SGarza.Nicole History

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Colonia by definition geographically is located in a county part within 150 miles of the international border of the state. All the colonias are located in areas very rural and approximately 10-25 miles out of city limits but still within the county lines. The areas themselves do not have a school near by so many of the children have to drive to the neighboring small towns to get to a school. These colonias are neglected by the city. They have no emergency medical services, police station, fire department, or garbage collection service. This poses a serious problem since the area is so isolated; if a real tragedy or emergency were to occur, it would take atleast twenty minutes for help from a neighboring city to arrive. The roads are unpaved. Weeds and over growth of plants dominate the area making some houses not even visible from the roads. This poses a hazard to residents because the foliage is a haven for snakes and other pests. Many of the homes are built with scrap lumbar and whatever materials are affordable or available. There are no real set neighborhood streets nor adequate street lighting. No stores or community centers are nearby since the county implements high property taxes.

The land itself has no infrastructure and is sold on contract for deed. Many of the homes are built just yards away from crop fields where people are exposed to the harmful pesticides farmers use to treat their plants for insects. It is visible with signs that Ethylene pipelines are used in the surrounding crop areas. It is documented that exposure to Ethylene for a long period of time can cause irritation to the eyes,skin, and mucous membranes. In animals it has been shown to interfere with their ability to reproduce. Some studies have also proven that exposure to Ethylene in high amounts showed an increased incident of Leukemia,stomach cancer, cancer of the pancreas, and Disease (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp137-c1.pdf).

The areas are prone to flooding because there is no water or sewage draining system When it rains heavily, the water collects for days surrounding the residents with a mosquito nesting ground they cannot escape. Open sewage areas are clearly visible in the colonias. Many residents reported having no running water, and many own only septic tanks systems. Some residents have wells, but are contaminated with pesticides from the crop areas surrounding the colonias. Some of the houses in the colonia area were sold to the low income residents without giving them the knowledge that the land was at one time a cemetery, and human remains are still in the ground.

The average colonia resident is of Mexican decent, mainly Spanish speaking. Most are of extreme low income, average 800 dollars a month. At an 18 % unemployment rate, many have never even graduated high school. It is estimated that 96% of the residents are 60% below the poverty level (Colonias and Public Policy in Texas and Mexico).