Profiling Tepehua

By Moonyeen King
President of the Board for Tepehua
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Tepehua 1


Mary Bellis wrote: ‘In the beginning people bartered, swapping that which they had plenty of for that which they needed. It was called ‘commodity money’, like tea, coffee, tobacco, and cattle, basic items everybody needed, but it made doing business difficult. Europeans sailed the seven seas bartering fur and crafts in the East for perfumes and silk’.

Metal objects were introduced as money around 5000 BC, and by 700 BC the first metal coins appeared in the Western world. The Chinese invented paper money by 960 AD.

Even so, Quid Pro Quo still remains today.  A Latin quote mainly used by lawyers meaning “This for That”. It has no socioeconomic boundaries, exchanging things will always be something societies do.  It is more prevalent in the world of poverty, and as there will never be a world without poverty, it is here to stay. A much maligned phrase recently in the political world, at a guess the writer also thinks it is a phrase people listen to without knowing its meaning. In the world of plenty Quid Pro Quo appertains mainly to exchanging favors. This for That.

In the Tepehua Barrio world, we are always swapping ‘this for that’, it is a way of life.  In our Habitat program (repairing homes for the rainy season) we use this system - we repair your home for your labor on the next one, we send your child to school but you have to volunteer at the Center in some capacity. In the small bazaar at the Community Center, if you are a volunteer you get a free shopping voucher, Quid Pro Quo.   Quote from Barter “Doing business without cash is one of the world’s best kept business secrets”.

Tepehua Treasures’ Riberas store relies heavily on donated items to sell for monies that send children to school. What you consider your trash is a treasure to someone else.  Dr. Todd Stong, when talking about corruption and a wasteful system in Mexico said, “It will be the rising generation of the educated, with a world view via the internet and social media that will begin to replace the old guard that now staffs the counties.” Educating the young of today guarantees a tomorrow of questions and demands for more equality, less corruption and a freedom of choice. The one thing corrupt governments fear is a mass of educated people.  If you want to keep a people under control, deny them education.

The Tepehua Team in a very small way, with your help, is changing a generation through education, it is the only way. By providing the children with books, uniforms, shoes, bus and breakfast money we can change a corrupt system and nepotism in local governments; we can bring education and pride to the barrios and they will push for change from the bottom up. One thing the governments can do is allow children free bus rides to school, if they show their registration card. Every school kid has one. The burden of the family would be partially lifted with this one small act. Having spoken to the local talking heads it is not about to happen.

The Tepehua Team thanks you for the incredible support Lakesiders give the local communities, which has made rapid change in many barrios - if not by ‘doing’ it is by ‘giving’.

The sky did not fall in Jan 2020. It is going to be a good year in spite of politics. Awareness, like a soft blanket, is settling in. Awareness that if the masses are not educated it will affect those who are educated in a negative way, that if we don’t care for our planet we are slowly killing ourselves, that we are responsible for social injustice. Change is inevitable. Let’s make it for the better and do it faster because by being involved, we can.

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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.
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