Things That Matter

A 74-Year-Old Man Works For Uber Eats In Mexico City And People Are Asking Why He Isn’t Enjoying Retirement

Someone once said that you can tell a lot about society by the way it treats its senior citizens. In Mexico, older people are generally respected on a family and social level, but are often left for their own devices in financial terms. It is common to see people well into their 70s and even their 80s working to make ends meet. For them, retirement is like a dream that will never be realized, and everyday life is a constant struggle. This is certainly the case for many older citizens living in Mexico City. As the megalopolis grows and swallows small towns and cities with it, work opportunities become centralized in the capital and people, regardless of their age or health status, are forced to commute and work in CDMX. 

Such is the case of this man. 

Francisco Sánchez is a man in his seventies who commutes from Ecatepec to Mexico City to be part of the gig economy.

Credit: 24 Horas Diario Sin Limites

Ecatepec is a marginalized area in the State of Mexico, the most populated state in the country and one of the most challenging in terms of security and poverty. Francisco was spotted by social media user Edgar Tequianes, in the Zona Rosa area of Mexico City. Francisco collects orders from restaurants located in the high end shopping mall Reforma 222, and delivers them on foot to the apartments and offices in the area, one of the busiest business hubs in the Mexican capital city. 

He has become part of the digital gig economy at an unlikely age.

The photograph of Don Francisco using his mobile phone has made the rounds in social media, and people are praising him for remaining active and productive at an advanced age. In a day and age where ageism is prevalent (those over 60s tend to be considered useless by society, particularly by businesses) it is encouraging to see someone like this man. Social media users have asked others to be patient with Don Francisco and to give him a good tip when he delivers orders. 

Facebook user Mariana Santos has become his fiercest advocate 🙂

Mariana Santos has had some chats with Don Francisco, and she has discovered that he is also a swimming teacher. He told her that he gets lost sometimes. Mariana, who has gotten orders delivered by him, says that he is a gentleman and has a positive attitude. 

It all seems great… but is this OK?

Conditions for older citizens in Mexico are dire. A recent study by the National University states that poverty and loneliness are the biggest challenges they face. Recent data also suggests that 49% of older adults in Mexico live with $600 pesos or less a month. That translates into roughly 35 dollars. Yes. You read that right.

And also, the gig economy deja mucho que desear when it comes to workers’ rights.

Yes, companies such as Uber Eats give people more opportunities to make money and get a job when facing unemployment or when wanting to get an extra bit of cash. However, they are pushing the labor force into casualization, which means that instead of being employees with full benefits and social security (in Mexico, for example, your employer needs to pay a contribution to the national health system, IMSS, for you to be fully covered), they are casual workers with no benefits. Added to this, companies such as Uber and its many branches take a cut that can reach up to 25% of earnings.

Working for a gig economy company also means that you need to report it to the tax authorities, which take a further percentage. People like Francisco end up with about 30% of the cut, which is far from ideal. The problem with the gig economy is that it is not a complement to the workforce, but rather a model that is being spread into various industries. This will likely create a precarious workforce that will face even more overwhelming challenges when they reach retirement age and have no savings and no pension.  

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A University Is Releasing A Historic Mexican Cookbook Filled With Recipes You’d Want To Try

Culture

A University Is Releasing A Historic Mexican Cookbook Filled With Recipes You’d Want To Try

UTSA

The University of Texas San Antonio is bringing the history of Mexico into our kitchens. The university is releasing cookbooks that are collections of historic Mexican recipes. Right now, the desserts book is out and online for free. Main dishes and appetizers/drinks are coming soon.

You can now taste historic Mexico thanks to the University of Texas San Antonio.

UTSA has had an ongoing project of preserving, collecting, and digitizing cookbooks from throughout Mexico’s history. Some books date back to the 1700s and offer a look into Mexico’s culinary arts and its evolution.

UTSA has been digitizing Mexican cookbooks for years and the work is now being collected for people in the time of Covid.

Millions of us are still at home and projects like these can be very exciting and exactly what you need. The recipes are a way to distract yourself from the current reality.

“The e-pubs allow home cooks to use the recipes as inspiration in their own kitchens,” Dean Hendrix, the dean of UTSA Libraries, said in UTSA Today. “Our hope is that many more people will not only have access to these wonderful recipes but also interact with them and experience the rich culture and history contained in the collection.”

The free downloads are a way for people to get a very in-depth look into Mexican food history.

The first of three volumes of the cookbooks focuses on desserts so you can learn how to make churros, chestnut flan, buñelos, and rice pudding. What better way to spend your quarantine than learning how to make some of these yummy desserts. We all love sweets, right?

If you want to get better with making your favorite desserts, check out this cookbook and make it happen.

There is nothing better than diving into your history and using food as your guide. Food is so intrinsically engrained in our DNAs and identities. We love the foods and sweets from our childhood because they hold a clue as to who we are and where we come from. This historical collection of recipes throughout history is the perfect way to make that happen.

READ: The Laziest Food Hacks In All Of The Land Would Send Your Abuela To The Chancla

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Instead Of Celebrating Her Quince, This Teen Donated It All To Help Victims Of Covid-19

Things That Matter

Instead Of Celebrating Her Quince, This Teen Donated It All To Help Victims Of Covid-19

JiromyXool / Facebook

Few days are as important or as celebrated as a teenager’s 15th birthday. So imagine the level of selflessness one must have to be able to say ‘no, I don’t want any of the celebration, I rather help out my community.’

Well, one teen in Merida, Mexico did just that this week when she told her family ‘thanks, but no thanks’ to her big quince and instead used the money that had been raised for her special day to help out her neighbors who have been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Her party was canceled thanks to Coronavirus, so she decided to help out those less fortunate.

In many countries across Latin America, the quinceañera is a huge milestone for teenagers. Beautiful dresses, visits from the entire family, big parties, and the best gifts are the norm at most quinces. But for 15-year-old Jiromy Xool Pech, instead of spending money on a lavish birthday celebration, she opted to use her party funds to help feed the needy.

Jiromy and her family had long planned her quinceañera – she had been looking forward to it for years. But with the pandemic hitting her community in Mérida particularly hard, the teen decided to put the party aside and use everything that had been invested in the ceremony to help her neighbors who have been impacted by the pandemic.

“Instead of partying, I prefer to give food to people, to help them with that,” Jiromy told El Universal. Jiromy not only asked to donate the money for her quince to the community, but she was also out there helping distribute the food to her neighbors.

Jiromy and her family weren’t alone in helping out the community either. Much of the food that was given out was prepared from by neighbors and local businesses that came to join Jiromy’s cause once word began to spread.

Unfortunately, many quinceañeras have been canceled or postponed thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Credit: Diego Sanchez / Getty Images

One of Mexico City’s most famous markets for buying quince dresses – el Mercado Lagunilla – has been closed for three months. This ins’t just hating a major impact on dressmakers and salespeople, but it also means that young teens aren’t able to buy the dresses to celebrate their big day.

But not all is completely lost: there are those who have begun to return, like Ximena González, who came with her family to try on dresses. Her quince was scheduled for May 16, but the pandemic changed everything, and now they expect it to take place in November.

“I was scared and upset but I had to accept it. Some friends can no longer go because they are moving,” she told El Universal. She added, “I hope that when it is my party the infections have gone down and that everything is done as if nothing had happened.”

Mexico has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, including Jiromy’s hometown of Merida.

Jiromy’s selfless act to help her community comes as Mexico continues to see record breaking numbers of cases. Tens of thousands are dying and even more are losing their jobs and being forced back into poverty.

As of August 6, Mexico has more than 456,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 49,698 people have died from the virus. In Jiromy’s state of Yucatan, there have been more than 10,000 cases of the virus and it’s had a huge impact on tourism, which is a major economic force in the state. Therefore, it makes sense that the 15-year-old thought it was important to use the money raised for her party to help those who are suffering financially.

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