El Huachi
(The Trap)


We were able to get a few interviews at El Huachi, one of the resettlement areas for families that have been displaced by the second dam Ralco. There are 47 families resettled here. Here family is used to mean an entire extended family. Homes are built in clusters--one for each family and each of their married children. Unmarried children receive nothing. The thing that strikes you immediately is the absence of trees. Trees here, for the most part, serve only as shade for the network of dusty one-lane roads that run through the area. In fact  one of the chief complaints here is the lack of firewood. The new homes that were built for the resettled Pehuenche have modern stoves, but for a people whose home lives are intricately linked to the hearth where there staple tortilla is made, the stoves are of little use. Tortilla here in Chile is a delicious round bread, about an inch-and-a half to two inches thick, that is cooked directly in the ashes over meticulously tended embers. It is not just an important food, but an important part of their day. The other major issue is water. El Huachi which is in the Santa Barbara valley has only a shallow canal which crosses it, and drinking water that is piped down from above and stored in a large steel tank. They complain that the water is yellow and tastes of rust. Endessa's power lines run diagonally across the property. We are told that the herds won't eat near the lines. Endessa has promised to deliver fire wood, but so far none has arrived. Like elsewhere we have visited, nearly everyone complains of illness. We spoke first with Juan Pablo Gallina and his wife Olga. She has recently suffered a stroke.
We found Humilde Marihuan (below) to be ill as well. She left her sick bed to speak with us. She also complained about the lack of water and a string of  broken promises.
Barely 10 miles away one can find the manicured lawns of Santa Teresa church. 
The church was built, and is irrigated and maintained by Eliodoro Matti as a retreat for his friends. Sr. Matti whose roof-tops are just visible through the trees across the road (below), is rumored to be the second richest man in Chile.
 
Apparently there is also ample water to irrigate pasture for his herds.
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