Living on a $42 pesos a Day Budget

IZAMAL.- Balbina Bolio Burgos and Elsa Martinez Pool, both from Izamal, Yucatán, sell flowers in order to survive and eat once a day tortillas, and sometimes rice and beans.

Both women, 68 years old, come to Zamná park in Merida every weekday from 7 to 10 in the morning to sell bouquets of flowers, $ 6 pesos each, for the last 10 years.  In fact, Elsa has been dedicated to this activity for more that 50 years.

“I come to Merida every day to sell seven or eight bouquet ($ 42 or $ 48). I don’t make much, but at least it is enough to buy tortillas. Sometimes my friends or family invite me to eat , because I can not afford to buy a meal” says Balbina Bolio Burgos who lives alone and was recently incorporated into the federal program known as “65 y Más” (65 and more).

“65 y Más” is basically a governmental monthly financial support of $ 580 pesos (38 USD) for senior citizens, delivered in  payments of $ 1,160 pesos (76 USD) every two months.

I’ve been selling flowers precisely in this park, ever since I was a little girl. When there was a market here, I used to come to sell my bouquets of flowers, which at that time costed 50 cents each. I remember selling five or six to buy a kilo of lentils, to feed myself, my parents and my three brothers”, Elsa Martinez Pool said.

When asked about the price of her flowers, Balbina says that if she asks $ 10 pesos per bouquet, no one would buy them, “there is a lot of competition in the flower market nowadays; a few years back we used to sell a lot more, now almost no one buys flowers”.

Our sales increase only during certain religious festivities, for example when the Holy Christ of the Exaltation of Sitilpech arrives, the December Holidays or Mother’s Day” states Elsa Martinez Pool, who is a housewife. “We’re happy to make a few pesos, just enough to eat everyday“.

Balbina Bolio Burgos and Elsa Martinez Pool (Photo:

I’ve been coming down here to sell my flowers for 10 years and my companion for most of her life” adds Balbina. “We are very pleased when people buy our flowers because it is a big help

Elsa and Balbina mentioned that they sell different kinds of flowers such as: pomarrosa, bougainvillea, virginia, tulip, lass, carnavalito, carnation, arnica, cocinera and May flower.

According to the PROFECO website, the kilo of tortillas has a minimum price of $ 8.90 and a maximum of $ 16 pesos.





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