Tuesday, November 26, 2013

And the Walls Came Tumbling Down…Again!

This isn’t Jericho and there are no indications that Joshua or ram’s horns were involved but one thing is certain – last night between 12:30am and 7:00am this morning the walls did indeed come tumbling down. And not for the first time. But let me start at the beginning.

I’ve written several posts recently about new housing construction in Chiclayo. In conjunction with that activity is the buying, selling and leasing of existing housing. ‘For sale’ and ‘for rent’ signs in windows are a common sight these days. This is a fairly recent phenomenon. It used to be that if you were looking for a home or apartment, word of mouth is how you found it. Realtors do exist in Chiclayo but they are not nearly as visible as those in the USA, nor do Chiclayanos utilize their services, viewing a middle-man as money spent for nothing.

Occasionally a ‘for sale’ sign will include this verbiage – ‘this property is in litigation.’ That could mean that there are back taxes owed or there is some other problem with the city, but more likely it means that the property ownership is in dispute.  Such is the case with a property in our neighborhood.

The most common version of the story circulating is that an old man who does not own the property but through some shenanigan managed to get his name registered as the owner sold the property to an unsuspecting buyer. When the new owner attempted to physically secure the property the real owner found out and filed suit. A judge arrived at a decision and appointed a specific day to announce his verdict.  In situations like this it is customary for the judge to announce his decision at the site of the dispute with all interested parties present, including a number of police to protect the judge in the event that the loser takes violent exception to the verdict.

One morning several months ago the litigants assembled outside the property. These things tend to take on a festive atmosphere and a crowd of neighbors, mototaxi drivers and others had assembled, along with street vendors hoping to take advantage of the situation. Several hours later the crowd dispersed after word was received that the judge had postponed his decision indefinitely because of a missing document.

Last week one of the parties – we don’t know who, had two brick walls constructed to close off the property which consists of three lots. The middle lot has a small unoccupied house on it so the walls were constructed on the two outside lots to match the height of the house. A two-man crew accomplished the work in one day. That night a person or persons unknown demolished the walls, providing a topic of much conversation the next day. Neighbors could not agree on who might have done it, with opinions ranging from one of the litigants to a random act of vandalism to the work crew itself hoping for another payday. The crew did return the next day and rebuilt the walls. Two days later the walls were painted yellow to match the house. We assumed that was the end of that issue.

This is the sight that greeted our neighborhood this morning. The house is standing; the walls are not. No one saw or heard anything. Not even a ram’s horn. 

No comments:

Post a Comment