Category Archives: Safety and Security

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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Paro Nacional de Mujeres

March 9, the day after International Women’s Day, has been declared a Paro Nacional de Mujeres (Women’s Strike) in Mexico in protest against the continued prevalence of femicide and violence against women throughout the country. 

As a permanent resident of Mexico, I am not permitted to join in the numerous protests #ParoNacional that happened yesterday. However, I am showing my support by refraining from working, shopping, or using social media today. (This post has been scheduled in advance.) #UnDiaSinNosotras

Current estimates state that at least 10 women are murdered in Mexico every day. It may be substantially more but men, women and children disappear in this country at an astounding rate. Many times their bodies are never found. And if they are, local Mexican authorities may not have the capability to analyze and identify remains or they aren’t interested in doing so. Impunity is sky high here as well. Fewer than 5% of all criminal activities have a perpetrator that is held accountable. 

I’m not naive enough to believe that one day of outrage is sufficient to change Mexican society overnight. However, perhaps it’s a start.

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Women’s Equality Day

if you are a women

While I sympathize with women in the United States who are fighting to earn the same wage as men, things are a little more complicated south of the border when it comes to equality. Women aren’t just second-class citizens. They aren’t even considered human, but conveniences or even commodities, at times. 

Take a look at these two incidents. 

7 women jailed for refusing to provide dishes for mayor’s party

The mayor of Santa María Alotepec in Oaxaca ordered the arrest of 40 women. The police were only able to round up seven. The reason for the arrest was that the women who worked in the community kitchen refused to loan plates for an event the mayor had planned. The women’s reasoning for not giving him the dishes is that the mayor did not follow proper protocol for using the facility or requesting the dinnerware. So the mayor ordered their arrest instead of requesting a reservation. A bully, through and through who believed his position as mayor (and of course the masculine police force) would make these women submit to his whims. 

The women were only released when the Government Secretariat and Oaxaca Human Rights Commission (DDHPO) intervened. 

What to do when the mayor breaks his promises–dress him as a woman

In the second article, the mayor of  San Andrés Puerto Rico and another official were kidnapped, forced to dress in women’s clothing and set to begging passing motorists for money by residents. This was the third time this mayor was forced into a skirt by his constituents. The residents claim the reason for this humiliation is that he has yet to fulfill his campaign promises to improve the water system in the community.  Apparently, this is a long-standing way to deal with oathbreakers in the area. 

Dressing a man up in women’s clothing strips him of his pants, a representation of his position of honesty, power, and authority. So a liar wears a skirt? 

So how big is the equality gap between men and women in Mexico really?

Yes, women can vote in Mexico. Women have been eligible to vote in elections since 1953, although they were not permitted to exercise that right until 1955. Women have made strides in holding political office in recent years. Over 40% of the Lower House of Congress are women as of 2018. On the other hand, in local government, fewer than 1 / 5 of those that hold the position of mayor are women. 

Yes, women can work in Mexico. Forty-four percent of Mexico’s population is employed females who earn between 14% and 16.5% less than their male counterparts. More than half of the women in Mexico, over ten million women, make less than $6,200 pesos per month. The rights of domestic workers, the majority of whom are women, were upheld in May 2019.  For example, it is now illegal to terminate employment on the basis of pregnancy. 

Yes, women can attend school in Mexico. The elementary and middle schools are free. However, inherent inequality in the school system exists. Classes are taught only in Spanish, placing the speakers of the 68 indigenous dialects in Mexico at a disadvantage. Girls in rural areas of Mexico are less educated than their brothers. Some are forced to leave school early to tend to domestic tasks. Others marry. Mexico has the seventh-highest absolute number of child brides in the world.

Let’s look at some more statistics:

  • More than 66% of women in Mexico over 15 have been a victim of at least one incident of sexual, emotional, physical or economic abuse.
  • Mexico has the 16th highest rate of femicides in the world. 
  • More than 85% of Mexico’s human trafficking victims are female. 
  • Throughout the country, there are more than 700 women imprisoned because of a miscarriage or stillbirth. Abortion is illegal in every state except Mexico City and yet birth control is unavailable for large sections of the population.  
  • Women are pressured to have cesarean sections rather than give birth naturally. Mexico now has more than a 45% c-section birth rate as compared to 12% in 1987, making it the 6th highest in the world. 

Women are systematically denied control over their own body and finances. They are even accused of contributing to their own murders in Mexico. Impunity is the byword here. No one is held accountable for their actions–unless they are women who deny the mayor some plates. Then by golly, let’s round them up and teach them a lesson. 

Even though calladita se ve más bonita (a silent woman looks prettier–a common Mexican saying), the truth is pretty ugly when it comes to equality for women in Mexico.

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