SGarza.GillianColoniaAnalysis History

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I had believed the San Petronilla Estates, the colonia we visited, to be without electrical power, but this proved not to be the case. Phone and electrical lines dotted much of the landscape and I also noticed satellites for television connections on several houses. Also, in my research I found that the area was granted $500,000 in July of last year for -time water service to 30 households (105 residents) of the San Petronilla Estates Unit 2 colonia. The county will also provide housing assistance by waiving impact fees for the 96 low- to moderate-income residents served by the project, (Texas colonias receive ). This would suggest that at least a fairly large portion of the population have water service in their homes. That said, the reason I think the people of the colonia choose to live there is that the land is more affordable than in nearby Corpus Christi. Agriculture, though I did note one field of soy germ, was not done on any noteworthy scale and I observed no animal cultivation. I expect that, much as my grandparents chose to live in the area they grew up in (which is without power, sewage system, water or phone connections to this day), the majority of people in the Colonia likely have family in the area and feel a tie to the area (possibly from growing up in the vicinity). How they were able to get the land remained unclear despite our interviews with Ernestina Garcia and Mr. Lopez. Most people however, buy in a colonia through a contract for deed. This form of purchase offers low down payments and monthly payments and the owners can add on to their homes in terms of size and utilities as funds become available (Federal Reserve Bank).
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I had believed the San Petronilla Estates, the colonia we visited, to be without electrical power, but this proved not to be the case. Phone and electrical lines dotted much of the landscape and I also noticed satellites for television connections on several houses. Also, in my research I found that the area was granted $500,000 in July of last year for -time water service to 30 households (105 residents) of the San Petronilla Estates Unit 2 colonia. The county will also provide housing assistance by waiving impact fees for the 96 low- to moderate-income residents served by the project, (Texas colonias receive ). This would suggest that at least a fairly large portion of the population have water service in their homes.

That said, the reason I think the people of the colonia choose to live there is that the land is more affordable than in nearby Corpus Christi. Agriculture, though I did note one field of soy germ, was not done on any noteworthy scale and I observed no animal cultivation. I expect that, much as my grandparents chose to live in the area they grew up in (which is without power, sewage system, water or phone connections to this day), the majority of people in the Colonia likely have family in the area and feel a tie to the area (possibly from growing up in the vicinity). How they were able to get the land remained unclear despite our interviews with Ernestina Garcia and Mr. Lopez. Most people however, buy in a colonia through a contract for deed. This form of purchase offers low down payments and monthly payments and the owners can add on to their homes in terms of size and utilities as funds become available (Federal Reserve Bank).
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%center%Colonias
Before venturing to the colonia, I believed it would be much like my trip to Monterrey, Mexico a little less than a year ago in that there would be many young children around without parents, decaying animals, contaminated water areas and a general sense of extreme poverty. I pictured the terrain as it is on the edge of Larado, Texas: almost without vegetation, arid, and very flat, sun-drained and open. This was not the case. In fact, the area largely resembled one of the wealthier areas of the town of Gonzales, Texas where I went to high school and lived for several years.

I had believed the San Petronilla Estates, the colonia we visited, to be without electrical power, but this proved not to be the case. Phone and electrical lines dotted much of the landscape and I also noticed satellites for television connections on several houses. Also, in my research I found that the area was granted $500,000 in July of last year for -time water service to 30 households (105 residents) of the San Petronilla Estates Unit 2 colonia. The county will also provide housing assistance by waiving impact fees for the 96 low- to moderate-income residents served by the project, (Texas colonias receive ). This would suggest that at least a fairly large portion of the population have water service in their homes. That said, the reason I think the people of the colonia choose to live there is that the land is more affordable than in nearby Corpus Christi. Agriculture, though I did note one field of soy germ, was not done on any noteworthy scale and I observed no animal cultivation. I expect that, much as my grandparents chose to live in the area they grew up in (which is without power, sewage system, water or phone connections to this day), the majority of people in the Colonia likely have family in the area and feel a tie to the area (possibly from growing up in the vicinity). How they were able to get the land remained unclear despite our interviews with Ernestina Garcia and Mr. Lopez. Most people however, buy in a colonia through a contract for deed. This form of purchase offers low down payments and monthly payments and the owners can add on to their homes in terms of size and utilities as funds become available (Federal Reserve Bank).

As far as the literacies of the area, they would in no way differ from Corpus Christi. Despite disagreement in class over media access in colonias, the noticeable television satellites and the access of children and parents to materials at school and/or work would ensure very minimal differences in world perception unlike, say, the members of an Amish community.

In terms of linguistic images, there were few. I noted there were street signs which had simple Spanish names such as Tierra Firma that could easily be understood by both English and Spanish speakers. This suggests that there is a bilingual audience in the area, but that the population would be predominantly Spanish speaking and/or of Hispanic-descent.

What stood out as iconic for me in the area was a silver BMW parked in one of the driveways. The house was not elaborate: it had a wire fence and needed landscaping, but the Petronilla Colonia had a number of late-model, fairly expensive vehicles. Vehicles, particularly German ones, denote wealth in our society, particularly in rural communities such as Gonzales and the colonia. Cars/trucks are seen, much more than houses, as a symbol of success. Their transportability makes them much more prominent a form of evaluation than a house and vehicles also enable the owner to have freedom of transportation and, consequently, choice. This adds to status particularly for those in their mid-teen years and early twenties. In the colonia, having an expensive vehicle would be a key symbol of rank in the community and indicates rising social class.

The San Petronilla area was a much more lush area than I expected. As stated before, I thought it would be scrub-like as Gonzales was with the only well-watered areas being fields for cattle or agricultural products. The area was much greener on the outskirts than in the center which, aside from those houses with lawns, was fairly muddy (brown) and largely without vegetation. Brown, in this case, would symbolize the lack of a present food source thereby suggesting the colonia is not self-sufficient.

The only instance of logocentrism I observed would be Ernestina use of the colonia as need. Having lived in a rural area with a septic system, water that while pure enough to bathe in was not drinkable, no public transportation, and no cable or Internet access in my area, I did not view what was considered by them as to actually fit this category. Need has become too relative a term in our present society and, as much of my family continue to live without these conveniences, as have most of our previous generations, I cannot interpret the desires of the people of the colonia as legitimately falling into the category so much as simply that of . I would encourage the students writing a grant for the area to focus on medical needs as cancer and more mundane problems such as ringworm are often suffered in rural areas.

The colonia, though a relatively dense area, did not seem to be a tight-knit community. I observed only one adult outside of a vehicle and two children. The majority of houses had signs warning of dogs and barbed wire fences (suggesting an individualized or closed neighborhood, but also fierce desire to emphasize ownership of land) and there seemed to be no communal gathering areas as one often sees in small towns. Mrs. Garcia did tell us that exercise classes are taught in the area, however, which means we may just not have been at the center and not observed its ties.

%center%Works Cited

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Office of Community Affairs. "Texas Colonias: A Thumbnail Sketch of Conditions, Issues, Challenges and Opportunities." 6 June 2007.
<http://www.sos.state.tx.us/border/colonias/faqs.shtml>.
Colonias Receive $4.7 Million in Grants. Record Star. 5 July 2006. 6 June 2007.
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=16880876&BRD=1157&PAG=461&dept_id=172073&rfi=6