Jan 19, 2008

"Neighborhood" meeting

A good rule of thumb - a very good rule of thumb is to never talk bad about a culture to members of that culture. It seems to be ok for them to talk bad about their own culture but if you even begin to hint at something negative it is very offensive.

I feel like I have to do a little explaining before really getting into my story so please hang in there. We live in what is called a "coto". There are 34 houses in our "coto". From the street it just looks like a big wooden gate, once the gate is opened you see 17 houses on each side of the private drive. All 17 houses are two story, identical in look and side by site (literally connected). I like to compare it to an apartment building but we are all on ground level. It is a great way to make good use of space but still allow people to feel like they are in houses and not apartments, although we share walls with two sets of neighbors.

Well, along side of the 17 houses on the left side of the street is a party place. Mexicans love parties and will throw them for a variety of occasions. In the three years we have lived in this house we have never really been bothered by the party place. They charged $17 a person per party and I think no one really wanted to pay that much so there were never parties which was just fine with us. In the past few weeks we noticed that it changed ownership and a lot of work was being done on the place. Well, tonight marks the 3rd night in 5 days that they are having a party. I can tell you that they are grilling out tonight because my house is filled with a great smell. I can also tell you that it is 10:45 PM and the band just showed up! Yes, for the previous two parties the band hasn't left before 2 AM!!!!! The actual stage where the band plays is less than 50 yards from our bedroom!! We are being told that the parties are for government officials (as well as drug dealers and very corrupt people etc). There are around 40 kids in our "coto" and parents are not happy about all the noise. We are in the middle of getting a petition signed that will get them out of our neighborhood. Some neighbors have even temporarily started sleeping at family members houses because it is too loud to sleep.
I ask that you guys be in prayer for this situation so that it can get resolved fast and easily. Two words that make me want to laugh when I think that I am using them to describe something we want to get done my the Mexican government.

I tell you all of this to get to what I really wanted to write about. Tonight we had a "neighborhood" meeting. Our neighborhood consists of 18,000 people. Some of you might consider that a city! Well, because of the trouble with our new neighbors, residents from our "coto" decided to go to the monthly neighborhood meeting. There were only 4 of us present. When the meeting was about to start one of my neighbors said to the other "I think I have seen something like this in old films. All the town people get together to talk about the cities problems. Their horses are tied up by the trees . . . . ." He went on to explain how old fashion this seemed. He and another neighbor began talking about the corruption and inefficiency of the Mexican government. They kept saying "only in Mexico". They were talking about how they know that most of their efforts are going to get swept under the rug. They also realize that we are probably going to be complaining to the same people that are part of these parties and therefore nothing will get done.

The meeting lasted 2 hours and it was filled with pleas for people to realize that their neighborhood is not going to get better if they are not actively involved in making it a better place. I was encouraged by the ammount of dissatisfaction that was being shown. I think the Mexican people as a whole are becoming discontent with the way things are. They are beggining to see that things need to change and maybe seeing that they need to be involved in the change. It was very encouraging for me. I also was reminded of how important it is to be involved with the people around you. I can say that we are very involved with the families that are in our "coto" but once we get out of that big wooden gate we don't know many of our neighbors. I am going to be volunteering with the "neighborhood" association and I am really excited about the doors that might be opened though this. It excites me because the people I will be around are going to be people that are wanting change and are dissatisfied with things the way they are. I figure these are going to be people that are most open to God and what He can do in their life. They are not going to be satisfied with being a catholic just because their ancestors were. I will keep you updated and let you know what comes of this need project.


Mike & Lucy said...

We finally have internet at our apartment and I am trying to catch up on your blogs. You have been busy lately, which is cool, b/c I like to read about what you all are doing. It makes me feel closer to you and more connected, even though we probably will be seeing less of each other now that we've moved halfway across the world. Anyway, I wanted to tell you that your blog was very humorous and good. I hope that you are able to find those people who are searching for something better in life, they just think it can be found in the government, etc. I hope that it goes well as you meet and get involved in this "door" that God has opened to you.
We love you.