Mexican veillage fechts fur watter on Warld Watter Day


In a kintra sae rich in watter as Scotland, we kin tak whit we hae fur grantit.  But athort the warld, hit is estimatit at mair nor 1.1 bullion fowk is in want o access ti clein drinkin watter.  

San Antonio Ojital is a native fermtoun in the toun o Papantla in the Mexican state o Veracruz.  Hit hauds aroun 350 indwallers in 54 faimlies. The fermtoun haes been out o contack wi the warld syne the ainerlie road at jynes hit ti the rest o the province wis cut aff bi an archaeological pairk.  Rin bi the Mexican Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH) the Ciudad del Trueno,’ceitie o thunner’, pairk lerns veisitors about the acheivements o the Papayuco Totonac fowk, the auncestors o the modren fowk o San Antonio Ojital.

Syne 1999, says the veillagers, “we hae bene lockit in” and maun speir permeission fae INAH fur tae bring caurs or lorries inti the veillage, makin hit gey neir impossible fur the fermers tae tak thair produce ti mercat. Forbye, the veillagers disnae hae onie clein watter, nae sheuchs or stanks, nae scuils or plainstanes in the streits.

But whit sticks maist in the thraple o the veillagers is at thae dinnae hae access ti drinkin watter but veisitors tae the pairk haes aa the watter thae want – while the pairk lerns veistors the weill developit an gey advanced watter management seistems o the auncient Papayuco.   

Yae o the indwallers o the fermtoun, Agustín González Blas, sayed at een tho thae bydit practicallie ben the pairk, the native veillagers disnae ken the guid o hit.  A pairk efter aa, at says hit’s promotin native culture.

Yestreen wis the Unitit Nacions Warld Watter Day, and veillagers howpit at the day wud mibbie cud help bring attencion ti thair problems.  As he wis peilin oranges fur tae sell ti the veisitors ti the pairk, Sr. González Blas sayed: “The governament shud gie juist 30% o the siller hit maks frae the pairk fur tae develop the local communities.  Mair nor naethin the roads.”

“We’r shut in.  We dinnae ken the guid o nae roads, juist pads lik thon”, he sayed, an pyntit ti the wey inti the communitie, a wee pad fou stanes an craters at leuks lik the surface o the muin.

“Nou we cannae inbring lorries fur the crops,” he conteinaed.  “We maun waulk, or aa thrummle oursels inti wee vans o juist twa tonne.  But thae’r juist wee vans an cannae cairrie aa we neid tae.  An the vans maun be accompanied bi a guaird frae the pairk.  Thae’ll no lat us wark at nicht, juist whan the pairk is aipen.”

“That’s whit’s the waur, bein shut in.  Ther juist the yae wey in or out.  Afore we haed aa we wantit an cud bring in the big lorries.  We yuist tae sell bananas, oranges, maize and vanilla.  Nou we cannae dae that kis ther nae wey in.”

San Antonio Ojital haes juist a primarie scuil, ther nae secondarie scuil;  the indwallers belangs ti the health clinic o El Escolín, but hit’s no gey eith gettin ther whan ye cannae waulk weill.  Ther nae drinkin watter, and fowk maun buy watter in bottles.   Hit wis juist a whein yeir syne at thae got electric. “We dinnae get a muckle o naethin”, sayed a dowie Agustín González Blas.

Nou the veillagers sells thair produce ti the ainerlie mercat thae hae, the veisitors ti the pairk.  “But we maun speir permeission fur that an aa.  Kis the pairk authorities winna lat us sell gin we’r no mair nor 50 meters awaa frae the boundarie.”

The obvious quaistion is why nane o the authorities haes biggit anither road inti the veillage.

“Aye thae hae made monie promises, but ther nae mair nor that, juist promises.  Hit’s whit thae aa says whan thae’r here speirin us tae vote fur thaim.  We hae been fechtin fur yeirs. But yince thae git inti office thae dae naethin.  Yae time thae pit in a wee brig ower the back wey, but hit winna tak the wecht o the lorries we neid.”

But the pairk at celebrates thair auncestors but maks thair ain lifes haurd isnae the ainerlie problem.  San Antonio Ojital is forbye a steid o yle produccion wi twa yle wells rin bi Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex).  But the veillagers says at thae dinnae receive naethin frae the yle at’s abuin thair ain land.  Aiblins somethin at Scots readers kin mak mane fur.  

Sayed anither o the veillagers: “Pemex haes duin muckle hairm. Sometimes ther yle laiks, an the yle rins out inti the grunn.  Ther nae jobs or benefits ti us, juist daimish ti our ferms an the grunnwatter we yuise fur irrigacion.”

Wurds ye mibbie no ken

athort – across

indwallers – inhabitant

sheuch – drain, gutter

stank – sewage drain, drainage gutter

plainstane – paving stone, pavement

thraple – throat

ken the guid o – see the benefit of

pad – path

thrummle – squeeze

dowie – dispirited, downcast

mak mane fur – feel sympathy for

A note on Scots spelling: The word o ‘of’ is a conventional spelling.  The vowel sound ‘oh’ doesn’t actually occur in most Scots dialects in unstressed position, and this word is almost always unstressed.  In my accent of Scots it’s usually pronounced ae, but there are other pronunciations in other Scots varieties.  Pronounce it as you would in your own accent.