Two Stories

Two stories. It’s a first in La Tigra, our new tiered hacienda style auydantia. There is one house with a room on the second floor, but everybody says (thinly masking their envy) it’s very ugly so it doesn’t count. Certainly it is not as grand as our fancy new court house, which will have screened doors and windows and even internet it’s rumored…someday.

Our five kilometers of paved road took three years to complete. The hope is that this building will be completed before the administration changes hands again, in 2018, and things grind to a screeching halt, rather than the current steadily protracted pace.

Everybody is very excited about this structure; it is even creating a little community spirit–both good things of course. But I can’t help but wonder why no one seems to see the symbolism in this construction.

The last time I was in the old auydantia I noticed it needed a paint job. Still, it was a sturdy useful building. The architectural style–practical. Proletariat. And for a humble rural town in Morelos, the state the provided Zapata most of his revolutionaries, it was a building that appropriately represented its public.

I assure you that during the Grita (Independence day celebration) the citizenry of La Tigra take their Zapatista chant, Tierra y Liberdad, and their peon origins very seriously. So why are they excited about having the simple building that is the hub of political life destroyed and replaced by a construction that obviously signifies, and I would say, indicates future adherence to oppressive colonial ideology?  The only thing missing to cement this impression is Mayans being crushed under the feet of conquistadors in the pillars.

As a successful business man put it concisely, and depressingly to Felipe, “Well, you’ve got to go with the winners don’t ya?”

This is the attitude in our community as well. And who are the winners?

Americans. (This version of american: shiny smiled, driving a new car, listening to an iPod, texting on an iPhone, on the way to home to play Xbox on a widescreen.)

That was the business man’s opinion, and that embracing the American business model and stratified culture is the best route for(some) Mexicans to be winners too. La Tigrains seem to agree, they’re just vying for position on those higher rungs. The consumerist dream of prosperity flourishes.

Everyone was excited when the PRI purposed this project, an upgrade always means progress, no? We are not the only pueblo that received one, our sister town El Studiante is now dominated by a colonial edifice as well.

When talking with our family about it, I got myself in trouble by saying, “Why not a sewer system? Why a new ayudantia that we don’t even need?”

I’m such a killjoy.

Incidentally, as was my concern with our growing population of humans and contained livestock within the city limits resulting in even more fetid stagnant water,this season there are concerns about a dengue outbreak in La Tigra. We’re putting our faith in Clorox to preempt it. Entering La Tigra is like walking into a bleach cloud. Or–maybe we can all take refuge in the confines of our community’s new haciendic keystone– if they ever get the windows in that is.

© 2013 Abby Smith, Writer