Migration & Culture/Koptiuch
Nogales Fieldtrip Reports

Thinh Tran

During the with BorderLinks to Nogales, Mexico, the two key aspects that impressed me most were how the migrants in Mexico established Colonia Colosio and how they built homes.  The migrants established Colonia Colosio by building homes.  According Dona Ophelia, her family and she had settled in Colonia Colosio for seven years.  She said, "All the undeveloped lands that you saw on your way to here had owners."  She also mentioned that under Mexican law, if a family has lived for 10 years in a home that they built, landowners could not kick them out anymore and they would have an opportunity to purchase that land.  The reasons why landowners let people settle in their land was because this would bring the government in to develop streets, water pipes, electricity, etc., which would add more value to the land.  Landowners charged settlers approximately $2,000.00 US currency for every 35 feet X 50 feet piece of land.  Many settlers could not pay.  The second impression was the ingenious technology of how the home was built.  Having lunch with Dona Ophelia’s family, I carefully observed the house.  The walls were made of thin plies of wood and carton boards; one piece of corrugated cardboard of some type of tin for the roof.  The window was not a window itself.  It was just an opening with some metal wires crossing horizontally and vertically.  The house was neither furnished nor airtight.  I could see many hoes.  I suspected that these people would suffer during the extreme weather such as coldness, heat, and rain.  What almost made me laugh was although I could not see any valuable items in the house, Dona Ophelia said that there always someone in the house to prevent thefts.

The BorderLink trip was educational.  It gave me a chance to see how migrants in Mexico established Colonia Colosio and to see the home with carton boards that migrants had lived in for years.

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