As Ajijic’s festivities surrounding the yearly tribute to spiritual patron San Andrés Apostol kick into action next week, local families will welcome the return of Los Hijos Ausentes, the relatives who come back to town from places of residence in the United States and other parts of Mexico.
The visiting absent sons and daughters and their progeny invariably enjoy getting back in the swing of typical homestead hullaballoo, along with the revived embrace of local family life. And many come with pockets lined with hard-earned dollars that contribute significantly to enhance the celebration. The final day of the fiestas, November 30, is customarily sponsored by Hijos Ausentes, making for a jubilant, full-blown closure.
However, some of these home-comers will take notice the impact of changing times. They will observe deterioration of the natural landscape. The disappearance of farmland once worked by generations of ancestors, now occupied by clusters of modern housing units. Endless traffic tangles on streets and the main highway long ago used to dry out charales fished from the lake. Fading memories will stir up visions of giant nets strung out along the waterfront and housewives kneeling at the water’s edge to wash their laundry. They will pick up on the recent emergence of a shopping mall, Walmart, commercial strips and multi-story apartment buildings in spots where their families grew up in the rustic tiled-roofed abodes.