Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

The Forgotten Americans
A Colonia Experience

Take a ride in a mysterious taxi to the colonias.


Focus: Las Colonias
Filmmaker's Journal
An Inside Look
A Colonia Experience
Build A Community  
Classroom Resources
Press Room

You walk back towards the cab and then something stops you.

"Would you like a ride," you ask the pretty girl.

"Sure," she says.

She gives the driver directions and he pulls away from the school.

"I come from a small community outside the city limits," the girl tells you. "Our community is different from those in the city. Developers created it years ago and sold the land but they didn’t register the community with the county or the city. We have no paved streets, no addresses, no electricity connections, plumbing or any of the things you are used to."

The driver takes a turn down another street and you see a small library to the left.

"What do you do about homework?" you ask. "If you don’t have electricity, you must not have a computer."

"Most teachers at our school require that papers must be typed for a good grade. So most of us go to that library and use the computers there. Or the computers at school after school."

"There is also a computer center near our neighborhood, but you have to get there before 5 p.m. There are very few families in our neighborhood who have computers in their homes."

You are getting more curious about where she lives. You have heard of communities like the one she describes but only on television and you had no idea that a place like this exists in the United States.

The driver turns on to a dirt road and begins to drive up to a cluster of shacks. You wonder if this is where she lives.

"That’s my house over there," she says as she points to a gray house.

The porch is sagging and there is no sidewalk. Mud and pools of water cover the front yard and she doesn’t have any place to sit on her porch.

"Would you like to come inside?" she asks.

Colonia home along the Texas-Mexican border.

Do you?

    1. Go inside.
    2. Ask if you can meet some of her friends.

Copyright © 2000 KLRU and PBS Online
Site Credits