Poverty Is Not an Accident

Poverty Is Not an Accident
Nelson Mandela

Sunday, January 16, 2011

to a Queer UUA email list

You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com
Share |

I forgot I'd even signed up for this, it had been so silent for so many months.

I live in rural New Mexico. I had to move out of the house I rent here, as it has no heat, running water or sewage; the walls, floors and windows have holes in them and black mold and fungus are growing in a back bedroom, thanks to raw sewage that backed up and saturated them.

I have no car and there's no public transportation for 7 miles, so I have to hitch hike out for provisions.

My ex took out a loan and I bought a 25 foot travel trailer, from which I'm writing you, that the seller towed to the driveway of the house. I still have no running water or sewage, but I'm warmer.

One of my neighbors, I discovered recently, is spreading a rumor that I worship the devil. Her "evidence" is that I have 3 pygmy goats. I seriously don't think I'll be coming out very soon here. Another neighbor, who has actually been a little helpful, liberally uses the epithet, "fag" to describe men she doesn't like.

I am trying to move across state, but, frankly, there is no adequate, affordable housing, anywhere in New Mexico. I'm so desperate, I am actually considering a ranch 3 miles out of Crownpoint. It's at an elevation of 7,500 feet and regularly dips below -15f at night in winter. It is not even a town, but a settlement, a Navajo chapter. The population is 89% Navajo and the average income, like mine, is less than $9,000 annually. I would be 1 mile up a dirt road: the only dwelling there and 4 miles from the only grocery. Crownpoint is located directly between Chaco Canyon to the northeast and Canyon de Chelly on the northwest. It would be beautiful, but treacherous.

For the meantime, I'll live here, if the landlord doesn't play anymore nasty games to try to force me out. I guess I can pay him $75/month for parking trailer here. He called Adult Protective services on me, hoping, I guess, they'd pack me in an ambulance and lock me up. He reported I had no water or sewage, and said my goats were living inside the house. He is the only human being who knows my exact address who also knows about the water and sewage. I would never tell my neighbors, for fear the place would be condemned and me evicted on the spot. I would lose everything and my animals would die. He is a criminal and has spent most of my tenancy in jail.

I pulled out unnecessary beds, cabinets, etc. from this house trailer and moved my own filing cabinets, etc. inside, with most of what I own in them. I still have some things to remove from the house, but it's really hard. I'm exhausted, for one thing. It's very cold: just above freezing, most days, for another. And it's just so demoralizing to walk inside that house anymore.

The nearest UU church is in Albuquerque, and they've made it known, on several occasions, that I'm not particularly welcome. They seem to think I'll just be a burden and drain on the congregation and have told me so. The board president, responding to my statement that I'd like to volunteer and participate in work at the church, if people could give me rides, said, "Why should we want YOU to participate, if we have to give you rides? It's easier to have volunteers who can take care of themselves!" I never went back.

No comments: