Profiling Tepehua

By Moonyeen King
President of the Board for Tepehua
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Tepehua 1


In the Tepehua Peoples Clinic, we see a lot of cases that we cannot help that have to be referred to the hospitals in Guadalajara for specialized treatments. Tragic cases that have no happy endings. One such case came to us for financial help.  A family member went to the Free Hospital with cancer.  After numerous testing and machines, the cost was $6,500 pesos, and then the follow up will be $500 a week until further notice. The same with kidney dialysis. People under the poverty line cannot afford the help they need between the time of diagnosis and the time of death. Or a young mother with a schizophrenic son whose medication every week costs their weeks´ wages for the rest of his life.

Clinics like Tepehua can only deal with short term illnesses. If it is a life and death situation, we cannot guarantee a continuation of treatment because we cannot guarantee financial donations for medicine. We are consultants.

Although Mexico is trying to block its border to the South against migrants coming through from Guatemala, El Salvdor and Honduras on a journey full of peril to the North,  the southern border is very weak and migrants are coming across easily. The abuse and sickness they endure fill the emergency rooms of the hospitals on the way (especially Guadalajara). The recent Volcanic tragedy in Guatemala suggests the ranks of migrants will swell. (You may have seen the new beggars on the Lakeside streets...especially in Chapala. They are migrants en-route to Guadalajara or they come to Chapala from Guadalajara for easier pickings, but are heading North).

All this puts a huge burden on hospitals in constant financial crisis with long waiting lines and limited beds. Although this writer complains about lack of welfare for the poor, what can hospitals and clinics do with very little support from the Government?

IMSS and Seguro Popular are mandatory for Mexico’s employees. They are excellent programs,  but they are over worked. A family member has to be your primary nurse if you are hospitalized. What if you are not employed? You are uninsured casual labour, and you cannot afford the pesos per year for this insurance.

International Living reports Mexican prescription drugs are “silly cheap” for expats. Certainly not for the Mexican who lives on or below the poverty line which is approximately two dollars a day.

Unfortunately, clinics and other professionals who are trying to bring help to the barrios know that sooner or later money runs out, and as sustainability is essential, what is the answer?  The realization that nothing can be free. Unless some balance in society is worked out, some way we all carry the responsibility of our environment and neighbor with the knowledge that if most of us fail all of us fail. We are not all rocket scientists but we all have a level of achievement we can be comfortable with. This can only happen with education...then the choice of failure is personal...yours.

Someone on face book commented something to the effect “Mexico, when you have fixed your South Border, fix the North border too”.  Don’t do that, we need each other.

Take the wall down.





Column: Profiling Tepehua




Settled in Mexico 13 years ago.  The intention was to retire into the arts as a writer, poet and painter...that didn’t happen. Beneath the smiles of the peoples of Mexico there was such a great need for change, especially for the women and children of the barrios, Moonyeen has dedicated these years to change the face of this little corner of the world. The work done by the volunteers of the Tepehua Community Center is teaching that change is possible anywhere. Moonyeen was portrayed as “Woman of the Year,” also two Paul Harris Rotary awards for the work done at Tepehua.  “Life in Mexico is very fulfilling. The Mexican people give so much more to us immigrants than we can possible return.


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Profiling TepehuaPart One By Moonyeen King   The barrio of Tepehua is just West of Chapala. One of five barrio’s, each as poor as the other.
Profiling Tepehua Part Two By Moonyeen King   Indigence: a level of poverty in which real hardship and deprivation are suffered, and comforts
Profiling Tepehua By Moonyeen King Part III     Maternal Mortality in Mexico has an Indigenous face. Official statistics demonstrate Indigenous
Profiling Tepehua By Moonyeen King Part Four   “The Church has always maintained the Historic Teaching that deliberate acts of contraceptives
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