The Women of Los Remedios Ejido
By Hilary and Spencer, Blake School

In Los Remedios, women carry many responsibilities, many of which can be draining and strenuous. As we approached Carmen's house, we encountered two roosters, a chicken, and two scrawny cows. We crossed under the barbed wire clothes line and the cocks and chickens scurried around the large outdoor bread oven. The dust settled as we entered.

Each morning, Carmen gets up at 6:00 am to start the fire and make tortillas. Her family consumes seventy tortillas a day! Every three days, Carmen must go to the corn grinder for her tortilla dough. At the mill, the ladies combine their corn so as to save electricity. Electricity has only been available since 1991.

Carmen had two stoves, for she needed to use wood for cooking as well as propane gas since gas is too expensive to use on a regular basis. With her children she collects firewood from the hills, carrying it back in bundles on their backs. She needs to be thrifty with her family's income; Carmen can only spend 30 pesos a week on her 8 member family. Their farm grows mostly corn and beans, which are the staples for her family. All other food products must be bought at the market (lentils, rice, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, fruit, etc.). In a good week, her family would be able to eat meat with two meals.

Journaling Questions

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  • If Carmen's family spends 30 pesos per week, how many dollars do they spend?
  • Since there are 8 people in the family, how many dollars is this per person per week?