Category Archives: Guest Blogger Adventures

How to find a Midwife in Mexico

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In Mexico, there are three types of midwives, depending on their educational background. There are about 15,000 traditional midwives, who are empirical in their knowledge. Their knowledge varies from midwife to midwife. They have knowledge of the herbs and cultural birth customs. Many have been trained by the government, and use medical techniques that are outdated. There are nurse midwives who have a more updated medical knowledge, however, have trained in a deficient system. Many do not have a lot of practice for home births. Then there are technical midwives who have trained in the midwifery model of care. They are respectful of traditional practices and updated in medical techniques. Many are still young and just graduating. Also, there are foreign midwives living in Mexico and fighting for homebirth and humanized births.

To choose a midwife it would be really wise to ask her a lot of detailed questions, on how long she has been working, where she trained, who her network of health providers are. In case of emergency what would happen. How many clients she has approximately a month

Midwives have supported women through centuries in many states. Only 2 presidents ago, the government launched a campaign to institutionalize all births and many midwives were affected by this marginalization. However, today the government is realizing that this has not reduced maternal mortality significantly or does it satisfy the women. There is a lot of obstetric violence in the hospitals and the government is reopening a dialogue on how to reinstate their work.

For more information contact Sabrina Speich at Movimiento Osa Mayor or Osa Mayor Mexico.

 

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Guest Post –Candid video captures Mexico’s raw street life

Recently I was contacted by Darrel Trueman. He shared his video with me, which I found humorous and true to life. So today I’d like to share this video and a little bit form Darrel. 

Television producer Darrel Trueman never imagined he’d shoot a short film using only a smartphone.

The result is ‘Mexico and Me’, a quick-paced montage that’s been widely shared on social media. It captures the exuberance and raw energy of life in a Mexican town—life outside a gated community, that is.

“All this amazing action was taking place on the street right below me,” said Mr. Trueman, who was living in a rental apartment on Calle Libertad in San Antonio Tlayacapan, Jalisco.

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“Mexico and me” captures an eccentric street in small town Mexico

“Up until that point I hadn’t intended to film anything in Mexico. I was just enjoying spending time with my retired parents, Sid and Terry.

“I was also taking time to edit a reality series that I had shot in Australia for network TV. Nevertheless, whenever there was something happening on my street, I’d grab my smartphone, hit record, and step onto my balcony to shoot the action.”

“I’m glad so many people like the film and have posted positive comments. Making it has helped me realize there are interesting stories everywhere,” said Mr. Trueman. “And also that I need to find a quieter place to live next time I’m there.”

“Speaking of which, in early 2019 I’ll be back, looking for people with an engaging story that can be developed into a reality TV series.” For more information contact me below,

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A Day in the Life in rural Mexico State

Daisy shares a day in the life in a small town in the state of Mexico.

What is my typical day like? Well, it starts off pretty early in the morning, as I regularly get up around 4:30 am to teach Chinese students online. There are a million companies out there, some needing a degree, some not, but most paying between 15 and 25 dollars an hour. I am lucky enough (or unluckily enough, since those student loan payments are still a burden) to have a BA, but in addition, I got my TEFL off of Groupon for 39 dollars. I haven’t had it turned down once since most companies just want to be able to tell students (and their parents) that the teachers have a piece of paper.

But wait! What about me? Well, I have been living in rural Estado de Mexico–central highlands, altitude 8000 feet where I often wear sweaters in my house even in summer-close to Mexico City but quite countrified–for the last 8 years. My husband is Mexican and my two children (8 and 3) were born here. I never had a plan to move to Mexico but once life circumstances put me here, it was like I was made for it!

Compared to the families around me (a good proportion of whom I am related to by marriage) you might say my husband and I are a bit unconventional. I work from home, online teaching and WordPress support, while he is in charge of the kids. Since schools have a nasty habit of informing the parents the day before of some vital meeting or big project due, it’s nice to have someone not working. Plus, he made such a small amount of money for the long hours he worked, I worked really hard to convince him to leave his job and just do side projects when he was bored. It’s not always easy on his self-esteem since it he is the only stay at home dad most people have seen before, and it goes against the strictly defined gender roles of the area, but it works for us.

Working online has enabled me to really add to our creature comforts. There is nothing like the satisfaction of a hot shower, after taking bucket baths for several years. I used a contraption like this to heat our water; basically, electric coils wrapped around a block of wood. It is the same concept used to heat up water in an electric kettle, but it was a shock when I first saw it. It’s totally safe, you just have to remember to NEVER test the water by touching it!

As I mentioned, I get up early, work a few hours with the Chinese schools, then do some hours with another online ESL company that has daytime hours.. I try to not work from 12 to 3, since that is the main meal time in Mexico. I cook while he goes and picks up the kids. Then after we eat our main meal, I go back to work while he helps with homework and coaches his soccer teams. We don’t eat any processed foods, and I buy all our vegetables, meat, and fruit and local mercados (markets) or shops, not in the grocery store. It just seems fresher to me, and I like buying from the exact same person I have been buying from for the last 8 years, and knowing I am supporting that individual instead of a corporation.

If it is the weekend, you might catch us at a party that we can fully enjoy, knowing we helped pay for it. Cooperation is still alive and functioning in my area, where there is a great big circle of party love going around and around. I am proud to be asked to be the madrina (godmother) of the bouncy gym, tents, etc since these same people did the same for me when I had my daughter’s tres años presentation (3-year-old presentation). I only paid for the food!–which was still a lot, considering it was for 300 people! I know that some people have not had good luck with this sort of setup, but it works very well where I live–and I really think it strengthens the ties that bind the community together. When it works, it is a great deal–entertainment for the whole family, food, and drinks, for about 1500 pesos–the same amount you might spend at a semi fancy restaurant. I still consider myself lucky I landed in an area where people dance cumbia instead of grupero or norteño.

I often rage on expat pages because of their ignorance of how difficult life is for average Mexicans. I think that they have a Pollyannish attitude about corruption and crime, such as murders and kidnappings that can fall heavily on rural areas, but which don’t usually affect expats living in tourist areas.  Even though I am lucky enough not to live in a narco area, my house has been broken into several times here, and we have a big problem with assaults on buses. If you are a woman in an abusive relationship….good luck. I have seen several cases where the police refused to file charges, even with physical evidence of abuse. I think the issue is the impunity. Hardly any crimes are solved here, and people don’t feel they can rely on the police to help them. That is the big difference to me.  I think what happens with the Pollyanna folks that if you have everyone asking you constantly why you would go to such a dangerous place, you want to defend Mexico’s honor but if you are here, you want to defend the people who are suffering and not getting help from their government. Having said all that though, I feel quite safe and  I love that my children can play outside in a great big mob of 20 cousins with no supervision; I love that they can explore their independence by walking to the store alone (well, with 5 cousins in tow). Yes, we have tablets and TV, but the majority of their time is spent outside playing, which lines up perfectly with my beliefs about how to raise emotionally resilient and communicative children.

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A Day in the Life in Mérida

Geneva, who writes the monthly series Southern Comfort Food Mexican Style, shares her daily life in Mérida, Yucatan. 

What is an ordinary day? A day in the life of any human being should never be ordinary, for every breath is precious, every moment is valuable.

My daily routine looks a lot like that of any other work at home wife.  We wake up, have coffee, maybe have breakfast, do a few chores around the house. He goes to work and I go to work on the computer. I do a few more household chores. At the end of our workday, we have dinner, read, check social media, sometimes watch a movie. Sounds pretty normal, right?  

Early morning has always been my favorite part of the day. I love sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch, drinking a hot cup of coffee in the cool of the day while it’s quiet before the rest of the world wakes. We are both very early risers, waking usually between 4:00am and 5:00am with no alarm clock. In fact, I can’t remember the last time we used an alarm clock. So, our schedule is very different from most of the people we know, many of whom are getting ready to go out for dinner about the time we are going to bed.

But it’s our household chores which stand out as being different from the chores we did in the states. Twice a week, we start laundry by 6:00am so it has the best chance to dry on the clothesline before afternoon rains.  We have had the rains surprise us and we wound up with a full load of laundry laying in the mud twice, so the earlier the better. My husband runs a garden hose from the kitchen faucet to the washing machine so that it fills faster, time being of the essence and all.

After breakfast, I wash all the countertops with soapy water and spray a vinegar/baking soda mix around the window ledges and baseboards to discourage ants, and my husband mops the floor. This is the tropics, and insects are a part of life, so these practices are necessary. Fortunately, most creatures prefer to live outside, like termites, snakes, scorpions, cockroaches, and iguanas. On the other hand, ants live in the walls and the electrical systems so they can visit us any time they like.

 

Twice a month, my countertop becomes a high school science lab slash cocktail party for ants.  I whip up treats for my little friends. The key ingredient is boric acid, which when eaten by the ants, will kill them. Unfortunately, they can be a little picky.  So, I mix boric acid with a little flour for my bread loving ants and add a few drops of milk to part of it so that I have both wet and dry bait on each piece of cardboard. The worker ants eat the dry food and take dry food to the other workers, so the dry food is always popular. The wet food is carried to and fed to the larvae, which produce the food for the queen.

After a couple of applications, we noticed a huge reduction in the number of ants, but we continue treatments for prevention sake.  I do variations for different ants, peanut butter for the protein-loving ants, and soggy cardboard for my cellulose loving ants. At the same time the bait is out, I treat all my wooden furniture with orange oil, which I also distilled myself.  

As with all things, what one becomes accustomed to is what seems normal, so this routine feels quite normal to me, and I’d much rather do this every few weeks than spray harsh chemicals in my home, especially in my kitchen.  But I hope that even this routine never becomes ordinary, even in an ordinary-seeming day.

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