The conditions of true South Texas colonias are almost indescribable. Beat up cars, tall grass, and flimsy plywood houses are some of the first things one notices when visiting these out of the way substandard neighborhoods. Not only do people living in these colonias live their lives in filth, but nobody seems to care enough to help them. Both the city, county nor the state seems to have enough time for these mostly Mexican-American lower income families. Lionel Lopez on the other hand does care. Lionel found the South Texas Colonia Initiative in 2004. STCI is a program founded by Lionel solely for the purpose of aided to under-privileged families living in South Texas Colonias. Lionel and his team not only help in manual labor needed around the communities, but they also work very hard on getting grants and donations to further the improvements of these families living conditions. Lack of proper sewage systems, health and sanitation problems, and poor housing structure are just a few of the problems the South Texas Colonia Initiative fights for.
The reason these poor living conditions exist is a lot more complicated than it sounds. Many Mexican immigrants coming to America looking for a new life found what they thought to be a solid beginning by purchasing cheap land from farmers. They did not however know that these lands were vulnerable to flooding, had no septic systems, and could easily be manipulated by the land owners.
Although many people and government organizations do realize these places exist, they seldom do anything to improve the situation. These problems are pushed aside by legislators, and the people are completely neglected and on their own. I think with the combination of our class helping Mr. Lopez, we should be able to contribute to very necessary improvements.