No running water, no electricity, no sewage system, small shacks as homes and dirt roads all seem to describe a third world country town, but this actually describes colonias in the border towns of Texas.
People have lived like this for decades. And although some legislation and money has been pumped into colonias, there are still places like La Presa and Santa Teresita that have not seen any change.
Such is the case of Victorio Ramirez, who’s now 75, and has lived in La Presa since 1980. At the time, he bought three acres of land for $12,000 for his family and built his homes…that look more like shacks. His family travels to get clean water from the dam. When it rains, the roads flood and no one can leave or enter the colonias, not even school buses.
What’s worse is that some of these colonias are breeding Hepatitis A because of the lack of a drainage system. A study from 1998 (no recent study is available) said that children of the colonias have a 37 percent risk of contracting Hepatitis A.
Even with all the hardship, some refuse to leave the colonias and those who have want to return.
“Even if I had more money I’d stay here,” Rosio, Ramirez’ 27-year-old daughter said. “We got tired of the city life…here we get to live in the open air.”
Read more about the struggling border towns in Texas here.