Mariposa´s Restaurant and Poverty in Mexico


Mariposa´s restaurant has been open exactly one month today. Her partner now has a job at Pemex pumping gas but strangely enough has no key to come and go from our property. They made enough money to pay the rent this month plus a little. The lovely young lady who works for her is 17 years old and earns 80 pesos a day plus tips which she must share with Mariposa. Tips are supposed to be for the waitress! Today Elli showed up for work hungry and fainted because she had not eaten. Mariposa won´t let her eat until noon. Elli lacks energy and speed because she is starving.Elli lives in a tiny shambles of a room half a block from our house. The cramped space is shared with her parents, twin sister and younger sister. Her father is out of work. Her brother who suffers from epilepsy lives 2 hours away so that he can train as a mechanic.

Mariposa lives at our property rent free, electricity and water included . She can not find the time to do the chores she agreed to when she moved in. Is there something wrong woth this picture? I think so. She promised me she would keep my house nice and clean but on her first visit could not follow instructions and started ‘clearing’ things out which weren´t hers to clear nor requested by me. Interesting! I had wondered if her saying would be equal to her ability to doing. Not so. I kept my wonderful cleaning lady Izzie just in case things didn´t happen quite how Mariposa promised.

The restaurant is doing so so although I always worry about someone cooking for me that is willing to cut corners. Maybe things don´t get cleaned as they should be there, either but who would ever know? Only once you get the abdominal cramps and all that goes  with it do you find out how clean things really are.

The hours at the restaurant Las Brisas in Mezcales are in a state of constant change a bit like the rest of Mariposa´s life. She started 7 days a week 8.00 am to 10.00 pm.Now it is 7 days a week but the hours are different until 4 or 5 maybe but she lacks regular routine so it is really hard to say what the hours will be. It is tough to recommend the place too to friends when times are variable. In life regular routine wins the day. Working 6 slighter longer days a week with a rest day would be more productive but Mariposa doesn´t understand and can´t be told.

I wish her the best of course but with a little more discipline in her life she would do so much better. She complains that Elli is slow about doing her work. Starving people can only feel the hunger pains in their stomach. Feed the kid for heaven´s sake she is working in a restaurant!

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About Charlotte Ortega

I am a family physician and writer.I am an active member of the Puerto Vallarta Writers Group and I am coordinating this years International Writers Conference to be held in March in association with Los Mangos Library.Winters are spent in Mexico to escape the cold and the summers in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I am British born but have not lived in the U.K. since 1997. My blog is intended to inform would be travellers and those who view Mexico as a preferred retirement destination on every aspect of living in Mexico, the good and the other...My husband Humberto is Mexican and is a font of knowlege on the diverse cultural and social nuances which exist in this vibrant and colourful country.
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