Mexican Food Recipes

Mexican Food Recipes

Mexico Rural Region

The Location


The Population


The Religion

Roman Catholic

The Weather

  • Houses in Mexico’s rural regions typically are made of adobe bricks. Most have metal or thatched roofs and dirt or concrete floors, but few have glass windows. Mexico Small Brick Home
  • Good hygiene principles are taught at each Compassion center, including the importance of brushing teeth and washing hands before meals. Mexico Children Brushing Their Teeth
  • To combat malnutrition, which is especially prevalent between harvests, Compassion centers provide assisted children with regular, nutritious meals. Mexico Women Serving Food
  • In Mexico, 32 million children are younger 15, and most live in conditions of poverty and need. Mexico Boys Closeup
  • Compassion’s curriculum addresses the needs of children at all stages of growth. Teens receive vocational training to help them prepare for graduating and supporting themselves. Mexico Teenage Boys Sitting at Desks
  • Most rural families supplement their farming efforts with other income-generating projects, such as raising pigs. Mexico Woman Feeding Pigs

Overview: Rural Regions of Mexico

Although one-quarter of Mexico’s population lives in rural areas, more than 60 percent of the extreme poor live there. The urban poor in Mexico are surrounded by services and opportunities to which they have limited access. The rural poor have few such resources.

Most rural communities in Mexico were formerly occupied by local indigenous peoples. Rural culture usually is a mix of indigenous traditions and influence from nearby cities. These communities have little infrastructure for police departments and government support, and few homes have electricity, running water, telephones or sewage systems. Few families have access to health clinics or adequate schools. Most rural communities are small, with less 5,000 residents.

Many adults in rural Mexico must travel to a nearby city to find work. They may leave their families for days at a time. Some move permanently to the city, leaving behind broken homes often run by single mothers or teenage children.

Many adults migrate from rural Mexico, not only to larger cities within Mexico, but also to the United States. The U.S. recession has affected many of the families left behind in small rural towns in Mexico. In 2009, money transfers from the United States to Mexico dropped 20 percent. Many rural families, with few resources beyond their small farm plots, depend on money sent from relatives who have left the area. When that money stops coming, hunger and desperation increase.

The rural people of Mexico represent some of the most extreme levels of poverty in the country. The average daily salary in rural communities is $4, and nearly half of rural residents are unemployed.


Culture Corner


Atole is a popular Mexican hot beverage. It is a thin porridge made from corn and flavored with cinnamon and brown sugar.


  • 1 lb. dried black beans
  • 5½ cups water
  • Salt to taste
  • Salsa


Sort and wash black beans.

Place in a bowl and cover with water.

Let stand overnight.

Drain, and cook beans in water with salt. In larger cities, families often add ham to improve the taste. However, in most rural communities, ham is a luxury reserved only for special occasions.

Cook at low heat until beans are tender, about 3 hours. Serve soup in small bowls. Add salsa to taste.


Life in Rural Mexico

Nearly one-quarter of Mexico’s people live in rural areas, earning a meager living primarily from small-scale agriculture and raising animals such as pigs or livestock. Most families supplement their earnings through other means, such as carpentry, fishing, and textile weaving. The primary crops grown are corn and beans. In different regions, families also grow coffee, rice, soybeans, wheat, cotton, and a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Rural families, however, never know if their efforts will be successful from year to year. Drought and flooding are both disastrous to crops. Without the knowledge of, and access to, modern agricultural techniques and tools, families are at the mercy of the elements.

Children at Home

Children in rural communities in Mexico live in small houses made of local, inexpensive materials, including adobe bricks and wood. Most homes have a common area, a bedroom, a latrine with no running water, and an outdoor smoke kitchen — a small lean-to where families build cooking fires. Women or children usually gather and carry wood to build the fire. Fires are built early in the morning, and mothers and daughters often boil corn to make tortillas at dawn.


Community Issues and Concerns Mexico Community

Families in rural Mexico tend to be larger than in urban areas, with an average of three to six children. Typical homes are crowded, and made of wood, adobe bricks, cardboard, clay plaster and straw. Multiple generations commonly live together, with grandparents serving as heads of the family.

Few rural communities rely on agriculture as their main source of income because individual plots of land are too small to support families. However, droughts and heavy rains still greatly affect a community’s food supply and finances. Bad weather means families will have even less produce to sell, which makes paying for food, health care or education even more difficult.

Common health issues for children in rural Mexico include diabetes, parasites and infections. Health clinics are usually far away, and families often must rely on often-unsafe buses for transportation.

Local Needs and Challenges

In rural Mexico, children face many challenges. During good harvest seasons, they have plenty to eat. But when the harvest is meager due to a lack or overabundance of rain, malnutrition is the norm. Even with good harvests, food typically runs out before the next harvest, and parents struggle to meet their children’s nutritional needs year-round. Rural children also commonly suffer from illnesses caused by unsafe water and inadequate sanitation.


Schools and Education Mexico Education

Education services are scarce and insufficient in rural Mexico. In many families, children drop out of school to supplement their family’s income by working on the small plots of land their families farm. Most communities offer no education beyond junior high.

Compassion Mexico works to ensure that every registered child is able to attend elementary school, and it provides additional support, including tutoring, at the child development centers.

At the Compassion Child Development Center

Child development centers in rural communities provide registered children with a place to learn, grow and study. Children who have never had easy access to clean water, health care or continuing education are provided access to these necessities.

Compassion-assisted children attend health classes, tutoring sessions and Bible studies at the center. They also spend time writing to and praying for their sponsors.


Working Through the Local Church

Compassion Mexico ministers to children in need through local churches. It is an ideal partnership because churches are known, trusted entities in their communities. They also know well the local families and the needs of their children.

Churches participate in the partnership by providing personnel to work directly with the children, as well as facilities for a child development center (classrooms, restrooms, a kitchen, etc.). Compassion, in turn, provides sponsors for the children, training to the staff, a holistic development program curriculum, and other important tools and resources. The goal is that the church – not Compassion – be seen by the community as the provider of an important ministry to its children in greatest need.

How Compassion Works in Mexico Compassion in Mexico

Compassion's work in Mexico began in 1979. Currently, more than 29,000 children participate in 174 child development centers.

Compassion partners with local churches, helping them provide Mexican children with a long-term program of physical, educational, socio-emotional and spiritual development. Through this partnership between Compassion and local churches, children in need have the opportunity to rise above their circumstances and fulfill their potential in Christ.

The Role of a Partnership Facilitator

Partnership Facilitators are the face of Compassion to the local church partners administering our child development program. Alberto García has been a Partnership Facilitator for Compassion Mexico for the past four years, and he hopes to continue in this role “for as long as God allows.”

Alberto enjoys seeing the love of God reflected in the children assisted by the Compassion centers under his care. He also enjoys getting to know and helping the partner church staff members who work hard to make their Compassion centers the best they can be.

He visits the centers at least once a month, helping the staff identify needs, be good stewards of their resources, and become excellent leaders and role models for children.


Prayer Requests

  • Pray for good crops since many families still rely on agriculture to supplement their incomes.
  • Pray for strength for families, including children, who must do the backbreaking work of planting and harvesting.
  • Pray for more work opportunities in rural communities. Many parents are tempted to leave their families to look for work in the cities. Children may be left alone or abandoned.
  • Pray that children in rural communities will stay in school, which will improve their opportunities for finding a well-paying job as an adult.