I didn’t expect to feel so out of my comfort zone moving here. After all, I spent 10 weeks in Mexico last year and everything was great. I have had 2 big moves in the past where I’ve had to start again and build a new life but this doesn’t even compare.
Everywhere I look I am surrounded by poverty. I am living in a small Mexican Village (which the Mexicans, call a Ranch.) The town has less than 4000 people in it. There are no grocery stores, no large chain clothing stores or restaurants. The streets are made of broken cobblestone and have a thick layer of dust that covers them. The trees up here in the mountain are beautiful, but are painted gray with dirt from the wind and trucks passing by. Everything is dry. Dry, and hot.
The houses are made of brick and are cemented. Most houses have cracks and are all chipping, partly because of the many storms in the summer months, but also a lack of maintenance. The houses don’t have windows, they are mostly only barred. Most houses don’t have a solid roof, they have a curvy tin slab that comes down but leaves an opening all along the top. I would imagine this would leave for some severe flooding in the summer months when the rain is plenty.
The house flooring is made of cement. Forget the hardwood or linoleum flooring here, it’s few and far between. The walls in the houses are white, but covered brown from the dust sweeping through the front doors.
The kitchen’s consists of very deep cement sinks. Near the cooking area, you will see many tiny ants trying to find their next crumb. You can also be sure you will be swatting flies from your face.
When I look around me, it reminds me of the World Vision videos that you see on TV. The poverty, the dirt, the lack of money for food, the kids running around in barefeet. The only difference from those videos is that the Mexican people are happy. They are happy to work at 110% 6 days per week for only 50 pesos per day. (The equivalent of $5.00 US Dollars.) They are very much a community, and always helping each other.
In a way, it feels like I am going back in time. It feels like the “olden days.” A lot of people get around by horseback here in the ranch. There is a truck that comes around down every street daily and through loud speakers asks if you need Gas. Most appliances here are all ran off of propane. There are people that come around to every door trying to sell fruit or vegetables. A water truck passes by with huge bottles of purified water, juice, and pop. Today, I saw an old Mexican man who had a small freezer on wheels. Attached to the wheel was a little bell. Everytime the wheels turned, the small bell sounded. He was selling ice cream. So different from our “ice cream trucks.” There is no music, only a simple bell to let the kids know that treats are coming.
Life here is simple. It allows me to feel blessed that I am Canadian and have an abundance of things to do back at home. Health care back at home has never been so amazing. To walk into a doctor’s office and leave without a huge bill is incredible all in itself. To have a surgery or other procedure and not pay, is something else. I realize we do pay through taxes and our BC Medical however most Mexicans do as well, but still need to pay for doctor’s visits and procedures.
Living here makes me feel blessed, but also makes me feel extremely sad. The Canadian people (including myself) are so superficial. We always need something to be entertained; the latest technology, movie, or car… anything to keep us from sitting with our own thoughts. We live in a country where everything is clean and beautiful. Yet, if you look around you — hardly anyone is content. Everyone is searching for their next “high.” Not many are truly happy.
I wonder if it’s possible to live in a beautiful country like Canada, and be as happy, generous and loving as a Mexican? “Stuff” keeps us wanting more, technology keeps us entertained, and money is the root of all evil. I don’t think it’s possible, but it sure would be nice…