-boom in construction around me, all by Mexican nationals, and we are soon to number 7 families wanting electric power. Electricity in Mexico is governed by a federal agency with a certain latitude given to individual states. In Querétaro, I hear that a minimum of 10 families is required to apply for power, the costs of which will be shared by each one. The 3 families who had their private network have been subject to very high consumer fees, some 10 times the normal cost. It appears that they might want to join our group to make up for the minimum of 10 families. All this is an ongoing saga. I will post any new development as it occurs.

I received all kinds of information and counsel from expats and from Mexicans. Often they were contradictory and I still have to separate genuine information from personal opinions. This is why, after listening to many, I opted for drawing my own house plan along Mexican standards. It made sense to me since I live in Mexico. I also want to be a part of the local population as a full-fledged participant. I have nothing against ivory towers, only as an ornament. I have no wish to live in one.

The bottom line is that I’m happy. I have my three dogs, and even though they can be a pain at times, they are equally fun to be with. I love them and love having them. I have genuine friends whom I would trust with my life. Since I have never yearned after riches, I’m satisfied with my pension and will accomplish my goal to one day live in my own personally designed house. Without any mortgage! I admit to having a certain pride in this.
I hope that in posting this, it will be a warning to those who would like to move to Tequisquiapan, to take old information with a grain of salt. If you have any question, I will be happy to give up to date information and get it if I don’t already have it. I have seen in equal measure people coming here with the intent to remain, leave disgruntled, as I have those who came, saw, and now live here content.

1 comment:

Tesaje said...

Thanks for the post on how you got to your land. It's interesting how you arrived at it. I'm glad you are happy. I don't think you owe anyone a picture posted publicly unless YOU want to. People make all kinds of demands that are not necessarily appropriate. Don't let people harass you into revealing more info than you want to.

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