A Poor Neighborhood

Delta Winds cover 1999Delta Winds: A Magazine of Student Essays
A Publication of San Joaquin Delta College


A Poor Neighborhood

Jason J. Houx

Located in Rio Colorado, Sonora, Mexico, San Luis is one of the poorest towns in the country displaying a terrifying amount of poverty. There is an overwhelmingly eerie silence within the town, due to the lack of vehicles. Vast desert-like conditions stretch out in every direction from the small town. Only a single black paved highway runs through the desolate community. Within the town, pain and suffering of all kinds plague its inhabitants.

With summer arriving so quickly, the sun melted away my strength. Living on the West Coast, I was surprised at the contrast in climates. While walking down the dusty street, I noticed the young children playing happily on the sun-baked earth. These children so shabbily dressed made me suddenly realize how blessed I was to be wearing the second-hand clothes I had. Although the children seemed poorly clothed, contentment shown on their dirt-smudged faces and my heart went out to them. As I strolled down the pothole-covered street, signs of the long abandoned garbage dump littered the landscape.

Homes along the street displayed evidence of the lack of proper building supplies. Housing construction consisted of hand-made clay bricks, stacked rocks and walls of cardboard. I observed the houses; ninety percent of them had no roofs, doors or windows. The presence of sewage and the lack of running water put more painful burdens on the community.

Walking down the street, I noticed that there was very little plant and animal life. The small shrubs that lined the ground succumbed to the burning heat of the sun. The sparsely leafed trees, dancing in the wind, supplied minimal relief from the scorching heat. Undernourished dogs, skin stretched across their protruding ribs, roamed the town for scraps of food to eat. The most visible animal, the vulture, soared high above the desolate landscape in ever-widening circles.

As life below goes on under the menacing gaze of the vulture, the never-ending struggle for survival presses on. Through sweat-drenched manual labor, the men of San Luis strive to provide for their families on a meager fifteen dollars a month. In the makeshift homes the women slave over open fire pits to prepare nourishment for their husbands and children. Outside the excited children are busily running, jumping and playing marbles, stickball and soccer in the dust-filled air.

In spite of all their hardships the people of San Luis are very hospitable, friendly and display undying compassion for others. In this hard land, the people of San Luis struggle daily for survival, but seem quietly content.