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Mexico Project

The Gabriel House Orphanage houses approximately 40 children with severe developmental and physical disabilities (muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, Down's Syndrome, autism, etc.), as well as children who are HIV positive. One-third of the children are in wheelchairs. The orphanage is in need of many improvements, including wastewater treatment, showering facilities, recreation/play areas for the children, a school, and better housing. The assessment trip evaluated the needs with which our club could help.

Mexico's History

Three civilizations-the Mayas, the Olmecs, and the Toltects-preceded the Aztec empire that was conquered in the 16th century by Spain. For the next 300 years, Spain ruled Mexico. Mexicans revolted against Spain in 1810 and finally achieved independence from Spanish rule in 1821. From 1821-1877, Mexico had two emperors, several dictators, and enough presidents and provisional executives to form a new government on the average of every nine months.

Following WWII, the Mexican government emphasized economic growth. During the mid-1970s Mexico because a major petroleum producer. However, Mexico amassed a huge external debt because of the government's unrestrained borrowing on the strength of its petroleum reserves. The collapse of oil prices in 1986 cut Mexico's export earnings. A devaluation of the peso in 1994 threw the Mexico into economic turmoil. In 1995, the US prevented the collapse of Mexico's private banks. Since then, the nation has made an impressive recovery. Some economic and social problems still exist, however. These problems include low real wages, underemployment, unequal distribution of income, and few advancement opportunities.

Mexico has a free market economy and is the 12th largest economy in the world. Mexico also has one of the largest tourism industries in the world. In 2005 it was the 7th most popular tourist destination worldwide. Tourism is the 3rd larges sector in the country's industrial Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Mexico Facts

Location: Middle America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, between Belize and the UX and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Guatemala and the US

Total: 1,972,550 sq km
Land: 1,923,040 sq km
Water: 49, 510 sq km

Area Comparative: almost three times the size Texas

Climate: varies from tropical to desert

Natural Resources: petroleum, silver, copper, gold, lead, zinc, natural gas, timber

Natural Hazards: tsunamis along the Pacific coast, volcanoes, and destructive earthquakes in the center and south, and hurricanes on the Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean coasts

Population: 108,700,891

Nationality: Mexican(s)

Ethnic Groups: mestizo (Amerindian-Spanish) 60%, Amerindian or predominantly Amerindian 30%, white 9%, other 1%

Languages: Spanish, various Mayan, Nahuatl, and other regional indigenous languages

Government Type: federal republic

Capital: Mexico

Independence Day: 16 September 1810 (declared); 27 September 1821 (recognized by Spain)

Population below poverty line: 40% (2003 est.)

Agriculture Products: corn, wheat, soybeans, rice, beans, cotton, coffee, fruit, tomatoes; beef, poultry, dairy products; wood products