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Cucumbers, Cruise Ships & Charnay

Patricio Patrón Laviada Appointed Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente (Attorney General for Environmental Protection)Patricio Patron, former governor of Yucatan, now Attorney General for Environmental Protection of Mexico

Yucatan’s own Patricio Patrón Laviada, former Governor of the State of Yucatan, former Senator of the Republic, and former Municipal President of Mérida, has been named Attorney General for Environmental Protection by President Felipe Calderón. In this new capacity, the former Governor has been charged with the responsibility to work with firmness to fortify the efforts of government and society in conservation and sustainability with respect to the ecosystems and biodiversity of the nation. What a wonderful inspiration to the people of Yucatan, and especially to our young people, to have a Yucateco in a national position that has the potential to affect the quality of life for all of Mexico for many years to come. The website for PROFEPA is http://www.profepa.gob.mx/profepa.

Mayan Language Classes Finally Begin in Public Schools

Yucatan Living reported on this topic when we first learned that the Mayan language was to be introduced into our public schools. Now, that time has finally arrived. Concern over what is perceived to be a weakening of the overall Mayan culture in Yucatan has resulted in a determination to save the language, as well as the customs of the Maya. Toward that goal, Mayan language classes will begin in seven public schools this coming month and


will, ultimately, spread throughout the state. Since the plan is to gradually introduce Mayan words into our everyday lives, we thought you might want to brush up on your Mayan language skills so that we too can keep up with the new directions in the culture of our adopted home. Here is the free online course, including audio, in the Mayan language. http://www.mayas.uady.mx/curso_maya/index_01.html And here is our favorite of the Mayan songs online: U meeyjil ich kool (The Work of the Milpa). http://www.mayas.uady.mx/multimedia/trabajo.html At the top of that page, you can click on Multimedia and then Canciones to find more songs in the Mayan Language.

A Nun’s Backhanded Fight Against Alcoholism

We are often asked if Yucatan disapproves of alcohol use. The answer continues to be that Yucatecos do not disapprove of alcohol use. However, they seriously disapprove of “poor behavior” anywhere, any time, and for any reason. We know, from sociological research, that some individuals – when they cannot earn a living for their families – turn to alcohol to dull the emotional pain. Those folks must not have a Reverend Mother Aurora del Rivero Heredia where they live. After she wrote a letter to the wife of the President of Mexico, 20 farmers in Tizimin received enough support to put in irrigation systems for 10 hectares each. They are back in business and the Reverend Mother, while happy for their ability to now support their families, could not resist remarking on the fact that alcoholism has lost a few of its participants. How tragic it would have been if she had not recognized that the “treatment” for alcoholism, in this case, was something as simple as an irrigation system. A “Thank You” must also go to Margarita Zavala, wife of the President of Mexico, who listened to the request of a nun from rural Yucatan and met the need. Voyager of the Seas comes to Progreso Yucatan

Third Largest Cruise Ship in the World Visited Progreso

When we see huge tourist numbers – numbers so big that they almost do not seem real – it is hard to imagine that many people descending on our little Progreso in a year, much less at one time. Can you imagine 3,279 tourists and 1,165 crew members streaming off of Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas onto the malecon? We were not there at the time, and can only imagine what the 17 blocks of beach and restaurants, much less the Progreso marketplaces, looked like when it happened. We hope that, even with the crowds, all 4,444 of our visitors had a wonderful time and come back to see us soon.

Teacher’s Conference in Ticul

Those of us who are teachers now – or even former teachers, can hear the words “teacher’s conference” and it automatically causes a deep sigh – memories of long days listening to boring lectures about strategies that would never work in our classrooms or with our students. However, in the recent teacher’s conference in Ticul, the focus was on reducing the dropout rate. At this conference, teachers shared their successful strategies with the group. One told of her “open door” policy. By that, she meant that she allows parents to listen outside – through open doors and windows. If little Johnny or Suzie wants to misbehave in class, Mother is right outside and will have plenty to say when they get home. What this conference shows us is that teaching is the same the world over and all of us can relate to the need for creativity in the classroom. Congratulations to the teachers of Yucatan. They are a mighty force for social change in Yucatan and deserve all the support we can give them.


Once Again, The Temple Shines With The Splendor of Long Ago

The Church of St. John the Baptist, in Ucí, Motul, is nearing the end of restoration. Thanks to resources sent home from emigrants to the United States, and to the 3 x 1 Program, the church once again stands in its original splendor. In Kiní, money sent home from emigrants, multiplied by the 3 x 1 Program, has provided an addition to their health clinic, including a pharmacy and dental office. We are certain that it will not be long before all of Yucatan, with the aid of our Yucateco emigrants to the north, will shine with the same splendor now seen in many of our spectacularly restored rural churches.

Cucumber Harvest in the Yucatan– See Recipes Here

One hectare (2.47 acres) can produce approximately 100 boxes of cucumbers in one season. The cucumbers are selling for $200 pesos ($18.52 USD) per box. The investment, per hectare, is $6,000 pesos ($556 USD). This means that our Yucateco cucumber farmers are making a profit of $14,000 pesos (approximately $1,296 USD per Cucumbers are a Yucatan crophectare). As of now, it looks as if this year’s harvest will be a good one, so we might as well get busy in the kitchen. Try your hand at some of these cucumber recipes:

Environmental Protection & the Fishing Industry

What a difference 20 years (and an exploding population) can make. The total annual tonnage reported by the fishing industry in Yucatan is half what it was 20 years ago. Yet, the number of large fishing boats has increased by 60% and the number of smaller boats has increased by 55%. What we now face is increased demand for decreasing resources and it is believed that resources are decreasing because there is ongoing dumping of various forms of garbage into the Gulf in the area. El Comité Ciudadano de Protección al Medio Ambiente (Cocproma)(The Citizens Committee for Protection of the Environment) is now working with the Mayoress of Progreso to rectify this situation not only near Progreso, but all along the coast of Yucatan.

Pirates in Oxkutzcab

No – not pirates on ships. It seems that Oxkutzcab is suffering from an onslaught of merchandise pirates, some of whom are actually passing off pirated merchandise as the real thing. There are so many now that the police admit to being overwhelmed. Much of this merchandise seems to come from the free zone in Belize and is illegal for more than one reason. If you are shopping in Oxkutzcab, be especially careful of what you are buying, especially if you are buying CDs, videos, clothes, or toys.

Photograph by Claude-Joseph Charnay

UADY & Students from Mexico

This semester, UADY has already welcomed 68 “foreign” students, but has just welcomed 30 students from all around Mexico. It is expected that at least 100 students from other parts of the nation will come to UADY at different times throughout the year. As they return to their home states, they will bring a new understanding of Yucatan with them and help to build bridges between Yucatan and other states in Mexico.

Quote of the Week

From Claude-Joseph Désiré Charnay (2 May 1828 – 24 October 1915)

“Anyone who can leave the Yucatán with indifference has never been an artist and will never be a scholar."

See Charnay’s early 20th century photographs of Yucatan here and here.

And for Our Merida Insider Readers…

Guess what? Along with a sighting of one of the mythical dwarfs of Yucatan, there has also been a raccoon sighting! Check it out here.


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One Response to “Cucumbers, Cruise Ships & Charnay”

  1. Interesting that cruise ships and oceanic garbage dumping is mentioned in the same article. All cruise ships dump massive amounts of garbage at sea, especially outside nation waters. Many cruise lines have been penalized by the US for dumping sewage and garbage within US waters. If they are willing to risk it in areas carefully patrolled by the US Coast Guard, just think what they do in the Gulf and in Mexican waters, where patrol resources are much more limited.

    The advent of cruise ships in Progreso is nice economic news for some people. But it means ecological destruction.

    See: http://www.bluewaternetwork.org/campaign_ss_cruises.shtml
    and: http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/mar2003/2003-03-17s.asp
    and: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/348146_port21.html
    and: http://www.oceana.org/north-america/what-we-do/stop-cruise-ship-pollution/

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