ABOUT A DECADE back, folks knocked on the gate and asked for a contribution to construct a short bridge over a ravine a few blocks down our street. It would have solved a serious traffic glitch, so we kicked in 200 pesos.
The work on the bridge began, but it never finished, and remains undone to this day. The traffic glitch lives on.
A couple of months ago, folks again knocked on the gate and asked for a contribution to renovate the church. They asked for lots more, 2,000 pesos, about $115 U.S.
My wife mentioned what happened to the last money we contributed for neighborhood projects. Oh, no, this time it will happen, the folks declared.
Being community-minded and knowing the 500-year-old church on the plaza was on the point of collapse, we handed over the cash, mentally kissing it vaya con diós.
But religious projects trump street work any day hereabouts, so the church renovation is under way, and I have no doubt it will be completed. I am glad even though I am neither Catholic nor Christian. Architecture matters.
In the almost 15 years we’ve lived in our hardscrabble barrio, and the thousands of times we’ve walked the plaza, I imagine we have not stepped through the church doors more than five or six times. The same cannot be said of our neighbors. The church is the focal point of the community.
The weddings and funerals we witness there are numerous. There is no priest in residence, so masses are sporadic.
One cannot help but wonder why the Pope, who is likely richer than Bill Gates, Raul Castro and Carlos Slim combined, does not finance the renovation of his churches, leaving it sometimes to unbelievers like myself.
While walking the plaza this morning, I also shot the photo below. An old, beat-up VW Beetle and an old Chevy Pop like the one we owned from 2000 to 2014. I wonder how often one sees these old Beetles above the Rio Bravo now.
They’re quite common down here even though Mexico halted production in 2003.