Category Archives: Charities and Non-Profits in Mexico

National Wellness Month

healthAugust just happens to be National Wellness Month. I talked a bit about self-care last month and I’ve chronicled my own challenges with health issues and navigating the Mexican healthcare system over the years, so I won’t rehash that. However, I’d like to share some statistics to emphasize the importance of adequate health care for women, no matter what country you live in.  Women’s symptoms are systematically dismissed by doctors resulting in poor prognosis, unnecessary suffering, and early death. 

According to the World Health Organization

  • A thousand (1000) women die every day of the consequences of pregnancy and childbirth.
  • A female in a low-income country can expect to live 24 fewer years than a female who lives in a high-income country. 
  • One-third (1 / 3) of all female deaths are due to stroke and cardiovascular disease. 
  • More than four million girls under the age of five die from preventable communicable diseases every year. 


Today I’d like to share Bonnie’s health story. Bonnie is one of our ladies in our support group Women Surviving Rural Mexico. This summer, Bonnie had surgery which was an ordeal in and of itself. She didn’t know she had to have blood donors lined up. She had to travel to a medical facility outside of her area. And while she was in recovery, a nurse found a lump on her breast. 

The nurse told her she should get a mammogram immediately. Bonnie went to her local clinic and had one done. She commented that the equipment was not very modern and the whole process made her feel as if her breasts had been flattened in a tortilla press. The technician told her that the results would be available in two months. 

Since the nurse stressed that the mammogram was urgent, Bonnie asked for the CD disc copy and took it to a private doctor for a diagnosis. The private doctor charged 200 pesos and gave her a printout to take to the clinic run by Seguro Popular (Mexican health insurance). Based on those results, Bonnie was scheduled for an ultrasound. 

There was only one technician trained to use the ultrasound at the clinic. The results weren’t available for two weeks. Bonnie then took the ultrasound information back to Seguro Popular which referred her to another doctor a biopsy. 

She went to the clinic for that appointment which performed the biopsy on the lump without anesthesia. Bonnie had to take the tissue sample to a private lab for analysis. That cost 400 pesos but the results were ready later that same week. She was given a referral to another doctor for a second opinion. 

The doctor couldn’t see her the day she had the appointment but sent her to a health fair in a town about an hour from her home where they did a second biopsy free of charge. 

When the results were ready three weeks later, Bonnie took them back to the doctor who then said she would get a referral to the hospital in San Luis Potosi, a three-hour drive. Several trips later and Bonnie was able to see a specialist. The lump is cancerous. She is scheduled to have a mastectomy on September 11. Chemotherapy is scheduled to begin after surgery. 

The medical staff signed Bonnie up for Gastos Catastróficos once the cancer diagnosis was official which will cover more of her treatments and follow-up care. 

Since breast cancer is one of the most expensive cancers to treat, Mexico public healthcare, despite all the waiting for appointments and results, is a godsend for Bonnie and her family. 

If you wish to help Bonnie on her way to wellness, you can send your donation via Google Pay or Paypal to happycrabb at 


In honor of Wellness Month, A Woman’s Survival Guide to Mexican Healthcare is free for the next few days at Amazon. As you can see from Bonnie’s story, navigating the Mexican healthcare system is complicated but doable if you are determined enough. 

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Filed under Charities and Non-Profits in Mexico, Guest Blogger Adventures, Health

Travels with Grace Book Giveaway

Did you know that February 14 is International Book Giving Day? #bookgivingday Mexico is one of 44 participating countries and I have the perfect book for you to gift a child in Mexico!

Erma Note has written a delightful story about a bicultural 9-year old Grace who lives in Mexico City. Her American cousin Connor is coming to visit and Grace wants to show him all the amazing things there are to see and do in the area.

travels with grace

For those of you that are not in Mexico, you can find Travels with Grace on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. A portion of all book sales is donated to Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos orphanage. To learn more about how you can contribute to helping the children of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos orphanage, please visit their site here.

Nothing beats a beautifully illustrated hardcover children’s book! So today I’d like to offer a signed copy of Travels With Grace to one lucky winner here in Mexico. Enter HERE.

Note: Winners must provide a mailing address in Mexico to be eligible.

Are you looking for other ways to give the gift of reading? You can download bookmarks and bookplates for International Book Giving Day and include them in the books you give today! Take the time to read with a child today!

Be on the lookout for other ways to participate with the hashtag #bookgivingday. Check out the official International Book Giving Day site and see if there are any events near you.


Filed under Book Reviews, Charities and Non-Profits in Mexico, Tourist Sites in Mexico

A to Z Blogs About Mexico — Karen Moves to Mexico

Karen Swanson writes at Karen Moves to Mexico, a blog I’ve been following for quite some time now. Her stories about the children at the shelter she and her husband volunteer at are inspiring!

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Like many expats, our dream of living here in Mexico started soon after we started vacationing here.   In addition to the regular tourist activities, we found ourselves repeatedly visiting a Children’s shelter in Bucerias, Nayarit and our growing love of the children drew us here permanently. Now we are daily volunteers at this orphanage, teaching English classes, fostering children and giving lots of hugs.

Well, I called my blog Karen Moves to Mexico because I really wanted to share the whole moving process with those closest to me.  I guess I didn’t foresee that I would keep writing long after the move was over.

This blog focuses on the daily life of my husband and me in Bucerias, Nayarit which is just north of Puerto Vallarta.  It covers our personal experiences, stories from our community and many stories are about the children we care for at Manos de Amor, Casa Hogar.

I started blogging to keep my family and friends from panicking about this crazy move.  I wanted them to know what was happening with us and to be okay with it. But I began to realize that writing was helping me process my own feelings about it all.  As we got more involved in the orphanage and started working with many families in surrounding villages, I began to realize that my heart was full of both pain and joy.  So much poverty, so many problems in the lives of these little ones. But also, so much joy as we connected deeper with each child. This blog became more of my personal journal than a how-to guide on moving to Mexico.  And people began to respond to the stories – offering encouragement and support that was good for me and for my husband.

This was hard – I have so many blog posts about the children we work with and my heart is touched every time I reread one of those posts.  But the post entitled “What I’ve Learned…So Far” is a good overview of my feelings here. That was written last year on the anniversary of our move.  This year’s anniversary post was just written last week “Are We Happy?” and it also is a reflection of my current heart thoughts.

The most difficult has been blogging about some of the crappy things I have seen in the homes of the children we work with.  I want to tell the stories of these moms and dads without judgment – I think mostly they are doing the best they can – but sometimes that is difficult.  I get mad and I get frustrated and that is hard to write about.


Our best experience has absolutely been working with the children of Manos de Amor.  To give up our fast-paced work lives to invest in the lives of broken children has been heartbreaking but so satisfying.  Having children live in our home on weekends, a little one with an STD live with us for 5 weeks – it has been one of the most difficult things we’ve ever done but so very meaningful.  A lot of my blog talks about what we’ve learned and how we’ve changed because of that so you must read the blog to learn the lessons!

Just a few months ago we were on our way to Canada pulling a long trailer when a motorcycle driver hit us in Guadalajara.  As happens here after an accident, the insurance agents tried to negotiate a deal but when the injured motorcycle driver refused to accept any deal (he was fully at fault in the accident but wanted to get some $$$ from it) we were told that our vehicle was being impounded and my husband would have to go to jail for 48 hours until court convened.  That was a pretty scary day. After 8 hours, we were let go but the idea of Mexican jail made that our worst day here. Thank goodness we had great friends who were helping us negotiate with the police. That is our biggest takeaway from that day (besides don’t pull a trailer through Guadalajara!) – it’s okay to lean on friends. We’re used to being pretty independent but it’s good to have people in your corner.  Also, we really need to improve our Spanish!

I would tell someone planning on moving to Mexico to give up all your expectations of how things ‘should’ be and go with the flow.  You will be so frustrated if you don’t accept waiting in lines, bureaucratic nonsense and things never start on time. So what? That’s part of the charm and if you accept the fluidity of it all, you will be okay.

I think there will be a time when I will share more of the details of what to do and how to do it here.  Things we’ve figured out the hard way. For now, I’m happy sharing from my heart about what it is actually like to live here.  I hope others are inspired by my stories. not just to move to a new country, but to step out wherever they live and take risks.  Try scary things. Find deeper meaning in their lives. Make a difference in the lives of others. Keep stretching and growing.


I can be found at:

Karen Moves to Mexico



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Filed under Blogs about Mexico Worth Reading, Charities and Non-Profits in Mexico