Today while walking down the hill, the wife of the town council president invited us to the town meeting this afternoon at 2:30. Later, her husband was riding by the house, and when he saw us turned the horse around to invite us to the meeting as well. He thought we would be interested in seeing the process. As the president and friend we were honored.
All clean we drove on down as clouds were trying to come in. On the way we picked up MarcoAney and his wife, Noily. As the residents entered they signed a book. We learned the next day that to be considered a member of a community one has to make a request. Fortunately, Blaine and Katya sat behind us which allowed them to translate for us when there was a break in the speaking.
Fernando, el presidente, spoke about various issues such as electricity in the salon, trash day, potable water issues in the church and school, as well as the wonderful niveladora which was finally taken back to the muncipality for repairs. Once it is fixed the work on our road will continue. MarcoAney told me on the way home that cement will be arriving to fill in the horrible pot holes. Trash day seems to happen about every two months. Families pay two dollars for all their trash which they deliver to a given site. No recycling is to be included as there are bigger neighboring villages that take care of that. In the middle of Fernando’s speech, rain came down heavily which made hearing about impossible. By the time they were ready for elections the PA system was hooked up.
Nominations were taken for each position. There had to be at least three people willing to serve before voting could occur. I was pleased Fernando encouraged women to accept nomination for each post. Besides the four usual offices, they also have what are called vocals. They are part of the council, have voting rights, and can fill in for an absent officer. There are four vocals and each is elected separately. The last position, of which there are three, is called the fiscal. These people make sure the meetings are run properly with all procedures followed accordingly.
The voting process is a bit basic. Each nominee is given a number…1, 2, 3. Small bits of paper are passed out and voters write the number of the nominee they want elected. A hat, literally, is passed around to collect the votes. Three or four people then count the votes. This occurs for each position.
After the new directiva was settled, it was time for any other concerns of the townspeople as well as discussion of the major festival that will be the first weekend in January. This event is huge and requires an enormous amount of planning and work. I think this time Bill and I can help in the kitchen grinding corn, peeling garlic, etc.
The owner of the pulpería then welcomed us to the community and invited us to help in any way we could. Fernando then shared that he had invited us so we could see the process. He even mentioned I speak a lot of Spanish! Um, thank you, but there is so much more to learn….Of course, Blaine had to translate this for us and then he said we would be willing to help as long as someone could translate. There is another meeting Nov. 5 to plan the festival, and we have it on our calendar to attend.
By then it was three hours since we all had gathered together…..and there was free food for everyone! Part of the proceeds from the festival pays for the light meal afterwards. We had local beans cooked with a bit of pork, rice, and salad. Very tasty!