Category Archives: Cultural Challenges

Getting Beautified in Mexico

There are some challenges to a modern woman’s beauty regime here in rural Mexico. First, there’s where to go to find the services you may be in need of. Then there’s the communication issue between hair stylist and person in need of beautifying. Then there are the different concepts of beauty to contend with. So here’s some information that might make it easier.

Getting your hair cut isn’t as simple as it appears. The last haircut I got, I came out looking like I’d escaped from a mental hospital by climbing through the sewers. It was that bad. My husband and son just looked at me and shook their heads. My hair has grown out since then, but well, I decided I needed to learn a few more vocabulary words (and find a different stylist) before I tried again.

Hair Cut TermsSo you get your hair cut at a peluquería(coming from the word peluca which means wig) or Estética. Estética unisex establishments cut both men’s and women’s hair. However, a barbería (from the word barba which means beard) is a barber shop and caters to men only. As facial hair becomes more the mode, you can also get beard and mustache trims at most barberías these days. They don’t pull teeth though.

IMG_20180502_145701You need to be very specific in what you ask for. Most men in our area have el corte escolar which is the required haircut for school and is like a crew cut. So every stylist knows how to do this cut, making it the default cut for boys and men. Girls and I’d say 70% of the women here have the parece yegua (looks like a mare) haircut. That’s what my husband calls the pulled back from the forehead into a long, long ponytail or braid style. Older women tend to go with a short bob cut, again, not necessarily the most attractive style, but very popular among those that wear aprons to the store in these parts.

IMG_20180830_124030If you have extremely fine hair, your stylist may not be familiar with how to best cut your hair. You’ll know for sure after your hair has been cut, which is perhaps not the best time to find that information out.

IMG_20180507_092928.jpgThere are some strange hair beliefs as well. Girls who have long flowing hair but are anemic are sent for a much shorter haircut since all that hair is taking the nutrients from the body. Yep. And since everyone wants curly haired babies, those whose little girls are straight haired sometimes have their heads shaved so that it will grow back curly. Ok then.

There are more beauty options in addition to haircuts available at the salón de belleza. You should be able to find manicura and pedicura services at this sort of establishment or you could go to the specialty stores which do Aplicacion De Uñas (fingernail application). A salón de belleza will also style your hair and apply makeup for big events like quinceañeras and weddings. One salón de belleza in our town offers botox as well.

IMG_20180815_191503.jpgIf you are in need of hair removal, there are special places for that too. This one is called Depilación Frida, referring to Frida Kahlo who was indeed in need of a little upper lip and unibrow assistance. I’m not so sure that this location is ideal, however. It’s on a heavily trafficked road in front of a secondary school and there’s nothing but a curtain to keep you from flashing the passing pedestrians your nearly hairless lady parts.

If you’d like just your eyebrows done you can go to places that offer Delineación de Cejas. The optometrist where I bought my last pair of glasses offers this service I guess so that your eyebrows look nice with your glasses?

Depiliaction termsSo now you want to add a little pick me up scent either console or celebrate your new look? Head to the Perfumería. If you can’t quite afford what they have to offer, try perfumes similares where you can get casi, casi (almost) the same perfume at a fraction of the cost.

IMG_20180410_134835So a trip to the joyeria isn’t in the budget? Try the Bisturia for costume jewelry. Cosméticos (cosmetics) are pretty limited where I live. You might try places that supply the salones de belleza for a selection.

If you are in need of a little more pampering and the vibrating chairs at the shopping center aren’t enough, you can go to a sobador (literally a person who rubs or massager). Our area does offer a “spa” but I’m sure it’s not anything like you can get in the south of France.

IMG_20180221_155214How about some body art? Tattoos are done at places that offer tattoos. That one isn’t too hard to figure out. Sometimes the establishment also does body piercing. Although we live in a pretty conservative area, it’s not unheard of for regular men and women to have visible tattoos or a body piercing or two and all girl babies have their ears pierced before leaving the hospital. Of course the more adornment you have, the more suspicious looks you’ll get, and the more often you’ll be stopped by police for a frisk. Just saying. Maybe get those tats in a little less visible place and not across the bridge of your nose, eh?

Maybe this will helps take some of the angst out of your next beauty treatment.

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Alcohol and Mexico–like oil and water

The first alcoholic beverages in Mexico were created from the agave plant which is the source of tequila, mezcal, raicilla, bacanora, comiteco, curado, Licor de henequén, and pulque.

The story goes that the creation of the maguey (agave) plant was the result of the ill-fated love between Mayahuel, a goddess of fertility and Quetzalcóatl.  Mayahuel’s busybody abuelita (grandmother) sought to separate the lovers so Mayahuel and Quetzalcóatl transformed themselves into a single tree with two branches. Granny sliced Mayahuel’s branch into many small pieces which Quetzalcóatl buried, weeping copious tears.  From Mayahuel’s remains, the maguey plant was born. When the plant matures, the sweep sap (aguamiel) that seeps from the center is said to be the remnants of the tears shed by Quetzalcóatl.

Unfermented aguamiel known as octli was given to the elderly, sick and women after childbirth and used as a ceremonial drink for the entire family including babies and children on certain occasions. The fermented aguamiel (octli poliuhqui) was used to treat depression and given to dull the pain before ceremonial sacrifices. The recipe for the alcoholic octli poliuhqui (now known as pulque) was given to humans by Patécatl who was married to Mayahuel.

Patécatl and Mayahuel had 400 children known as the Los Centzon Totochtin. These 400 minor deities de los borrachos (drunks) were associated with dreams and awakening, confusion and lucidity, and death. Their birth gave Mayahuel a holy duality. Not only was she a goddess of fertility and the earth with multiple breasts to nourish her many children, but also with the creation of pulque and her love for Quetzalcóatl, she became associated with drunkenness and adultery. Her influence was so great that one day of every month was devoted to her and children born on that day were destined to become drunks or commit adultery (probably while drunk).

Understanding the strength of the fermented aguamiel, excessive drinking was prohibited. In fact, public drunkenness was punishable by death unless you were over the age of 70. 

Not content with the local inebriants, Spanish conquerors imported plants from their native land and found that the climate and soil composition were an ideal environment to grow grapes.

Several areas were already known for their cultivation and fermentation of wild grades. The Mexicas called alcohol made from wild grapes acacholli. The Purépechas referred to it as seruráni. The Otomíes used the term obxi and to the Tarahumaras it was known asúri.

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Vineyards outside of San Miguel de Allende

After the Spanish conquest, Hernán Cortés had seeds brought from Cuba from plants originally brought from Spain for wine production in Mexico. In 1524, he decreed that Spanish settlers should plant 1000 grape vines for every 100 native servants owned. The first vineyards were established in Huejotzingo and around the conquered Mexico City. This hybrid plant was known as xocomecatl in náhuatl and the resulting alcoholic beverage was known as tlapaloctli.

In 1531 the Spanish king Carlos V ordered that emmigrants destined for Mexico settlement take grape vines and olives for cultivation. Converting the indigenous took a back burner to wine production in Metztitlán. The Augustine monks of the area managed to create enough wine to meet local consumption needs and export to Mexico City, which they sent by the wagonload. Not to be outdone, the Jesuit monks in Baja California cultivated grape plants to provide for the thirst of the California missions up and down the coast beginning with San Diego de Alcalá

Thus, vineyards became a profitable enterprise in Mexico post-conquest. This wine producing prosperity continued unchecked until 1595 when King Felipe II prohibited the planting of new vines in the country because the wines being produced in Mexico were of superior quality to wines being produced in Spain which made the Spanish wine producers unhappy.

Even Miguel Hidalgo practiced vitivinicultura in what is now known as Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato. Unfortunately, Virrey Francisco Xavier Venegas destroyed his vineyard in retaliation for Hidalgo’s treasonous acts against the Spanish crown during the War for Independence.

Fermented maguey and grape consumption aside, Mexico is the world’s tenth largest beer consumer and the third largest beer producer. There are two main beer producers in Mexico. Cervecería Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma and Grupo Modelo

Before the conquest, a variety of beers were produced from fermented corn including Pox, Tejuino, Tepache, tesgüino, and pozol. The first barley based cervecería (brewery) was set up near Mexico City by Alfonso de Herrero in 1543 or 1544. Dark beers became popular under the rule of Maximilian I from Austria. Beer consumption has continued to grow in Mexico. As of 2010, the Mexican average annual beer consumption is 60 liters per adult.

Mexico ranks at the top for alcohol consumption with one of the highest mortality rate for alcoholic liver disease in the world. The prevalence of alcoholic liver disease and addiction is apparently a combination of these pre-conquest traditions and the post-conquest gene mixture.

Each weekend, approximately 30 million Mexicans consume more than 5 drinks per day while another 10 million Mexicans have at least one alcoholic drink daily with about 5 million Mexicans developing a strong alcohol dependence. Regular alcohol consumption begins in early adolescence. One study found that 61.4% of 12-17-year-olds are regular drinkers. In another study, over 1/3 of 12-year-olds in Mexico City admitted to drinking. By age 17, 82.5% have used alcohol. Another study found that Mexican adolescents who drink regularly have more positive beliefs about consumption than those who don’t drink. In part, this is because drinking alcohol during this key period of development of the brain causes permanent alteration of the brain.

Drinking is common at most social or religious events in Mexico including weddings, quinceaneras, and christenings. Although this is a culturally acceptable activity, alcohol dependence grows over time. Ten years after beginning regular alcohol use the number of beers consumed per event typically goes from 4 to 6 to 20-24 beers. Because of this social association with events and heavy alcohol ingestion, binge drinking, infrequent drinking with sporadic heavy drinking, is the most common drinking pattern in Mexico.

So why is this a problem?

Compared to other countries, Mexico has the youngest people with alcoholic cirrhosis in the world with an average age of 23 to 30 years. In part, this is due to the unique set of genes found in the general Mexican population.

Even after a diagnosis of alcoholic cirrhosis, alcoholics continue to drink themselves to death. 40%-60% of the risk for developing chronic alcoholism is also genetic which is the number one cause of cirrhosis in Mexican males and the fourth-leading cause of death in Mexico.

Not only does excessive alcohol consumption cause life-threatening medical problems for the drinker but there is a high correlation between acts of violence and alcohol use, not that anyone is surprised by that finding. The WHO has reported that in Mexico alcohol plays a part in 51% of injuries resulting from violence and 78% of paralysis and death incidents.  These injuries, paralysis, and death are not always confined to the person drinking. Domestic abuse, rape, and femicide come to mind.

So can those struggling with alcoholism get help?

The Mexican government recognized the growing issue of alcohol dependence among teenagers and young adults in 2000 and introduced NOM 028-SSA-1999 which outlines preventative and treatment measures available. As with most government-sponsored programs, there are a lot of good intentions but very little follow through.

Central Mexicana de Servicios Generales de Alcohólicos Anónimos, A.C. (Alcoholics Anonymous) can be found in most locations throughout the country. Local meeting groups and albergues (in-house detox centers) sponsored by AA are easily located. There are also Al-anon and Ala-teen groups in many areas. (Central Mexicana de Servicios Generales de Los Grupos Familiares Al-Anon A.C)

There are psychiatric hospitals (Clínicas) and rehab centers that deal with alcoholism, often at prices the average Mexican can’t afford. A variety of religious groups sponsor retiros (weekend retreats), sometimes free and sometimes at a set cost, as part of rehab programs.

Although with the cards stacked against the typical Mexican with their genetic predisposition for both cirrhosis and alcoholism, long-term recovery by any means is low. On the other hand, there have been promising results using the sage of the diviners’ plant (Salvia divinorum) from the Sierra Madre Oriental region of Oaxaca, Mexico as a treatment for addictions. Salvia effects the dopamine levels in the brain, specifically areas dealing with motivation and reward.  More study on its use and applications is needed, however.

 

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Filed under Cultural Challenges, Health, Mexican Food and Drink

Rape Culture in Mexico

The “Me Too” campaign recently making the rounds on social media sites called to mind another demand for justice launched last year called Ya No Nos Callamos Mas (We won’t Shut Up).  While both campaigns were begun to highlight sexual abuse of women, Ya No Nos Callamos Mas has a forum for NAMING the assailant publically.  After all, there is some accountability due for sexual assault.  Someone is the aggressor.  Someone is the victim.  Why should only the victim be named?

One in every 10 women in Mexico has been a victim of a sexual assault ranging in severity from groping to rape. Officials estimate that each year there are 120,000 rapes, one every 4 minutes, making Mexico number one in the world for sexual violence incidents. (México es el primer lugar en violencia sexual: ONU) (Over 14,000 Women Are Raped in Mexico Every Year: Report)

Most of these rapes go unreported.  Of those that are reported, very few are brought to justice.  For example, in 2009, 14,829 rape cases were filed.  Of those, only 3,462 were prosecuted, which led to only 2,795 sentences. (Amnistía Internacional (AI) en 2012)(LA VIOLENCIA SEXUAL EN MÉXICO INICIA EN CASA Y EN SU MAYORÍA QUEDA IMPUNE)

Worldwide, 13.7% of females raped are under 10 years old.  65% are between the ages of 10 and 20 years old. (Ipas Salud) 70% of the rapists are family members.  In 7.2% of the cases, the rapist is the father while 8.2% of the rapists are stepfathers.  55.1% rapes are perpetrated by another male family member (uncles or cousins) or close friend of the family.  3.4% of the rapists are boyfriends of the victim. (Sexual Violence Research Initiative)

Outside the home, other areas of high risk for sexual assault are at school and at work where women are placed in submissive situations as employees or students. (Informe Especial “Adolescentes: Vulnerabilidad y Violencia”) (Extracto del Informe Nacional Sobre Violencia y Salud)

Not even going to and from school and work is without risk. Nearly 40% of women over the age of 15 have suffered some sort of public sexual aggression. Of these women, 92% have been victims of sexual intimidation and 42% have been sexually abused in public. (Encuesta Nacional sobre la Dinámica de las Relaciones en los Hogares 2006 (ENDIREH).  In Mexico City, 65% of women who use public transportation have been sexually harassed or assaulted. (The Pink Ghetto of Women’s Issues in Mexico: From Rape Whistles to Subway Cars) Between 2010 and 2015, 3 million incidents of sexual were reported. (Mexico City’s Plan To Fight Sexual Assault: Whistles On The Subway) (Mexico City Ridiculed for Sexual Harassment Fight With Whistles)(Teen’s death provokes anger across Mexico)(The Most Dangerous Place for Mexican Women is In the Streets)

Fleeing the violence of their home countries also puts women in a vulnerable position. Six out of every 10 female migrants are sexually assaulted during the course of their travels.  Being picked up by border patrol does not guarantee freedom from sexual assault.  In one survey in 2006, 23 out of 90 women already detained reported being raped while in custody, more than half indicating the aggressor was a US state official. (Sexual assault of migrants from Latin America to the United States)(Why So Much Violence against Migrant Women?)

Mexico has laws to protect women. Although abortion is illegal in this Catholic country, the Official Mexican Standard 046, in effect since 2005, stipulates that in case of violation, “the institutions providing health care services must offer immediately and up to a maximum of 120 hours after the event occurred, emergency contraception “and are obliged to” provide medical abortion services ” Yet victims are often denied this right. (Teenage rape victim denied abortion in Mexico after judge rules attack was ‘consensual’ ) What can you expect from officials who claim the high rate of teenage pregnancies are due to “irresponsibility among females and inattention on the part of the heads of families” negating any responsibility of the male half of the equation? (In OECD Mexico no. 1 for teen pregnancies)

The State of Mexico has the most severe penalties for rape, 40 to 70 years in prison. In Quintana Roo the sentences are from 30 to 50 years and in Morelos and from 20 to 25 years. Shorter sentences are found in Coahuila and Durango, with sentences between 3 and 8 years of prison, and in Zacatecas, 4 to 10 years. In Coahuila, rape carries a penalty of 14 to 21 years in prison, but if it is a homicide conviction, sentences are only from 7 to 16 years, leading to an increase of femicides in the area (See Ni Una Mas).(Protocolo de investigación de los delitos de violencia sexual hacia las mujeres, desde la perspectiva de género)  Despite these reforms, only 3 out of every 100 rapists brought to trial are found guilty. (Lo mejor de Animal Político 2016: Solo 3 de cada 100 ataques sexuales en México se castigan)  

Recently, a rapist was found not guilty because he claimed he was not sexually satisfied. (When Rape Culture Meets Impunity In Mexico) Twenty-five of 32 Mexico states do not consider sexual assault of minors a grave offense. (En 25 estados, el abuso sexual infantil es cosa menor; no lo consideran delito grave) Baja California, Campeche, Durango, and Sonora will drop rape charges if the rapist marries his victim. (More Than 1 in 5 Women Are Married Before They’re 18 in Mexico) (Matrimonios y uniones tempranas de ninas)

Mexico is also the leader in child pornography distribution and the second-largest producer of child pornography worldwide.  An estimated 20,000 children in Mexico are victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation each year. There are over 12,300 Mexican internet accounts that provide photographs and videos of children being sexually abused.  Veracruz has the highest incident of this, targeting girls between 11 and 15 years of age.  There is evidence that the governor himself is involved in these transactions, although he has yet to be charged. (12,000 child porn sites identified in MX)(‘Sex brokers’ in Tijuana connect men looking to exploit very young children, FBI says)(Child pornographer link probed in Chapala) (‘How Did I Get Here?’ — A Photographer Captures Women in Mexico’s Brothels)

With statistics like those above, is it any wonder that empowerment movements like Ya No Nos Callamos Mas and Me Too are growing? Perhaps if enough women scream, perhaps if enough women protest, perhaps if enough women insist on their rights to their own body…..but that’s only half the battle.  Rapists, abusers, and child molesters must be held accountable for their actions. And that’s not likely to happen soon, at least not here in Mexico.

Resources for Women in Mexico

Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres (INMUJERES)

Instituto para las Mujeres en la Migración (imumi)

Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center

Resources for Sexual Assault Survivors

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) (En Espanol)

Womenslaw.org

From Surviving to Thriving: Recovery Guide for Survivors of Abuse by Robert Gallagher

The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse by Ellen Bass

Other resources

Men Can Stop Rape

National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center

Communities Against Violence Network (CAVNET)

To the Survivors: One Man’s Journey as a Rape Crisis Counselor with True Stories of Sexual Violence by Robert Uttaro

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The Challenges of Living in Poverty in Mexico

After my Herbal Material Medica and Permacultural courses were finished, I signed up to audit the MIT sponsored online course entitled The Challenges of Global Poverty.  The text for the course was entitled Poor Economics by Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo who were also the instructors.  While I’m not by any means an economist or statistician, I knew enough about statistics to know when something was statistically significant or not but not enough to figure out the more complicated equations.  I managed to slide by with a 75 final grade.

Captura de pantalla (72)

I did learn quite a bit about living in poverty and as a consequence, I was able to look at my life here in rural Mexico with new eyes.  Most of the samples in the class were from rural India, but it was amazing how similar the culture of poverty is throughout the world.

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Here are some of the things I learned and how that information relates to my life here in Mexico:

Many poor are unable to obtain traditional credit or open bank accounts. As a consequence, complicated processes are invented to set aside money needed for future expenses. One method of saving is known as a tanda in this part of Mexico.  A tanda is a group of people that contribute a set amount of money each week or pay check or whatever the time frame has been determined.  Each member is assigned a number.  One member receives all the money each pay period. (See A room of her own–furnishings) It allows the participants to ensure that the money needed for a particular item is available when that expenditure is due.

Personas que deben (People who owe money)

Mentioned in class was the institution of money lenders.  In India, repayment is enforced through public shame and the possibility of sending a eunuch to show his genitals to the delinquent borrower (a form of intimidation).  While Mexico is not known for its eunuchs, shame is a big motivator here as well.  Often lists of people who owe money are posted outside establishments for the entire community to see. 

Many villages in India have a sort of informal lending between families which allows those in need to receive money or assistance with the understanding that it will be paid back in the future. In Mexico, the madrina/padrino (godparents) tradition is a version of this informal lending.  When a family is planning a major event like a baptism, wedding, graduation, quinceanera, etc.,  a variety of extended family or community members are asked to take on the role of godparent.  The so honored are financially responsible for a particular aspect of the event, napkins, shoes, seating rental, mass, etc. This is done with the understanding that at some time in the future, such expense will be repaid by the recipient family in the form of another madrina/padrino setup. (See Chambelan at the church, Chambelan at the party, Secondary Graduation)

Mexico, like India, has a high number of micro businesses.  Often these businesses are run by women.  These are self-limiting businesses.  Time spent on the business is often scheduled around other obligations such as child care or meal preparation.  A larger investment in the business is not feasible because the business is limited by its product or demand.  So each day, the business owner earns just enough to get by, never more. (See Failing at your own Business)

The course mentioned the excellent health care in Mexico.  Perhaps it is excellent in comparison to India, however from personal experience, the health care in Mexico, while affordable, is not magnificent.  (See All Around the Health Care Bush, Mexico’s Seguro Popular) Health care impacts the poor the most since a major illness and/or death of a family member often eliminates any savings the family may have accumulated.  (See Mass and Burial Mexican Style)There is also a tendency to request injections or pills from doctors so doctors prescribe them whether they are needed or not.  Again, very similar to Mexican customs.

I found it interesting that India has a version of curanderos as well.  Since actual medical professionals are beyond the limited means of the poor, sick family members are often brought for prayers and herbal treatments. (See La Curandera).  

The poor find it difficult to save money for several reasons.  One reason is that women, who tend to try to save more often, frequently find their money being appropriated, whether with permission or not, by male family members.  Men are more likely to spend the money on impulse buys and non-essential goods, like alcohol and tobacco.  No comment from the peanut gallery on this startling scientific find on gender bias and spending habits.  

Because of this appropriation of funds and the difficulty of self-denial, cash is often converted into physical goods. Gold jewelry is a common investment that is easily liquidated when the need arises.  Here in Mexico, the US dollar, considered more stable than the pesos, is another way people save.  When the dollar is low, people buy it from the casas de cambio (money exchange places) and then try to time the resale to a period when the peso is low.  Of course, jewelry and cash can be stolen as well. Sometimes the investment is in livestock, although this sort of purchase carries the additional risks of illness or death. And still the very determined can make off with goats lifted over a 6-foot wall. (See Good Fences make Good Neighbors–unless your neighbors steal them,  Where oh where have they gone?)  

The poor sometimes choose to invest in building material instead.  La Yacata is a silent testimony to the hopes and dreams of the poor.  Half-finished homes, foundations poured, rooms open to the sky, just waiting for another small windfall of cash.  (See Building a dream, constructing a life)

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With all these negatives to saving, many poor would rather spend the money while it’s available instead of trying to save towards some future goal.  This is a predominant cultural norm in this area of Mexico and it’s hard to argue against it.  Every month there seems to be a festival or other event where you can spend money. (See Mexican Holidays)  Every business and home have a TV to while away the slow hours.  Homes with no indoor plumbing have 2 or 3 cell phones per family.  The idea is life is hard, might as well enjoy what there is to be had.

Neither the course nor the text provided any real solutions to overcoming poverty.  In fact, there was sort of a general shrugging of shoulders and dismissal–well, we’ll always have the poor.  It was interesting to learn that once an individual or family falls to a certain income level, they are trapped in poverty and it takes an incredible amount of effort (and good luck) to rise to an income level where real progress can be made. For the most part, the poor just don’t have the social contacts, knowledge or investment opportunities to pull themselves up by their bootstraps into wealth.

One of the biggest factors in global poverty was found to be institutional corruption.  In this, there was less hopelessness expressed by the authors.  Small things, such as adding a picture to voting ballots, changed the outcomes and thus the structure.  However, I’m not so sure how much change really can be brought about.  Institutional corruption is pervasive.  It not only encompasses the political arena, but also health care, the environment, and education. (See Mexican educational reform and political wrangling, Politicking, Local Elections)  Those that are affected most are the poor.  Their water is polluted because of corruption.  Their children are not well-educated because of corruption.  Their health suffers and they are unable to receive proper medical attention because of corruption.

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In fact, one study highlighted in the course demonstrated that the type of colonization an area was subjected to affected the living conditions of the people hundreds of years later.  Mexico was unfortunately conquered by the Spaniards who were bound and determined to extract every last bit of wealth from its soil.  The subsequent governing body set up by the Spaniards was established with plunder, not social good, in mind. Thus it remains down to this day. (See Women in Mexican History–La Malinche)

Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to cover all 12 weeks of the course in one blog post. These are the points that stood out to me having first-hand experience in my poverty-stricken life here in Mexico.  All in all, it was just a tad depressing. Not to be deterred,  I’ve signed up for a new course–The Science of Happiness. It certainly promises to be a lighter topic!

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