temoaya AT A GLANCE

THE COUNTRY

Where is Mexico? Mexico is located in the northern region of the American continent between the Gulf of Mexico on the east and the Pacific Ocean on the west. It is bordered by the United States on the north and by Guatemala and Belize on the south. Mexico’s land area extends 1,964,375 square kilometers.

capital 

Mexico City, the oldest metropolis on the American continent, is perched atop a highland valley at about 7,392 feet above sea level. Towering high above the city’s southeast side are two volcanoes: Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl. Mexico City has 8,605,239 inhabitants, but the Metropolitan area as a whole has more than 20 million

official language

Spanish is the official language of Mexico. Mexican Spanish is polite, clear and easy to understand by Latin American standards. The speed at which the language is spoken is not as accelerated as it is Spain and some South American countries and pronunciation is softer, making the language easier to 'pick-up' and easier to learn.

religion 

Christianity (Roman Catholic)

literacy rate

It has a literacy rate of around 93% In Mexico, basic education is divided in three steps: primary, grades 1-6; junior high, 7-9; and high school, 10-12. While over 90% of children attend primary school, only 62% attend secondary school.

What do the three colors of the flag represent?

The three colors of Mexico’s flag hold deep significance for the country and its citizens: green represents hope and victory, white stands for the purity of Mexican ideals and red brings to mind the blood shed by the nation’s heroes. The emblem is based on the legend of how the Aztecs traveled from Aztlán to find a place where they could establish their empire. The god Huitzilopochtli advised them that a sign -  the eagle eating a serpent a cactus - would show them where to build their capital. This is how Mexico City was founded!

economy 

Mexico is the second largest economy in Latin America. The economy of the country is considered a developing nation and is ranked as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank. Mexico has free trade agreements with over 50 countries. Their top Industries are Food and Beverages; Tobacco; Chemicals; and Iron and Steel.

OTHER FACTS ABOUT temoaya

WEATHER

The nation’s capital has some of the best weather in the world with an average temperature of 22º C (72º F). NOTE: The altitude in Temoaya is 8,760 feet. The rainy season extends from June to October. We need to be prepared for occasional afternoon rain and thunderstorms.

Food

Mexico is known for the tart-piquant flavors of such dishes as salpicon de res (shredded beef cooked with pickled serranos, cilantro and tomatoes) and corn cakes called coronas. Moles, sauces made with unusual combinations of ingredients such as chocolate, fruits, nuts and/or seeds. Vegetarians will appreciate the variety of tropical fruits and vegetables. Mexicans traditionally have a small breakfast. This sees them through until lunch, which is typically eaten around 1:30 pm and is the main meal of the day. Then dinner will be lighter fare.

Cultural Do’s and Don’ts

Do learn some Spanish phrases. it will be appreciated even if pronounced poorly. Expect to shake hands between men. When members of the opposite sex meet, the woman should extend her hand to initiate the greeting. Don’t talk about money but do ask about the health of children and relatives. Use title (Señor or Señora) and the last name unless instructed otherwise. Don’t place your hands on your hips as this may be interpreted as aggression. Keeping your hands in your pockets is considered impolite. Use the term “North American” to refer to yourself because Mexicans consider themselves “Americans” too.

Safety

Don’t be alone at night. It would be preferable to have a group of 3, one being a male. Don’t be in an isolated place with nationals or with minors. When traveling on public transportation, stay close to teammates taking care not to get separated from your group and hold your backpack in front of you on public transportation. Be on guard. Always be aware of what is going on around you and look like you know what you’re doing. Don’t draw unnecessary attention to yourself or carry a lot of valuables on you (expensive watches, jewelry, phones, computers, cameras, etc.) Put money in several places on you (in a pocket, in a backpack, in a money belt). Carry a copy of your passport with you at all times. You don’t need to carry your passport every day, but make sure to put it in a safe place. Use common sense. If you’re not sure what is allowed, ask your team leader(s) or missionaries.

Misc. 

Time Zone: CLST (2 hrs. ahead of PST)

Country Code: 52

Currency: Mexican Peso

Electrical Outlets: 110V. Electrical sockets (outlets) in Mexico are the "Type A”, same as the United States

SHOPPING

The motto in Mexico is “buyer beware.” With that in mind, Mexico has everything from costumed frogs to silver work. Handicrafts, clothing and folk art vary regionally: pottery, woven fabrics, hammocks, clothing and baskets are often a good buy. If visiting small towns, learn to bargain; it can be fun and is expected. In the cities however, prices are fixed.

CLOTHING GUIDELINES

With regard to clothing, MODESTY is of EXTREME importance.  No underwear can be showing, no bare mid-drifts (raise your hands above your head, if any part of your abdomen shows, the shirt is too short. And nothing form fitting, guys or gals. No scoop neck/ low necklines for gals. Take your cues from the nationals in the varying situations you find yourself.

Work Clothing: Jeans, Bermuda shorts or nice active wear (*no yoga pants ladies!) Closed toed, sturdy shoes. T-shirts or basic crew necks. No shorts above the knee or sleeveless/tank tops. Any writing on shirts should not contain anything offensive, crude, provocative, political or inflammatory.

Casual Clothing: Nicer outfit for outings and excursions, like jeans or capris and a polo shirt or nicer crew neck.

Church/Dining Out: Nice “Dockers” or dark jeans with collared shirt and clean tennis, skate or deck shoes for men. Below knee dress/skirt or dress jeans with blouse and open toed, small heels or flats. Note; we don’t want to “out-dress” the locals.