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Snapshot of Mexico – Spanish is the official language of Mexico. Mexico is an ethnically diverse country, with many people being descendents from both indigenous groups and European immigrants, though the southern part of the country has significantly higher levels of indigenous peoples than other areas. These southern and central regions are also home to several indigenous languages, such as Nahuatl and Yukatek Maya. Over 80% of Mexico’s population belongs to the Roman Catholic church, with attendance rates at about 47%. Many Mexican towns and cities have their own patron saints, which are celebrated with yearly feasts. Both Spanish and indigenous influences can be seen in art, architecture, and music. Mariachi performing groups (bands using singers, guitars, trumpets, and other instruments) regularly perform at festivals and restaurants, and many folk dances and traditional music are still practiced. Rock, pop, and other music styles such as norteña and ranchera are popular today. Soccer is the most popular sport in Mexico, though baseball is also popular. Lucha libre wrestling is also a popular event. Mexican cuisine is based on the staples of corn, beans, and chili peppers, often used with meat, cheese, and other herbs and spices. Traditionally, the main meal is eaten during the afternoon. A soup is served first, followed by a meat dish with sauce and salsa, along with tortillas and beans. Street vendors are also quite popular, selling tacos, quesadillas, tortas, roasted chicken, and other dishes. Bacon-wrapped hot dogs are another popular street vendor food. Cuisine varies in different regions, with flour tortillas, burritos, cheese, and beef being more popular in the north, while tropical fruits and tamales are more commonly used in southern cooking. Seafood, morisqueta (a sausage and rice meal), and carnitas (deep-fried pork) are more commonly eaten in western Mexico.
The church is in its early stages of development and has branches and wards all over the land. There are still many smaller towns that do not have missionaries dedicated to preaching. However, there probably aren’t too many parts where missionaries have not been. The people are humble and willingly accept the Savior through baptism in the restored church. There are a fair number of less active members and a need for leadership as the Church continues to grow.
The food is some of the most authentic and delicious around. There are tamales of all sorts, Street tacos, Burritos, Enchiladas, Rice and beans. Some common and maybe even unique items from the area include Posol which is a drink that is rich in protein because of the various nuts that are cut up and put into it. It is a thick drink and common to Chiapas. In Oaxaca a common food is the Tlayuda. It is similar to a quesadilla but with a harder shell. Most all meals are accompanied with fresh corn tortillas which are bought from the local tortilleria. Iguana, cow stomach and liver are also common foods eaten in southern Mexico.
Most people use public transportation which include large 20-30 passenger busses and 10-15 passenger vans. There are also plenty of Taxis wherever you go.
Generally if you travel in pairs or groups there isn’t much danger. The most insecure one may feel is if you are at the wrong place at the wrong time. The drunk people walking around might cause some disturbance, but tend to keep to themselves and only ask for money occasionally.
El dia de guadalupe or the the day of the virgin guadalupe is usually accompanied by a week of celebration. Semana Santa. You might think that it is the perfect time to preach the gospel to people but in reality it is one of the hardest. Be prepared to get creative during these times or have good locked in lessons beforehand. There are usually big parties and no one is home. There are certain areas of town where parades will be going on and drinking will be the norm.
Parriba- short for para arriba or “for above”.
Handkerchief to wipe the sweat.
Apartado Postal 278
29000 Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas
What did you eat the most of? Eggs, Rice, Beans, Chicken, and tortillas.
What is the craziest thing you ate? I ate the nerve of a cows knee, iguana, iguana eggs, and dried grasshoppers
What was most surprising about the culture? The poverty and yet the happiness they had. Sometimes families would have kids running around all over the place.
What advice would you give to someone going to this Mission? I would tell them not to judge a person by the way they look. Be ready to walk a lot and make sure you drink lots of water! The people there are wonderful and are waiting to hear the Gospel.
What do you wish you had known before you served? I wish I had known to deal better with companions who were not as motivated as I was to teach the gospel.
**Did you serve in the Mexico Tuxtla Gutierrez Mission? If so we would love to hear your advice and your stories! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org**