Life in Rural Mexico: Lessons
from a Cultural Immersion Experience
        Jenny Erickson, Sauk County UWEX
This is NOT the Mexico we visited!
This is the
 Mexico we visited.
www.puentesbridges.org/
This is the story of
  my experience.
Mexico
Two Worlds
The Farmer’s Story
 WI   farmers needed additional workers
 Hesitant to hire Mexican employees
   at first
 Employees p...
The Mexican’s Story
   Difficult to make a
    living in Mexico.
   Benefits of working in
    the US are obvious.
   W...
Long Term Impacts
Some investment in infrastructure
Patrone
 Father  figure
 Usually a man

 Upper middle class

 The person who distributes the pay

 Someone you have t...
Expectations of a Patrone
 Mexican employees expect to work
 hard, but they expect help, protection
 and support when the...
Buena Vista
Crossing the Border
 Cost about $5,000 to $8,000 dollars
 Borrow money from community members
 Hire a “coyote” or smugg...
Crossing the Border
 Main   causes of death at the border:
  –   Hypothermia
  –   Dehydration
  –   Sun stroke
  –   Sti...
Unauthorized Immigrant Population
 11,550,000 unauthorized immigrants
 residing in US (arrived 1980-2006)
  –   8.4 milli...
Duel Identity
 InMexico these
 employees are seen
 as as providers,
 responsible and
 hardworking

 InUS they are
 seen ...
Remittances




$23.1 billion in remittances to Mexico in 2006
Summary
 Impact  of US
  dollars on Mexico
  was prevalent
 Many opportunities
  for cultural
  miscommunication
 Mexic...
Questions?
Mexico Cultural Immersion Experience
Mexico Cultural Immersion Experience
Mexico Cultural Immersion Experience
Mexico Cultural Immersion Experience
Mexico Cultural Immersion Experience
Mexico Cultural Immersion Experience
Mexico Cultural Immersion Experience
Mexico Cultural Immersion Experience
Mexico Cultural Immersion Experience
Mexico Cultural Immersion Experience
Mexico Cultural Immersion Experience
Mexico Cultural Immersion Experience
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Mexico Cultural Immersion Experience

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In 2007 I traveled to rural Mexico with the Puentes/Bridges Program. In February 2008 I shared my experience at a Southern Wisconsin Rural Imigration Summit.

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Mexico Cultural Immersion Experience

  1. 1. Life in Rural Mexico: Lessons from a Cultural Immersion Experience Jenny Erickson, Sauk County UWEX
  2. 2. This is NOT the Mexico we visited!
  3. 3. This is the Mexico we visited.
  4. 4. www.puentesbridges.org/
  5. 5. This is the story of my experience.
  6. 6. Mexico
  7. 7. Two Worlds
  8. 8. The Farmer’s Story  WI farmers needed additional workers  Hesitant to hire Mexican employees at first  Employees provide documentation  Pay is $10/hour  Now farms rely on Mexican employees Hispanics made up about 40% of all U.S. agricultural workers in 2005. (Census Bureau)
  9. 9. The Mexican’s Story  Difficult to make a living in Mexico.  Benefits of working in the US are obvious.  Workers typically want to return to Mexico  Becoming more difficult to cross the border  More likely to move family to the US
  10. 10. Long Term Impacts Some investment in infrastructure
  11. 11. Patrone  Father figure  Usually a man  Upper middle class  The person who distributes the pay  Someone you have to “obey”
  12. 12. Expectations of a Patrone  Mexican employees expect to work hard, but they expect help, protection and support when they need it. – Attend family gatherings if invited – Take employee to the doctor – If necessary, help employee get out of trouble
  13. 13. Buena Vista
  14. 14. Crossing the Border  Cost about $5,000 to $8,000 dollars  Borrow money from community members  Hire a “coyote” or smuggler to get across the border  Nearly 500 die crossing the border each year  Expected to help the next person
  15. 15. Crossing the Border  Main causes of death at the border: – Hypothermia – Dehydration – Sun stroke – Stinging by poisonous insects – Drowning – Car Accidents – Homicide US Border Patrol Statistics
  16. 16. Unauthorized Immigrant Population  11,550,000 unauthorized immigrants residing in US (arrived 1980-2006) – 8.4 million from North America – 1.4 million from Asia – 1.0 million from South America – 0.5 million from Europe Department of Homeland Security
  17. 17. Duel Identity  InMexico these employees are seen as as providers, responsible and hardworking  InUS they are seen as illegal. Salgado de Synder, 1996
  18. 18. Remittances $23.1 billion in remittances to Mexico in 2006
  19. 19. Summary  Impact of US dollars on Mexico was prevalent  Many opportunities for cultural miscommunication  Mexican people were outstanding
  20. 20. Questions?
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