Sunday, July 10, 2011

Water Wars

Every neighborhood has it's issues... but I don't remember the last time I saw a mob organized with picks and shovels walking down C st. Well that's what is currently happening here in Yanacoto, and its all because some people haven't been paying their water bill... kinda.

Of course it's always more complicated, and for the purpose of presenting truely "fair and balanced" reports, I must emphasize that I've only been getting my information from a handful of old ladies here in the barrio; however, with that said, I'm told that this has been a Yanacoto issues for a least 3 years. And that it all started when the directer of the water co-op was accused of stealing money to build his house. He was kicked out, and charged a penalty. However, he did not go silently into the night, and he organized a counter co-op with his neighbors. So, for the last 2 years he and his neighbors have thumbed their noses at the new president by not paying for the water they use.

So last Sunday the assemblies met, and fought in the streets until the police showed up. And then after that, the current co-op has been making hourly anouncements via the loudspeakers, that Sunday everyone was to meet with their shovels and forcefully cut off the water to the houses of those who haven't been paying. My host mother didn't want to go, but felt she had to, or otherwise she could be punished for not being present. I had to go, because I've to a pipe cutting party before... Needless to say I stood out a little while I was taking these photos and videos*:

This is neighborhood marching up the hill to the houses of those people who haven't paid.

This is a video that I took, until I got bored and went home for lunch:

water war part 1

* I not proud of my reporting skills. Its obvious that I'm not good at switching between Spanish and English (hence the use of the words "gritar" for yell, and "agua" water). Also I felt pretty weird being "that guy" who stands out (think tourist meets crappy reporter meets clueless gringo).

Keep in mind that the monthly water bill is 20S/. (about $7), and that the ex-president owes 500S/. (about $181).