Death Costs at the Cemetery in Rural Mexico

Cemetery plots are purchased from la tesorería de la presidencia (town hall treasury department) because cemeteries belong to the municipality. Ground plots run about $18,000 pesos and a slot in the boveda (vault) costs $800 in Moroleon. After six years, the boveda or ground plot can be opened again and a second body can be put in if need be. 

The cemetery in Cerano allows for one person to purchase the ground plot and two additional family members can be stacked on top in their own boveda. Babies and very young children can also be buried in the same area, usually in a small space in front of the main spot. 

For example my husband’s cousin, is the body underground. Mama Vira is next and on top is Papa Rique. The cousin’s infant baby is in a little space in the ground, right in front because he died before his mother, otherwise he could have been buried with her. The plot is full up now and when someone else in the family dies, they will need to purchase a separate plot. 

After five years, you need to pay a yearly fee that varies between $300 and $500 depending on the cemetery. When no one pays your space, you just might be dug up and put on display in el Museo de Las Momias. I’m not joking. If you aren’t put on display, your remains will be condensed or cremated and you’ll be moved to another area to make room for the more recently departed.

If you want to leave your cenizas (ashes) after cremation in the cemetery, some places have a columbario (columbarium) where you can deposit your urn. Otherwise, you can display the urn on your mantel if you like.

A body without the proper paperwork or unclaimed 72 hours after death is buried in la fosa común. Our neighbor, el plomero, narrowly escaped being buried in the pauper’s grave. His birth certificate and identification were stolen during his velorio, probably by the same person that stole his property certificate for his house in La Yacata. His wife had to request a new birth certificate to get the appropriate death papers otherwise he’d be thrown in that large anonymous pit. Since bodies must be buried between 24 and 48 hours after death, there was a bit of rush, but she pulled through and got him the proper identification to be buried.

The funeraria will often get the permit to open the grave/crypt all ready for you. It accompanies the body to the cemetery. However, you’ll have to pay the workmen to close up the grave. When we buried my mother-in-law, my husband and his brother requested permission to seal up the crypt as they were both bricklayers by trade, so that saved a little bit of money.

Sometimes, like in Cerano, you’ll need to pay someone to build the crypt itself. The panteón (cemetery) has workers on staff, however again, you’ll need to pay them. Often, someone close to the family, but not a relative offers to build the boveda. They may accept a token payment or refuse payment. You’ll then just need to pay for materials. 

If you wish to add a lápida (headstone) or some sort of marker, you need permission for that as well. Those permits are given out at the main cemetery office and cost approximately $400 pesos. Plus, you’ll need to have a grave marker made at the marmoleria and they can get pretty pricey. 

The little mausoleum made for the top of our nephew’s grave cost $15,000. On the other hand, you can do it yourself and just pay for materials. The front of my mother-in-law’s crypt was decorated with tile and a name plaque which cost about $1,500. You’ll still need to pay for the permit and make sure the adornment or structure meets the cemetery’s parameters for the plaque, monument, or marker. 

There’s a yearly maintenance fee at most cemeteries. This ensures that the common areas are kept neat and tidy and special efforts are taken during at el Día de Muertos. You are responsible for the upkeep of your own dearly departed, however.

Some cemeteries have special sections reserved for gringos or children. Others allow families to buy up multiple plots and create a family mausoleum. Most, however, are on a first come, first served type of set up. 

The plots on the ground in our local cemetery can not be set aside without the actual presence of a dead body. Otherwise, the wealthier would reserve their spots under the single mesquite tree and leave the rest to fight over what was left. You can, however, pay for a space ahead of time and when your time comes, you’ll get the next available slot either above or below ground.

As you can tell, dying doesn’t come cheap here in rural Mexico. And since it is an eventuality, perhaps you’d do best to set a little money aside so as not to be a burden to your family, unless you are ok with the la fosa común idea.

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Filed under Death and all its trappings

Rural Mexico Prepper’s Pantry

Although Mexico hasn’t initiated a lock down to combat the spread of COVID-19, several states have been vocal about voluntary quarantine. The state of Jalisco, for example is encouraging #5diasencasa (5 days at home) from March 20 to March 25, the period when analysts have predicted is the peak contagion window in Mexico. 

I’ve seen several posts recently on what to stock up on in the event of quarantine. Although I’m sure they meant well, none of them has taken the limited selection available in rural Mexican stores into account. I don’t mean fruit and vegetables, but non-perishable goods. If you’ve gone into a corner store lately to do your own stocking up, you’ll have seen what I mean.

So what can you do in rural Mexico to have a store of provisions that will keep for the foreseeable future, especially if you don’t have a fridge or freezer? It may call for thinking outside the box, but you can get a pantry full of goods that will last you for a while. 

You can get boxed milk that lasts several weeks. Eggs are also stored at room temperature, so there’s no problem with those. However, some fruit and vegetables won’t last long at all. So steer clear of cucumbers, tomatoes, guavas, and strawberries. Instead focus on onions, garlic, potatoes as root vegetables last longer without refrigeration. Oranges, limes, squash, and melons are also good long-term choices.

Your staples should include rice, corn, oatmeal, beans, and pasta. Beans come in all sorts of colors for variety. Pasta comes in a whole slew of different shapes to change things up. If you know how to make your own tortillas, make sure you have some cal (lime) to complete the nixtamal process. Otherwise, tostadas are a good alternative.

If you have an oven and like to bake, be sure to get enough flour and yeast for bread. Salt and sugar are other things to have in surplus. Cooking oil will eventually go rancid, so try to get some solid shortening as well. Honey, jam and cajeta make good toppings for pancakes, which are a great snack. Other snacks include peanuts, chips, popcorn, and crackers. 

Soda does last forever, but isn’t perhaps the healthiest option. Make sure to have enough garafones of water on hand for at least two weeks, based on your regular consumption. Tamarindo and jamaica are nice to make flavored water. Containers of juice, coffee and tea are other beverages to consider. 

As I mentioned, the canned goods selection at the local supermarket is really quite limited. However, I was able to pick up canned beans, mushrooms, corn, peas, soup, tuna and sardines. 

Since we are in the midst of a global pandemic, hygiene is of paramount importance. Therefore, make sure to have enough bar soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and hand sanitizer. For regular cleansing, have an extra container of dish soap and laundry detergent. Consider picking up a pack of baby wipes and some disinfectant spray as well. As for toilet paper, one roll per family member per week should be fine if you ration it like they do at the public bathrooms in Mexico. Ladies, don’t forget to stock up on your monthly supplies too!

As for the quantity of each, well it really depends on your family’s needs and food preferences. The pandemic period won’t last for decades, but it could last several weeks. 

What would you add to a Prepper’s Pantry for rural Mexico?

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Filed under Health, Homesteading, Safety and Security

Herbal Classes Online

If you’ve been quarantined, you may find it a blessing in disguise. Perhaps you have more family time or can sit quietly with your cat for a while. Maybe, however, someone in your house is sick or in the high risk category for contracting an airborne illness like COVID-19. What better time to enroll in an herbal class and learn about boosting your immunity naturally! 

Herbs are not a “cure” for COVID-19, however, utilizing herbal infusions may be useful in reducing the severity of the most troubling symptoms like cough, aches, pains, and difficulty breathing. Incorporating more herbs and plants into your diet can strengthen your body’s immunity over time. And you can do that by adding some as seasonings to your regular meals, making teas and tinctures or just eating them raw. 

Herbal Academy is committed to educating the world about herbs and their benefits. Last week, I shared the newest online offering, The Mushroom Course. Right now you can enroll with a discount of $50 until April 6 and start learning about the beneficial properties of fungi. 

This week I wanted to let you know that several of Herbal Academy’s programs are 50% off.

The Introductory Herbal Course is designed for those with little or no herbal knowledge. You can preview a lesson from this course here.

The Intermediate Herbal Course is meant for those that have some understanding about the practical use of herbs for wellness. Both courses are 50% off for the next three weeks.

Even at this reduced rate, you might find the budget too tight and the future just too uncertain to justify these classes right now. That doesn’t mean you need to give up on your herbal education entirely, however. Huckleberry Mountain Botanicals offers free herbal content for you to enjoy. 

I know I’m using this time to reflect on my health, make determined decisions to improve my wellness levels, and take the time to appreciate what I have. What about you?


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Filed under Health, Natural Healing