Playgrounds | Mexico | Living in Mexico

Playgrounds

A nice Norteamericano couple put up the money to rebuild the children's playground at Juarez Park.

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It gets heavy use by neighborhood kids, and parents bring their toddlers from remote colonias to play here. It's a major municipal asset, adding greatly to the quality of life of our citizens. We could use more places like this.

Other neighborhoods can't afford nice playgrounds. This one is in Fracciónmiento Bella Vista, a modest but pleasant neighborhood on the wrong side of the highway to Celaya.

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It doesn't seem to get much use, and no wonder. You have to pick your way through the weeds, there's no shade, and no water.

And there's fire ants. Or as they say in Houston, far ants. While taking this photo I suddenly felt stinging all up and down my legs. I was standing on an anthill maybe four feet across, disturbing the wa of some formic little beasts. They retaliated by biting the hell out of me.

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I found a dozen or more huge anthills in the playground—reason enough to keep the kids away.

It would be nice to fix up the Bella Vista playground. All it takes is money. And ant poison. You could probably make it useable for a few hundred dollars, and five thousand, given our typical low construction costs, could make it into a real jewel. But money is hard to come by in Mexico.

Unlike in, say, Santa Barbara.

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I'm guessing this Alameda Park playground cost hundreds of thousands of dollars: on the order of San Miguel's total municipal budget for restoration and construction.

I find it difficult to get my head around just how lucky—and rich—we Americans are. I'm sure that in a typical U. S. town, fundraising to fix up a place like Bella Vista Park would be a reasonable undertaking.

Not so in Mexico. Contributing to charitable organizations is not part of the culture. The vast majority of San Miguel's NGOs are funded by Norteamericanos. Mexicans are much less likely to contribute.

Why?

Well, poor Mexicans—the majority—simply cannot afford to. And with respect to their communities, rich Mexicans, dare I say it, have more of a sense of entitlement rather than one of duty. I'm guessing this is an attitude held over from colonial times: the aristocracy live well and everyone else lives the best they can.

You can earn an income tax deduction for charitable giving. But for a deduction to be useful, you have declare income. Most people don't. No tax revenues, no charities.

So there's no money to fix up Bella Vista Park. Unless one of us extranjeros (foreigners) ponies up. Sigh.
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