Sunday, July 20, 2008

What Is It About Poverty?

After being on the road for two weeks and now taking a weekend break before heading out, I have time to reflect a bit about where we have been, what we have done, and all the things that I have seen.
I had a good work friend some 25 years ago, her name was Kay Platt from San Antonio. She was a great gal who married a guy named Ronnie. They set up house, had what we all thought was a perfect marriage. Kay was a perfectionist at just about everything and I prided her in that. Her house was a joy to visit. It was always clean and smelled so fresh. That was when potpourri was so popular and she had it everywhere. The only thing about Kay was that in her short life, she knew nothing outside of San Antonio, literally. She had never flown on a plane, ridden a train or had gone as far as Garden Ridge which is maybe 10 miles North of San Antonio.
One day she said to me, "you know, I admire you. You are always going somewhere". I told her she should think about a trip. She said there was no possible way that she could ever get on a plane much less leave her house for a weekend. One day, she took me up on the offer but only after pushing a million zillion Las Vegas brochures down on her desk. We boarded a Southwest flight, oh the look on her face was priceless. To make this part of the story short, they loved the trip. Not much after that, she found her way. She divorced that cheating, worthless, no good bum of a husband and started a new career. I haven't seen her since then and word is she is happily married and prefers the limelight. I just hope she met a guy who keeps her on the go.
So this brings me to all the small towns we have passed through and to date there are about 23 municipios and a slew of even smaller ejidos and congregaciones. You see people lounging around the plazas, some people sitting behind the counters in their stores and shops, some sense of economic activity and bit of hustle and bustle. But there seems to be a certain malaise that drones on and on. In these parts, most people move to Monterrey or they go to the states. They don't necessarily forget their roots, hey a Mexican is a Mexican for life I don't care what papers they carry. But you know one thing, they send money home and sometimes they visit or they move back and seem to think that's it.
Yet I see so much more opportunity for all of these places. On the other hand, and this is where I am going, people find it easy to look around them and be complacent with their surroundings. There is so much workable land, government programs that literally close for lack of takers. Lack of self-iniciative after so many years of bad government. That has all passed us but we seem to be stagnated in the mire and muck of those awful years. I truly believe that many human beings think that this is how life is supposed to be. We live in a society that thrives on sacrifice and suffering. People who think that everything about themselves and their country is bad and everything North of the border is paradise. And here I am, some little old gringo that studied English in Mexico and I think life just couldn't get any better, although it continues to everyday.
Maybe I am seeing this from a different angle. I see towns that show life and luster but are just sitting in the box with the top closed gathering dust. I see so much hope, work, livelihood and opportunity. What are these local mayors thinking? Is it all about greed and politics?
Tourism is a great industry. Unfortunately, in our great state of Nuevo Leon, it is very low on the totem pole. I have received so many emails from people who have thanked me for showing what a great town they came from. Came from? Go home again, bring something back to your community, some of that great worldly knowledge that you have picked up from outside, but please check the bad habits you have picked at the door when you reenter Mexico.
Just like my friend Kay, some of us just never think there is anything else beyond the end of the road there up on the corner, or where the street meets the highway. There is more out there, and that "out there" can be brought back to make home even better than it was before.
I'm already working on a letter for our great governor Natividad Gonzalez in hopes that tourism, energy, and a little hard work will help to keep these great places alive and open doors to others here as well as those that take that chance to come and explore.
Have a great Sunday, I need to wash the Funfinder and get her ready for two more weeks of fun. This next part gets exciting as we will be visiting cool mountain ranges, waterfalls and lakes.
Love yourself!

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