Pajarito Mesa is located just outside of Albuquerque, NM but looks like it's in rural Mexico. The approximately 1,500 who live there--many of whom are Mexican or Mexican-American--live without running water or paved roads. If they have electricity, it's solar. Many were promised by unscrupulous land sellers that utilities and roads would eventually arrive. They haven't.
"There are no rich people in Pajarito," says Juan Gomez Guerrero. "Only the land sellers are rich." That pretty much sums up Pajarito Mesa, an 18,000 acre tract of desert just a few miles outside of Albuquerque, NM. People buying land there bought because it's cheap. And it should be cheap: there are no utilities, water is bought at a central water station at the entrance and the best roads are merely bad. School buses make only one stop at the entrance and kids have to be driven miles to get to it.
Many people were promised that utilities and roads would eventually arrive. They haven't and, according to county officials, there are no plans to develop the land. Despite the hardships, most residents believe it's better to live at Pajarito than in the city where they'll never qualify for a mortgage and would be paying rent.
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