“Vecino” is Spanish, meaning neighbor in English. I have lived in many places over the years and neighbors always influenced my life. Some are loud and brash, others secretive and hidden. There are those who are warm and engaging and others who want to be left alone. What matters most is if a neighbor can be trusted. Will they help in an emergency? Look out for your well being? Honor your property and basic rights?
When Amy and I moved to Mexico, we knew no one except the realtor who sold us our home. Our house is set back off a dirt road in our village. We have scattered homes above us and below us.
Our home is distinctly better than any others nearby. So undoubtedly people wonder who we are, but stay at a distance. We are friendly, offering car rides to those without a vehicle who depend on local tuk-tuk´s, and give work to people and almost always pay more than they ask.
The process of assimilation will take a long time here.
From our start in the village of San Pedro Ixtlahuaca, there have been “gifts.” We have met people who adopted us immediately. Foremost has been Salomon. He is short, coffee-brown colored and sturdy like most Zapotec people of Mexico. The former owner of our property liked him so much she gave away part of her land to him where he is building his home near ours. His family lives hours away at an agricultural cooperative, but he will eventually move them here. Salomon previously lived as caretaker in our house and has always been willing to help us when we did not understand an issue. He does not speak English but Amy and him get along in simple conversation.
Lately Amy and I have been helping him with artwork for a powerpoint presentation he is scheduled to give soon. I redesigned a logo for his coffee farm cooperative. Amy made images for the opening page of his presentation.