Monday, April 19, 2021

moving to mexico -- infrastructure

When I moved to this part of Mexico a baker's dozen years ago, I knew there would be challenges to face.

That was the primary reason I had chosen to live my retired years in Mexico. I was far too comfortable with the life I had been living in Salem.

I ended up living in Villa Obregón, primarily a residential area, for my first six years here. When I arrived, the village had only one major paved street -- Vincent Guerrero, so replete with speed bumps it was known as "tope street." All of the other streets were a combination of sand, rock, and dirt.

Over time, the streets changed. One year a new street was paved. During the next year another was. Now, most of the roads are paved with a rather-artistic mosaic of stone and concrete.

There was one big exception. The cross street that passes in front of the Costalegre Community Church, Alberto Macias, was slated for paving, but not in the foreseeable future.

All of that changed last summer when tropical storm Hernan passed us by out at sea, but sucked enough water-sodden clouds over Jalisco state that San Patricio Melaque and Villa Obregón were inundated in record-breaking levels of flood water -- and, worse, mud.

The force of the water was so bad that Alberto Macias reverted from its disguise as a rustic street, and revealed its true nature as a deep stream bed. You can see the result in the photograph at the top of this essay.

But tragedy often brings opportunity. And that is exactly what happened to Alberto Macias. Because of the flood damage, the paving of the street was moved up.

It took a couple of weeks to get enough fill back into the roadbed that the street was passable by something more complex than feet. But that was just the start. 

Since late fall, a construction crew has been leveling off the roadbed and paving it with the same rock and concrete surface of the other improved streets in Villa Obregón. Almost the full length of the street has now been paved -- though it is still blocked to vehicular traffic.

On Sunday morning, all of the street parking in front of the street was taken up by a grader and piles of fill. It was obvious that the last phase of the paving in front of the church is about to happen.

I have mentioned several times how amazed I have been at how quickly and joyously my neighbors respond to natural disasters. The response to the devastation of last summer's flood is a perfect example. In a few weeks, there will be no immediate reminders on this portion of Alberto Macias that the flooding ever occurred.

The street has now suffered major wash-out damage in two storms. The hope is that any future flood waters (and there will be some) will simply run off into the laguna and then out to sea.

The broader point, though, is how a good portion of the local infrastructure has improved since I became an immigrant to Mexico. There are plenty of projects to tackle, just as there are above the border.

But living here is getting a bit more comfortable. That may mean I need to find more challenging places to live.   

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