Nasty Neighbors… Going, Going, Gone

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.

Jeanette Johnstone IMG_7696 Jeanette Johnstone IMG_7653
Jeanette Johnstone IMG_7660

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.

Jeanette Johnstone IMG_7671 Jeanette Johnstone IMG_7657

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.

Jeanette Johnstone IMG_7749 Jeanette Johnstone IMG_7753

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.

Jeanette Johnstone IMG_7761 Jeanette Johnstone IMG_7760 Jeanette Johnstone IMG_7787
Jeanette Johnstone IMG_7795 Jeanette Johnstone IMG_7802

Everyone worked up a sweat and got the job done.

Jeanette Johnstone IMG_7788

Lots of fires were ignited to burn up any cardboard and wood left behind.

Jeanette Johnstone IMG_7799 Jeanette Johnstone IMG_7825

After the last bit of trash was hauled up, the piles looked like this.

Jeanette Johnstone IMG_7809

When they picked up this old rusty fridge, it was still full of crushed ice, smelly fish and bottles of hot sauce.

Jeanette Johnstone IMG_7832

The estuary is now free of all debris except for a few last bits of smoldering wood.

Jeanette Johnstone IMG_6019

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.

Jeanette Johnstone IMG_7820

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

This story was submitted by one of our readers. If you want to join in and share information, stories and photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to

Leave a Review

11 Reviews on “Nasty Neighbors… Going, Going, Gone”

  1. :

    Thank you to everyone involved. What a great community.

  2. :

    When we were there was only one family living there, two shacks. they were there to help the fishermen get their boat in and out of the estuary and in turn they were paid with fish, to feed their family. I see no harm in this, he was given garbage bags and every day he was out there picking up garbage and not just his. I was only there for three weeks in Jan/Feb, but I saw this everyday, a native mexican earning an honest living, keeping the area tidy, minding his own business. It is a pity that everything turned to such a mess, I rather enjoyed seeing them out there and waving hello morning and night when we walked the beaches.

  3. :

    Well done! I love that river mouth, the sandbar, and the memorial cross; it's a special place that my wife and I cross whenever we walk the beach to la Penita on our biennial visits to Guayabitos.. Congratulations on the cleanup.

  4. :

    Kudos to you all. I saw those shacks when we were down there in January and we made a point to go around those makeshift hovels and garbage. What a good community improvement project. You can't change the world but you can change your own backyard. Great photo sequences.

  5. :

    This is a wonderful story of the determination of a handful of people who restored the beauty that is your home front! The photos are great and I always love a happy ending! Well done all of you!

  6. :

    I'm left wondering... Was an effort made to find these folks an alternate place to live? Were kids involved? Are there social services available to help? My Buddhist background makes me fear for the reincarnations of the wealthy white people involved in this incident. You may return as rats or lawyers.

  7. :

    Wonderful. Thanks Bruce. I spent countless hours trying to bring order to that end of the street in early 2002. It seems to have gotten better over the years. I remember when they set your property (before your house was built) on fire just to squat. PS-Enjoy your wifes blog, tell her we said Alto. John & Louise

  8. :

    Fabulous work! It was really an eyesore to a beautiful area that is also full of bird life. So glad to see it all Gone. Thank you!

  9. :

    Just in Mexico!

  10. :

    I love it when you document stuff!

  11. :

    Bravo, beau travail communautaire. Il y a des gens qui se croient tout permis et qui polluent sans aucune gêne. La ville devra s'occuper de surveiller les prochains occupants et les évacuer rapidement. Bravo

Leave a Review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *