I know that sometimes I must make Yunquera sound like a paradise. Well, in many ways it is – clean air, good produce, friendly people, a healthy lifestyle. The only fast food place in town sells spit-roasted chicken and pizza!
But, of course, that doesn’t tell the whole story. There are problems of modern life here, just as everywhere else in the world. Unemployment rising. How to keep the young from moving away. Health care when living so remotely. The falling prices for agricultural goods. Farmers abandoning their land.
But one of the most serious issues here is drugs. As befits an area so close to the drug corridor from Africa, Andalucian drug use is through the roof. Lots of grass, which isn’t so bad, but also lots of cocaine. From what I’ve heard, it’s cheap and plentiful. Many of the bars struggle to keep drugs out of their bars.
The reason I mention this is that a young man we know has just been ‘sent down’ for 3 1/2 years, for fighting in a bar. We’ve known him for a few years, mostly because he picked grapes with us a couple of times. He was only 19 when we met him, and just 21 now. He has not had the easiest of lives, as his father died when he was young, but there have always been lots of close family around to help.
This young man started using cocaine at a very young age, and it soon ruled his life. He eventually became bad enough to steal money from everyone he knew – family, friends, everyone. Eventually, people had had enough, and he was jailed for 18 months, for theft and for pulling a knife in a bar.
He ‘got clean’ in prison, and came out after 6 months, full of good intentions. Less than a year later, he’s on his way back, this time to several years in the adult prison. I can’t help but think he’s now set on that path for life.