Barron, Sinaloa is a small Mexican town located 30 minutes from the city of Mazatlan and 5 km from the community of Estrella del Mar. Many of the staff who work at Estrella del Mar live in Barron so there has always been a close connection with the town and Estrella.
Barron has about 400 families and 3,000 people, of which about 110 people from Barron work at Estrella del Mar 6 days a week. The majority of Barron citizens earn their income from agriculture and some commute into Mazatlan. There is a distinct lack of services in Barron – no doctor, no dentist, no pharmacy.
Water is available to fill private cisterns before 7am and is turned on again in the evenings. There are some amenities … lots of small family stores, a baseball diamond, hidden cantinas, the Catholic Church, a nice plaza and, of course, the bakery.
Barron is close. The families who live there have “history”. They remember when 800 acres of their coconut groves were sold back on March 31, 1984. There’s not a lot of turnover, population wise. There is a road side sign that says, “Turismo es la nueva realidad”, strategically placed by someone in the Mexican Department of Transportation (not). A lot of folks are trying.
There is not a lot that can be done to diminish the disparity between Barron & EDM. What we can do is help lift the kids out of the cycle of poverty that traps them there. Go over there and buy a case of Coronitas. You’ll have to pay the deposit so that means you will have to commit to go back. Go back. Speak some Spanish to the guy behind the counter. He will be thrilled and will give you a big smile and offer to carry the full case to the car. Try it! You might Like It!
Then note the improvements. There’s a new wall around all the schools. There is some AC in the classrooms, each of which holds 30 – 40 students… and they’re small! They have repaved the main square of roads. They are planning improvements to the plaza. The Mexican Government knows how to offer help to its citizens… they require local input of both time and cash.
About a third of the work aged men work at EDM. Another third own their own land and work it, alongside various family members. About a third go to town, work at a store or do part-tim ag work. The town has its own ongoing political drama. But it’s the kids that we are focused on. The youth. The exceptional youth. And they are not hard to find.
It’s just that these kids don’t know how to recognize opportunity, let alone capitalize on it. That is one of the first things our students learn…. How to see opportunity, A…. and B… How to capitalize upon it.
We are building Human Capital there. And we’re doing a good job. Help us … please!