"There are no good parts in the east"
I got acquainted with an eastern part of Mexico City, known as Chimalhuacan on Monday. We drove to this area of Chimalhuacan, called ciudad dormitorio, from our main office which is southwest of the city center. Although the total distance was less than 20 miles, it took us nearly 1.5 hours to get to these centers because the roads and traffic are tremendously bad.
I am told the area is called Ciudad Dormitorio (sleeping city) because many who live there travel to the city center to work and do not return but only to sleep. I asked my co-worker if the eastern part of the city was the poorest and he said that there are poor areas like that all over Mexico City, in every section. However, he did say that of all the wealthy parts of the City, none are in the east.
There was a Slumdog moment during this drive when we passed up the pepenadores who are trash collectors and live on the city dump. They cart tremendous amounts of trash on the back of their caballos (horses) to a pepenador market where they sell the best of what they got in order to earn a living.
As my co-worker observed “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. I understand that many people would have probably a range of feelings about this, from pity to shame, and of course these pepenadores are stigmatized in society for being dirty and uncivilized. But, I guess my feeling is more of an admiration for people like this because they work hard for what they got and put up with so much crap just to make it by. I don’t know what I would do if I was born in conditions like that. Actually, I know very well what I would do. I would make a B-line for the border and try to find my way in the United States.