Coastline at Antalya, Turkiye.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Antalya, Turkiye.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Paris, France on May 1st.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Shopping day for the orphanage

You might have missed last night's blog post... go there first!

So, we had a total of 64,000 pesos (($4,482 CAD, $3,380 USD) to spend.

We sat down with Lily, the director and her husband Juan to discuss what their priorities were. The first thing they brought up was a new water pump. The old one is well... old! And it's not strong enough to begin with. And it keeps breaking down every couple of months and they need to send it out to be repaired and it costs 3,000 or 4,000 pesos every time, and then of course the residence buildings are without water during the downtime.

The proper replacement pump is almost 20,000 pesos.

We all decided that would be money well spent.

But, there is nowhere in Ocozocuatla to buy that particular pump. So we hopped in the van with Lily and her nephew Alejandro and drove to the big city of Tuxtla Guiterrez. We made our way to a big "Home Depot" style hardware store where we went to the back counter to be helped.

Shopping for a pump!

They didn't have the pump in stock in that particular store, however we paid for it there as well as a new magnetic starting switch. Then, we bought 4 floor stand fans. Lily says that the residences get hot and there is no air movement.

Lily, shopping for fans.

Interesting how they do things here. You take a ticket to the cash and pay for your items. They stamp the ticket as paid, and you take the ticket to another counter where they go to get your items. They bring the items to the counter and open all the boxes and make sure all the parts are there. They also plug the items in to make sure they work!

Receipt for the pump, switch, and fans.
23,188 pesos.

Next, we drove to the other location to pick up the pump. Once again, they took it out of the crate, wired it up to electricity, and tested everything to make sure it worked.

New water pump!

The next big ticket item on the list was some new furniture. The boys residence living room has an old television, but the boys would just sit on the floor to watch it because there was no furniture! The girls residence is apparently already set up properly. We stopped at two different furniture stores but couldn't find something we all thought was suitable.

We drove back to Ocozocuatla where we went to a small local shop to buy some piñatas and some candy. It's all well and good that we bought a pump, but the kids would not care about that... we need some fun stuff for the kids too!

Receipt for the piñatas and candy.
837 pesos.

Next stop was another furniture store where we found exactly what we were looking for. All 4 of us agreed, and the price was better than the ones we had looked at at the other store. Funny thing, we were in this big store with all kinds of big ticket items... fridges, freezers, mattresses. And they don't take credit cards. Cash only. Fortunately, we were well prepared for this possibility and counted out 9,176 pesos while the salesman typed out the bill on an old electric typewriter!

Ruth and Alejandro testing out the new three piece blue living room set.

Receipt for the living room furniture.
9,176 pesos.

Next stop was the paint store. We are going to put the group to work today doing some painting. Funny, I thought for some reason that paint would be cheaper here in Mexico, but that's not the case. We had a hard time deciding approximately how much we needed, so hopefully we got it right. We'll show you the paint and painting photos tomorrow, but here is the receipt...

Receipt for the paint and supplies.
4,500 pesos.

Kids don't care about pumps, and they probably don't care about paint either. So we needed some more fun stuff for kids. These kids love soccer balls so we went to the Bodega Aurrera to buy some fun kid stuff...

Lily and Ruth shopping for kids stuff.

Receipt for soccer balls, pumps, and games.
1,910 pesos.

We got back to the Hogar Infantil at about 6:30pm... it takes forever to get this stuff done. Spent a lot of time waiting around in the various stores. Nothing happens fast.

We pulled up to the front of the main building. There were quite a few of the kids hanging out there because it was spitting with rain and this is a sheltered area. Some of the boys were quick (and excited) to help unload the van. Their eyes were wide as the saw all the soccer balls. They got everything into the office and then each of about ten boys gave Ruth and I each a hug and a thank you! The kids are so well behaved here.

The goods for the day!

But, we are not done shopping yet. We managed to spend 39,611 pesos yesterday, so we still have 24,389 pesos to spend!

It will be another busy day today!

Great deal today on this big Battery Booster Pack.

And in Canada...

Great deal on this Video Projector.


  1. What happened to the new freezer they needed?

  2. So glad you are getting critical things for them like a new pump and freezer. Canadian kids are so spoiled (not all but most). My stepson who lives in Ottawa now works with underprivledged kids at a YMCA type place and he says the kids with little are the nicest.

    1. We are so happy that we are able to help them out with these items, especially the new pump which was very important and necessary item to them.

      The children here are very happy and healthy kids and even they help do volunteer stuff as a group throughout the year to help others in need. :-)

  3. Same in most of Mexico. You take a ticket to the "caja" to pay and then the ticket is stamped and you get your receipt, two copies usually. One for you and one for the person giving you the merchandise. A lot of the process is to avoid graft and stolen merchandise hidden in the boxes people buy. Sometimes people will work together, an employee and a friend or a customer who has paid some money on the side for something "extra".

    1. Thanks for the explanation Chris. We have seen this process of buying items throughout our travels in a number of stores, especially in fabric stores but we have never really explained the process on the blog. We have also never come across the employees in the stores opening up the boxes to check the items to make sure all the parts are there and to plug it in to make sure it works. This was definitely the first time that we have ever encountered that process but we totally understand why it is done and it actually makes good sense. :-)

  4. Congratulations! This is such good work you're doing and precious gifts for the orphenage and the kids! Proud to know that foreing visitors (tourists?)behave like you do!

    1. Thank you very much, it has been our pleasure to be able to give back to something that we feel is a worthwhile cause.

  5. Interesting to learn that the process of buying goods in rural Mexico is similar to rural Philippines. I suppose merchants always try to devise ways to stay on top of the “shady” transactions that occur if one isn’t vigilant. Loved reading and going along with the shopping spree!

    1. Yes, we expect that they do this to reduce the amount of theft and fraud. Seems to me that it is a great way to do it but I doubt that would go over well back home in either Canada or in the US.

      Glad you enjoyed day one of the shopping spree! :-)


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