Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Photos and Gossip in Chacala

I was out taking photos of the clean-up project at the Chacala primary school a couple of days ago. Maybe a dozen adults and kids were cleaning and pruning and raking. I didn’t exactly understand why I was asked to take photos of the project, but I did.Beatriz explained it to me, but I didn’t really understand. My impression was that one of the teachers wants pictures of the project to send to the County school officials, in Compostella. But it’s likely I have that wrong. It seems odd to me that I can understand some people’s Spanish very easily, and with other people I have no clue.A woman who lives in Chacalilla, as a housekeeper I think, with her three little girls, was working on the project. She and I planned the photos shots, and I ended up having her take some of the photos. She’s the Mom of one of the little girls who was dancing in a traditional costume at the Primary graduation ceremony last June.I ran into one of my favorite gringos on the way home from the school. He and his his wife have a very nice duplex, two rentals here in Chacala (Satow). He always has the most interesting gossip. And he seems to be able to be friends with most of the gringos who stay around here. A feat I find difficult, if not impossible. His wife is wonderful. Lots of fun and learning English much faster than I am learning Spanish.Anyway, he said that the turtles are laying their eggs all along the coast right now. Including on Chacala beach. He said that local people, from Chacala, and miles around, come in the night and dig up the eggs and kill the mother turtles to sell.

There are good Federal laws in Mexico to protect the turtles. But just like in the U.S., there is little funding to enforce those laws, and it’s up to volunteers. I toyed with the idea of getting involved with a project like that, and then thought “wondering around on the beach at night trying to protect turtles and their eggs from greedy lawbreaking men?”. I don’t think so.

He also told me that the police (?) or someone is putting up a security booth on the paved road, right before the dirt road turn-off to the beach. He said it was going to me manned by police 24/7. I am wondering how that would work. They would check ID’s for each of the 60 people on each of the 30 or 40 packed buses that come into Chacala every weekend?

Or stop each of the trucks (maybe 50 or 60) that drive into Chacala every morning? And check each of the 5-8 guys I.D.s? The security guys at the gate into the development do collect ID’s from all the workers every morning. Doesn’t seem to slow things down too much. According to my friend, the idea is to catch the “ bad guys”. Again, I don’t know how many bad guy there are around here. Aside from the governor, developers, police and various other officials. Just kidding, sort of.These are photos of some of the wonderful things at the Rufino ........ Musuem in Oaxaca.
But there are a lot of rumors around Chacala these days, about two kidnappings of people from the development, for ransom. Which is a popular hobby in Mexico. Kidnapping for ransom, I mean. And maybe there was a threat toward a family member of a someone who lives in Chacala. All gossip.There have been a couple robberies this summer that I know of. One at a winter gringo’s house. The house was empty. The other was from a local family’s home. Computer, camera and cash. Some people suspect one of the construction guys working on a building next door. Another rumor.The third tidbit he shared with me was that the State Governor seems to be doing everything he can to milk money from various tourism businesses. The latest “tax” seems to be a $400US a year fee for rental owners. I guess that’s for two unit owners. It’s more for the bigger places. Again, a rumor.


Charmaine said...

Pardon my ignorance but why would anyone want turtle eggs that badly?

Naomi said...

Check out the turtle foundation in San Pancho. Frank Smith is the major turtle savior there. He and the authorities have been relatively successful in protecting the turtle eggs from the poachers there lately. BTW-my husband & I thoroughly enjoy your glimpses of Chacala life. We read them almost daily with envy as we try to survive the concrete jungle of Houston. We're hoping to get there soon for longer than a vacation.