Dismissal bell is a joy for all the pupils. One can chat with friends, play ball with your classmates, Run to the buffet and catch your favorite bun, or play your favorite game on the phone. Everything seems to be so calm and carefree. That’s just this school resembles an oasis in the desert. It is surrounded by a three-meter fence with barbed wire. And its territory is protected by dozens of security guards. Because hundreds of children are being stolen in this city every year. And they demand a huge ransom from their parents. You are very welcome to Mexico! And this is The Life of Others! New York Venice Dubai Jerusalem Tokyo Paris The Life of Others Zhanna Badoeva Many of us learned about life in Mexico from TV shows. Serious passions flared up in front of millions of viewers. I wonder, are Mexicans just as temperamental in life? So, let’s clear it up! If I were born in huge Mexico City, then a famous dentist Javier Hernandez and Mary Carmen, his wife could become my parents. I would live in a big house with a high fence behind barbed wire. Until the age of 18, I would move around the city only in the presence of my parents. Or I could be born into the family of Muchacha Leticia Cruz. My grandmother would have raised me. Since mom would disappear for days working in another family. Or, I could be born in a big Chaves family. I would love Mexican TV shows and dream of opening my own small Mexican restaurant. No matter, which of the maternity hospitals parents choose, everywhere you have to pay for childbirth. One doctor’s appointment costs $ 8 in a state maternity hospital. Delivery itself costs from $ 210. And n a private hospital, a doctor’s consultation will cost $ 26. And the delivery costs around $ 780. Miguel Sanchez, a doctor Unfortunately, among Mexicans there is an opinion that giving birth with a cesarean section is easy and fast. 50% of women do not even consider natural childbirth. And no matter how doctors tried to dissuade them. But local residents have another distinguishing feature. Pregnancy and childbirth is absolutely no reason for Mexicans to deny themselves spicy foods. Chilli pepper, why not? It all should just burn! Fire! This is how Mexicans inculcate a love of spicy with mother’s milk. Some can eat this milk for up to six years. Regarding breastfeeding, Mexicans are also divided into two camps. Low-income families can feed their baby with breast milk until he is 6 years old to save up some money. But the representatives of the middle and affluent class are trying immediately after the birth of the baby to feed him with an artificial mixture. So that no one would think that they cannot afford it. Maternity leave lasts 90 days only. Later on children attend kindergartens. And as just a baby turns 6, he immidiately goes to school. Whenever possible, most Mexican families prefer to send their child to a private school. Despite the fact that the state ones are free. Private schools cost about $ 105 a month. Maria Elena Sanchez, a reataurant owner Besides the fact that education in private schools is better, more impetuous children from good families study there. We want the child to study there in a favorable atmosphere. But there is one point that unites students from all schools. My dears, tell me how many times were you late for school? Tell me truth, okey? It happened very often. And in Mexico City, children are never late for school. And not because they are so accurate, but due to the fact that at 7:30 the doors are closed and no one is allowed in. They are closed for two reasons. Firstly, they teach children how to be disciplined. Secondly, and thus they provide additional security. Santiago Mayadon Rodriguez, a pupil In Mexico, children are often abducted. All students are brought and taken away from school by their parents or close firends. Therefore, at exactly 7:30 a.m. the gates are closed and no one can get to school. You snooze, you lose. And it doesn’t matter if you are in the first or last grade, in a private or state school. The rules are the same everywhere. Moreover, due to frequent delays, you may be suspended from classes for a week. Or lower the average grade point. To better understand this issue, I decided to talk with Elena, the head of one of the local schools. How is your school different from any other school in Mexico? Elena Labarte, the head of the school Children of more affluent parents are studying at a private school, therefore both conditions are better and knowledge is better. How do you solve the problem with and safety at school? Each teacher and student has a personal pass. So you won’t enter the school without it. Besides, we have bodyguards and the system, which motinors safety. We also give the children personally to their parents hands. It is true that the doors to the school close exactly at 7:30, If the child is late, it is not allowed to him to get in and some points are taken off. If the child is late one or two times, we will not punish him and let him go to class, to be honest… Well, if a month a child is late five or six times, we will call the parents and lower the overall score. And what about public schools? Are the doors close at 7:30 and will not they let anyone else in? It’s even stricter there, so 99% of children at 7:30 are already at their desk. How long have you been working at this school? I have been working here for 25 years. I used to be a student of this school myself. Please tell me during all this time there was no special case or incident, or maybe something happened at this school. There were no incidents within the school. But mothers who were waiting for children near the school wall were often robbed by criminals with pistols. All the danger is behind the school grounds. Unfortunately there we are powerless. Julia Colomes, a lawyer Every year, around 1,000 people are kidnapped for ransom. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you the exact number. 40% of people do not go to the police, they are just paying a ransom because they are sure that the police and the robbers are on the same team. Despite the opportunity to get a life prison term, the criminals cannot be stopped. And it is not getting less of them within each coming year. You want some mango? – No, thank you. Salome, a new Zhanna’s friend Do you think I’m here with my new friend walking around Mexico City?
– Nothing of the kind, though, right you are. She is my new friend. In Mexico City, there are separate areas where one is better not to meddle. It is necessary that the locals led you through the area and everyone saw you. Ola! Ola! Right? And then I can walk at least during the day, even at night. Right you are! So I shouldn’t worry. You don’t worry, Zhanna. Let’s go, and meet more locals. If the life has cracked and the Mexican have to move to not the most favorable area, only a resident of this area can save him. Which will introduce him to everyone in here. This is a so-called life-hack. I wonder what the police are dealing with then. Mario Senteras Escobar, a policeman We try to secure the city and control unsafe areas. But the police are very busy in Mexico City. In one shift, we react to 30-40 or even 50 calls. There is no physical opportunity to trace absolutely everything. In such circumstances, many locals are the first to take the initiative. They constantly accompany their children everywhere and walk in groups in unsafe districts. Some even control the safety of public transport. There are also groups of criminals who threaten to kill everyone. They rob passengers of buses and minibuses. Therefore, indifferent residents who have permission to arms track down such robbers are caught and sent to the police. But these are rare cases. The safety of the locals is their own hands. Therefore, if there is such an opportunity, then everyone is trying to protect themselves as best as possible. And now I’m very interested to see how wealthy people live in Mexico City. Do they feel safe in this rather insecure city. No doubt, as they’ve got the same gates as in The Game of Thrones. Just look at it! And barbed wire is on the top. Therefore, I think that everything is fine here. He recognizes me in person. That’s how it works, guys! So, it is like this, behind high fences and guards, the homes of wealthy Mexicans hide . The family of the famous dentist Javier Hernandez lives in one of them. Veronica Castro, the star of Mexican TV shows, is one of his regular customers. Such a house of 350 square meters costs $ 315,000. If you are interested, then utilities cost $ 105 per month. The owner lives in the house with his wife and younger children. Their eldest daughter is graduating in Spain. How do they manage to live in the unsafe area and is it true that “The rich also cry”? So, let’s figure it out! We know Mexico from Mexican TV shows. Passions are constantly raging there. There some kind of wife comes with some kind of husband or with some kind of child, there is always passion and suffering. Is real life in Mexico the same as in these TV shows? Or is it all fiction and your life is much simpler and more plain than shown on TV? Javier Hernandez Herrero, a dentist Yes, you’re right the series is not taken from the air. Our life is full of passion. Mary Carmet Rozet, a house-wife Though, in real life, everything is a little calmer. Mexican families often have a lot of children up to 10 people. Do you want more children? No, thank you. That’s enough for us. It is our choldren who want more. Pablo Ernandez, a pupil We want to have another little brother. Children always want to. But it’s not an easy task to raise a child. They also told me that Mexican families have a cult of food. You have dinner quite late and it’s heavy. What do you have for dinner? You are absolutely right, Zhanna. But since the husband adheres to a healthy diet, we keep it together with him. We usually have different types of soup and salads. But we definetly treat our children with a lot of tasty food. I love quesadilla.And I like sweet crepes. Can you let the child go somewhere by himself? How old are you? I am 13. – You are 14. Dad did not know how old the child is! This is the child who forgot that he had a birthday recently. You are 14 but you forgot it is normal. I also forget all the time how old I am. At the age of 14 he can go somewhere with friends alone. Will you let him do it? In case he wants to go to the cinema with his frinds, or to eat some pizza. We never let children go alone. Often a small company gathers and one of the parents goes with them. Or the guard of some family. This situation is very difficult. Because children are often stolen. Right you, though sorry to say. We love our country. We adore it. But all this situation disappoints us. I at the age of 14 used to walk with my friends without no worries. Now on it is quite dangerous. Sombrero Tours for about 6 years has been organizing a tour throughout Mexico. Each year more than a thousand tourists apply to the company’s services. Service list is pretty wide. Starting with standaard tours and up to the long-term trips to all the reserved places of Mexico. Taking into account the level of safety, yearly around twenty-three mln of soldiers come here to serve in the military. Exactly as many people live here on an ongoing basis. Locals already got used to such a lifestyle. They already know where it is allowed to walk around, and where you’d better not. But the main thing is that you should never stop living your life to the fullest and enjoy every little thing. As Mary Carmen does. Are Mexican women fashionista? Sometimes, I can’t stand and buy something quite expensive and luxirious. And just later on I confess to my husband that I’ve spent a lot of money. And he even makes scandals because of it! No scandal is scary if you are already wearing a dress. I absolutely agree with you. Havier makes good money, around $ 5 200. And his monthly income can cover up all the family expenses. And only those, who have higher education, can dare to have such a salary. In Mexico, there are several dozen of higher education institutions. Most graduates from all over the country seek to there. Who does not want to study in the capital? But not everyone would be lucky. To enter the university, first we should pass the final exams at school and then entrance examinations to the University. There is only one State University in which everyone dreams of entering. And in case, you failed, you better enter a private institute. Mexicans prefer private University to public ones. Cause when you pay money, your teacher would be much more professional, and the level of knowledge would be higher. The price for it starts from $ 1560 per year. And the public study costs only $ 16. George Bermedzho, a teacher Not everyone can afford to study in a private university. Money invested in education quickly pays off at work. But it all depends on who and where will work. A doctor earns around $ 415 per month. Judicials earn from $ 780 and up to $ 2600 per months. And teachers earn not more then $ 520. But even if there is no diploma, you will not remain without work in a big city. Even the girls who have not even finished school are already going to work as muchacha. In Mexico, Muchacha is called a housekeeper. Often they not only perform household chores but also help with raising children. They pick them up from school, feed them and make sure they do the homework. Leticia, for example, works in a family where two teenagers of a twin grow up. And she loves her work. She is never going to change her profession. How many years have you been working in this house? I have you been working in this house for fourteen years already. You are already almost a full member of the family. You know everything here. Leticia Cruz Lopez, a housekeeper I started working here when the children were two months old. You have already raised such a big guy. Who is Leticia for you? She is like my second mum. Here the second brother came in. Do you have any grannies? We do. But I guess Leticia spends more time with you, huh? What did she teach you? She taught us not to be late for school, always do homework, explained what is good and what is bad. She is always there and helps in everything. She taught you how to do such beautiful hairstyles, didn’t she? No, we do it by ourselves. – Good boys! Tell me now you have such a difficult transitional age right now, do you sometimes harm and show your character? – No, never. You are not telling the truth! You never make her feel nervous, don’t you? What she says, you obey, right? Is it true, Lettie? Well, it depends…))) Would you like to change your family? I have a daughter of the same age. And a dog, three dogs… I’ll never set foot away from here. While the guys are gone, I’ll talk with Letizia on adult conversations. Is it difficult to find such a job here to work 15 years in one place. It’s very difficult. My friends change their work every year, and I do not change. I am lucky and my hostess is happy with the work. Can you tell me any stories about your friends, how they were fired or lost their job. More often than not, my friends themselves leave work because they are paid little. And does it happen that the owners make them do a very difficult job. It happens very often. I have a one-hour dinner break. And many owners breathe down the neck and try to control everything. God forbid to sit down, you will be fined right away. Do you live here or you come in here every day? I live here. Do you have your room in this house? I do. So you don’t have a family, or children? I have parents whom I help. But I have no husband and children. If you sit at home all day and cut cabbage, then you will never find a husband. Well, starting mid-Saturday and Monday morning I have a day off. At this time, I am trying to arrange my personal life. How do you see your life after another 15 years? It’s hard to say. I do not like to plan, life will show. Per month, such housekeepers as Lettie earns from $ 315 up to $ 520. If work is not to your liking, you can go clean your shoes in the street, as Valentin does. Ola, Valentin! How long have you been working here? I’ve been working here for three years already. And where did you work before? – I was selling fruit in the streetmarket. Valentin Iglesias, a shoeshiner I know that this profession is in great demand. Do you have a big competition? There are so many shoeshiners at every corner. How much does it cost to clean shoes? The price starts from $ 1 and up to $ 2,5. Every day I bring the shoeshiner a whole bag of shoes so that he tidies them up. When at the end of the day I take my shoes home it seems that they are just from the store. How many people a day do you usually have? I have around 20-30 customers per day. You look to be very serious shoeshiner. That’s my charecter. They really look like brand new. Do you need any lisence for it? Sure, I do. I renew it every six months. How much does it cost? It cost $780 – 2600 depending on your location. Valentine earns $ 1,050 a month. But if such work is not to your liking, you can get a dog walker. This is work in the fresh air, you have constant activity and it is great to save on the fitness club. For each dog, the owner pays $ 32 per week. More dogs means more earnings. Apparently that’s why Edward has so many of them. Ola, Edward! You have a hotbed of beauty here, so to speak. Is it your occupation? Right, I walk the dogs. – Let’s go then. Listen how do you deal with them? I have three dogs and I do not go alone with them. I see you have four right now, and as far as I know, it is not the maximum. Eduardo Baltierra,a dog walker. Besides the fact that we walk them, we also train them. They know the commands and behave quietly. Give me one dog, I wanna walk with him. – Here you go. This is Mona. Hi, Mona! I’m Zhanna and today you will walk with me. Let’s go, Mona. Don’t touch that! So the hosts bring dogs to you in the morning, for you to walk and study with them, and then they take them away as in a kindergarten. Nope, we take them from their homes by ourselves, do it all by ourselves. I see. You are walking with four dogs now. And if any of them wants to pie or something, will you clean after them. I definitely clean and urge everyone to do as well. For this, I constantly carry special bags with me. I have three dogs, a breed of Spitz. They are very beautiful, but they have very little brain. They do not like to walk quietly and immediately start fighting among themselves. And your dogs are so calm. Oh look Spitz ran over there. You are my pretty. So you take a dog from the very morning, and the owners never walk their dogs, right? – Mostly never, right you are. Don’t they worry when they let your dog walk with you? Didn’t you have any conflict situations with the owners? Did they ever complained? Well, anything happens, either the dogs clutch, or turn up their paw, or eat some kind of muck. What’s your action? Do you just appologize, or have to pay money? Someone treats with understanding, after all, anything can happen, while someone screams and no longer use our services. I would walk with dogs all day, as I love them, but my work calls. Well, I go now on my business and return you Mona, even though she is so beautiful. Good bye, dear. You hae a good life here. She is not a skinny one, she eats good. While some work in offices, others walk the dogs, the third go all-in and open their own business. Maria and Elena bought a restaurant with a farm for all their savings. And here they grow catcuses. Which is the very source of their income. what do we know about cactuses? I know that cacti grow in the desert, they don’t need to be watered much and some people put a cactus near the computer. To lessen radiation. But I’m not sure. For a Mexican, cacti are simply vital. They cook many dishes from cacti, salads, roast it, and pickle. And what’s the most important, it’s Mezcal! Just imagine! Or isn’t it the most important? So, let’s check it right now. Mezcal is a tequila great-grandfather. This is a favorite strong drink of Mexicans, no holiday can do without it. In the family restaurant of Mary and Helen you can find 20 types of this drink. Which always diverges with a bang. In the morning, companies that had parties all night often come to us. We are preparing an excellent remedy for a hangover. Chili pepper soup. This is our specialty. Spicy helps mexican not only relieve headaches but also brighten up the evening. Juanita walked in tears in the rain in an unknown direction. At the same time Carl was packing his bags. Cause she has gave birth to the illegitimate child. He could not stand it and went to your brother’s wife and told all that he thinks about her. I almost choked while I told you a small part of a series of Mexican movie. Let’s find out how all this is created. Why? Because she herself creates all this. I love Mexican TV shows, as it is so passinate. Elena Vargas, a pensioner 20 years ago I watched our TV shows But now I prefer Turkish. I don’t know how to watch these soap operas. It is boring and monotonous. I am sure many of you remember such series as “The rich also cry”, “Wild Rose”, and “Simply María”, entire corporations are behind the creation of these and other series… What is te secret of their success, now we will find out from the famous Mexican producer. Her name is Carla Estrada. She is well-known all around Mexico, and is called “guru” of the Mexican TV shows. How many years have you been producing? I’ve been in it for like 35 years. I’ve been on TV for 10 years and it seems to me that this is all my life. How many series did you produce? Carla Estrada, a producer I can’t even calculate how many TV shows I shot, but it is for sure, more than 20. But besides them there are still a lot of political and entertaining TV shows. At one time, Mexican TV shows were insanely popular. Why so? There is no formula for success. This is some kind of magic. The main thing is to observe the basic principles of creating short stories. That is love, Intrigue and rivalry. If there is a love triangle, success is guaranteed. How many minimal episodes can be in a Mexican television series? What is the smallest number? Now on the format has changed. It is not more than 400 TV series. And each one is no longer than one hour. Since now they shoot in pavilions, but not indifferent locations, 100,000 a series is quite problematic to shoot. Is it prestigious to be an actor in a television series in Mexico? Every year, it is more and more prestigious. Even some theatrical actors who were previously considered to be celestials began to work with us. For one shift, the main actor can earn about 5200 dollars. There is a TV set in every house, even the poorest. In the evenings entire families gather near the TV and watch the life of some Carmelita and her new boyfriend Juan. The Internet has supplanted television. Maybe somewhere it really did, but not in Mexico City. Mexican life is like TV shows, isn’t it? Is there something similar or is it absolute fiction? The series is a drop in the ocean compared to what happens in our lives. In Mexican TV series they often show lovers and children from different husbands. Do you want to say that life in Mexico is still more interesting? Yes, the series never keeps up with reality, they are always one step behind. Yes, the series never keeps up with reality, they are always one step behind. Where both children, and adults study. The competition in this school is quite serious. As everybody dreams of fame and big fees. Mostly series are watched either by the elderly, or low-income people. Who dreams of a beautiful life filled with passion. So the family of Chawes does. In their 100 square meter house, the biggest and most expensive thing is the TV. Ten people live in this house. That is an elderly mother, together with her daughters’ families, their children and her son with his family. How do you usually spend your evenings? Do you watch any TV series? Maria Chaves, a secretary Yes, we get together and watch the serial passions. I noticed that your apartment is small and the TV is quite large. Have you saved up money for a long time to buy it? Lilia Chaves, a nurse we worked for a long time and saved up to buy it, because it is impossible to live without a TV at home in any way. How is the budget allocated in your home? All of you are working. Same as your husbands do. Do you buy it all together? Or separately? We all earn a little bit, so put it all together and buy what we need. How much do you spend per month on electricity, for food and water? How much do you spend ina month? We pay $ 104 for electricity, $ 21 for water, $ 26 for heat, and not more than $ 260 for food. Is it expensive to live in Mexico? I wouldn’t say so, you can live quite well here. Why then do you live together if living in Mexico City is inexpensive. What do you think? There are eight of us in the family. Five live abroad, and we decided to live with mom to help her. As her pension is only $ 33 a month. I know that many Mexicans go to America in order to earn more and live better. Did you ever think of it? No, we feel pretty good here. Crossing the border is very dangerous. For many, it has a sad end, but we have children and we cannot take risks. If you want, you can find a good job here as well. That is, until now, people illegally cross the border at the risk of their lives. I thought that this had already passed and that you can get a visa to America and move legally. Many still crosses the border with no documents. And did your friends cross over like that? Yeah, there were many of them. Someone is lucky and they are happy to live there, and some are simply gone and they can’t be returned. Every year, thousands of Mexicans try to cross the border. They pay 3,000 up to 5,000 in dollars to the so-called guides who promise to transfer them. But in the end they steal the money and people are left with nothing. Do you feel safe? As you have such a huge window, that anyone can come in. We live in a quiet calm and safe area. It’s true that riding by public transport is unsafe because you can also be robbed there. You are right. Every time I take a bus, I do shake. Oh my God. Have you had cases when stealing something or attacking you or perhaps your acquaintances had such ocassions? It was once that masked guys ran into the bus and put a gun to the temple, and they hurted some people with an electric shock. So, I had to give them everything that I had. So, that’s how a trip by bus can turn to be a tragedy. And even if no one is attacking, a trip by transport takes away half of one’s lives. It’s good when your work is nearby the house. It is vital in Mexico. Because if your work is at the end of the city, then it is not a fact that you will reach it during the whole day. Long distances and an incredible amount of vehicles just make a collapse on the roads. That is if you are not a millionaire and you can’t afford to fly on a helicopter then you have to stand for hours in traffic jams. Some residents are not in a hurry anywhere because they are on a well-deserved rest. As Helena Vardes. She is 80. She spends all her time at home. She lives in a large two-story house, part of which is rented out. To find out how pensioners live in Mexico, we went to visit her. Look at that! Wow. It’s like a theater club. What is that? This is the house with my daughter’s toys. She played with them when she was little. Look, they laid the table and one sad girl sits at the table. And do you keep it all from childhood on your child? I do. Who do these toys belong to? They used to belong to my children, but now my grand grand-children play with them. Do you live alone in here? I do. – And where do your children live? They moved away long time ago. But I kept their rooms just as they were before. One of my daughters used to love Mickey Mouse. So we decorated it just like that. Really, it seemed to be like Disneyland of the last century. So you keep the rooms just like they were , when your children were little. It’s so amazing to come in here, and go back to memories. There is even a Mickey Mouse TV set. When did you buy it? – I even can’t recall now. It was long ago. – does it still work? It does. You just need to reconnect the antenna. A TV set with a Mickey Would make me go crazy of happiness. It is not a home, but a museum. Don’t you feel sad here? What do you do here all days long? Oh my God, what’s that? I collect different souvenirs. What are you busy with every day? Are you cleaning the dust away from it all. So what do you do after waking up? I wake up, clean everything, then I read books, and cook. On Sundays I sing in the church. Do you feel bored? Nope, I don’t. I am happy. And it’s no wonder. As you have a TV set with Mickey Mouse. My son was a fan of Superheroes and Star Wars. So his room is fully decorated with it. He even had a sleepers with a spider-man. Everything remains here as it was before. You better give it all to other children, and not keep it all here. I hoped to give it to my grand-children. But I don’t have many of them. Do you pay all the bills by yourself, or children use to help you? Children help me, but not financially. I have money, as I give for rent a part of this house. How much is your pension? It’s not big, around $ 65. As I got, you’d better get everything ready in advance, to live happily on retirement. You are right, Zhanna. Both men and women go on retirement at athe age of 65. The very pension varies from $ 32 up to $ 104. Usually children support their parents, as it’s pretty hard to live on this money. Or you just have to go on working. So you have four children, right? Yes. And how many grand children do you have? I have a niece, a nephew and a great-granddaughter. Do your children often visit you? They often visit me, but only my younger daughter lives in LA, so we meet rarely. Only once a year. Well, it’s not far away. And what about your son? Does he often visit you? He died thirteen years ago. He was an engineer. And he used to work worldwide. And to bring a souvenir spoon from each country. Now I have a whole collection. And you kept his room as it was before? Does anyone sleep on his bed? No one lives there. It just remains to be untouchable. When I go there, it seems to me that he will be back soon from the next business trip. Do you all get together here when you have some family holidays? We get together on big holidays. I had a recent anniversary. All the family loudly celebrated a few days in a row. We danced and sang songs. You know, you are so active and beautiful! You never look at your age! You have another hundred years still ahead of you. And I belive that’s true. My mom was 104, when she died. And she was still mentally healthy. What is the secret? How not to lose your mental health? How to live long? You should be active and busy with something. Never be bored. And have a sense of life. Looking at such active retirees, it seems that age is only a figure. Which is determined not by the year of birth, but by the state of our soul. The real life of Mexicans is seething harder than in any Mexican series. And that’s all due to them being very temperamental, extremely jealeous, madly loving, pretty lazy, terribly non-punctual, they respect its history and people, very quick-tempered and live for today. We are very different. But in some ways we are very similar. Maybe that’s why we are so much interested in the lives of others.