Los colonos (the colonists) from Lomas del Centinela know this problem well. Most of them work in the wealthy adjacent communities, that even though geographically close, are difficult to reach with the incipient public transportation routes available. Although still not legally recognized by authorities, Lomas gained throughout the decades a few infrastructural improvements, such as pavement and electricity in the main public street leading to their commercial center, Las Cinco Esquinas (The Five Corners). A quick stop there each morning for fresh tortillas is integral to the daily life of los colonos; another visit after a hard day’s work features a traditional meal of tortas ahogadas.
Las Cinco Esquinas is a source of pride and fear in Lomas. On one hand it marks the physical, social and commercial center of a community that is developing its own identity. On the other, it’s perceived as a meeting point for gangs and drug dealers. At night, many avoid that area, and other streets as well. Empty lots with incomplete construction projects, as well as a lack of public illumination makes nights in Lomas complicated and risky.
But tomorrow is another day. The sun will rise behind the ravines painting the sky in purples and pinks, and everything will be worth it.