The Other Team

The "Patrón"* sponsoring Placo's salvage logging team has pulled out, saying that the wood is now so rotten and the forest so thick that it is no longer worth it for him to log in Santa Maria. Therefore, today I monitored the time and output for the other team of salvage loggers.

The main difference between the two is the management. While most logging teams have a field supervisor, representing the interests of the ejido and making sure its management plans are followed, this team has a second, extra "supervisor" who represents the interests of the Patrón.

The guy, we'll call him Umhelio, started the day out by informing us that "the boss doesn't want any more mahogany." Apparently, when the global economy tanked, it took with it the market for precious, luxury woods like mahogany. Because of its high price, pulling out the dead mahogany rather than letting it rot is a boon to the community but a burden on the Patrón.

"Supervisor" Umhelio (pictured at left) constantly called everyone "amigo," the Spanish equivalent of a demeaning, obnoxious "buddy." He bickered with the ejido's supervisor Miguel (pictured above, pseudonym used) over every tree, arguing that this one was too rotten, that one looked too crooked, the other one too hollow. All of this might have been fine had he been correct, but over and over again he was proven wrong by the rest of the group.

At one point, when he had reiterated that the boss did not want any more caoba (mahogany), Miguel looked Umhelio straight in the eye and told him "Yes, but we have a contract. A certain about of caoba for every tzalam** you pull out."

"Oh yes buddy, of course buddy, of course, of course buddy."

In between all of these arguments, I had a great conversation with one of the "Chalanes" (helpers) about Mayan culture and the kids that are not adopting it.

But that's another story.

--
* "Patrón," the word often used to describe a boss or the funder of an activity, tastes a little bit of colonialism to me.
** Tzalam is a local hardwood, which has recently become very popular because it is both extremely strong and extremely cheap.

2 comments:

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Gracias

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