When we arrived in October, a couple of new neighbours had moved in. Over the summer some squatters decided that the river next to us might be kind of a nice place to call home, so they put up these two lovely shacks.
They also built this beautiful outhouse (yes, right in the river).
And at some point, while we were back home, a couple of other squatters built additional homes which they later abandoned.
Because our residents’ association doesn’t have any right to remove squatters, we had to wait until the proper authorities could get rid of them.
Naturally there is no garbage pickup in the river, so over the past few months the squatters’ garbage just kept piling up ’til the river bed looked like this.
This is just a bit of the garbage that was strewn around. I have no idea why the squatters wanted old tires, but there were also lots and lots of them in the estuary.
Some time ago, Lourdes Gonzales Robles, Vice President of our residents’ association, presented the proper authorities with photos of all the shacks and their garbage, and this week something was finally done about it.
Sometime during Saturday evening, one of the shacks went up in flames, but we didn’t know who had torched it.
And then on Sunday afternoon the Police and Profepa (the Mexican Department of the Environment) arrived and torched the other three shacks. Bruce went out to talk to them and found out that the inhabitants of the shacks had been given a day’s notice to vacate. And they did leave, but they left all their junk behind.
It only took about an hour ’til all the shacks were gone, but then all the garbage needed to be dealt with, so Bruce offered to round up some neighbours later in the afternoon to tackle the humongous, filthy task. He e-mailed everybody on our street and within a couple of hours a bunch of neighbours came a runnin’. Bruce also offered a few Mexican boys, who’d been playing in the river, a few pesos to drag garbage and tires up to the street for pickup.
Everyone worked up a sweat and got the job done.
Lots of fires were ignited to burn up any cardboard and wood left behind.
After the last bit of trash was hauled up, the piles looked like this.
When they picked up this old rusty fridge, it was still full of crushed ice, smelly fish and bottles of hot sauce.
The estuary is now free of all debris except for a few last bits of smoldering wood.
And as soon as all the fires burn down, and the embers get raked and buried in the sand, our estuary will once again look like this.
Just about all our neighbours headed home as soon as the job was done.
But a few of the boys lingered around for a well deserved, ice cold beer.
A big thank you goes out to Lourdes for delivering the letter and photos of the squatters to Profepa on behalf of the Guayabitos Homeowner’s Association, the Police for giving an eviction notice to the squatters, and to all our wonderful neighbours who gave up their Sunday afternoon to come and clean up the estuary.
by Jeanette Johnstone
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