The Aftermath of Hurricane Dean
Hurricane Dean has generated a lot of news. While most of us seem to have dodged the bullet this time, this hurricane’s size gave us pause for thought. We hope we never take a hit from a Category 5 hurricane. However, we are well aware that the odds are not in our favor. This is the time, for each of us, to review what we did to prepare for this storm, as well as make plans to rectify situations we never thought about until it would have been too late. The windy day we had at the height of the storm was just the very tip of the storm, and yet some of those gusts (and certainly the wind at the beach) should give us all pause for thought. We hope everyone will be prepared so when the “real deal” comes along – we’ll all still be here to tell the tales of what we did during “the big one.”
While those people living in the more well-known cities on the Yucatan Peninsula, such as Merida, Cancun and Playa del Carmen avoided even minor disasters, the same cannot be said for some of the smaller communities. Hardest hit, of course, were those along the coast, especially Tulum and Mahajual. Our friends at Sin Duda Villas in Xcalak survived without major damage, as did many others. But Hemingway’s in Tulum was hard hit, as were most of the homes and businesses in Mahajual and many also in Chetumal. If you read the local press, you can also see that the inland cities between Mahajual and Campeche, such as those around Oxkutzcab, were also hard hit. This is the "breadbasket" of our state, and many fruit trees and crops were destroyed.
We hope to bring you some firsthand reporting in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, we know of one place you can send apoyo (support), if you are so inclined. The following is a report from a "friend of a friend" from Mahaual:
From Julie MInter, a dive shop owner in Mahahual…
Hello to all of our Friends and Neighbors and Family of diving friends, all of our associates and family in Mahahual.
As you all know, hurricane Dean came in with a vengeance and it went right smack in the middle of Mahahual.
I received news of the following:
From the new lighthouse all down the town of Mahahual, it is no longer Mahahual, everything is gone! Our friends and family in Mahahual, Luna De Plata, Cueva Del Lobo, Blue Iguana, Blue Ocean Safari, Dreamtime to name a few, are gone. The port is under water, and it will be a 2 to 3 weeks before the water recedes. Tequila is gone too. Km 10 was spared but everything else was damaged. Our prayers are with all of our friends who wned business and homes. The Casitas are gone too. Broken glass, water and wind damage is seen all over, per the owners of Luna De Plata who were there the day after to assess the damage, only the new rooms in the back were spared. It is a shame that not everyone knew or got to visit this beautiful well-kept secret that we knew as "our private paradise", our little island.
Now we are in dire need of supplies., We need generators, water, food, clothing, lamps, torches, flash lights, trash bags, clothes, beds… Well we need everything!!!! if you know of any organizations or if you are willing to provide us with the much-needed assistance, please, please, please help. We will rebuild Mahahual with your help. Lots of us didn’t have hurricane insurance, but we will prevail and come back to insure you can come back and get away to our private paradise…
And from Catriona Brown…
Our dear friend Kathleen Price will be going to Mahaual very soon and I urge you to send some assistance to her. She is extremely dedicated and has enormous perserverance – your money and goods will be well placed in her hands. Know that they will be used to benefit those most in need, please send ASAP to:
Mission of Love
2054 Hemlock Court
Youngstown, Ohio 44515
For more general donations, here are some other ideas:
The International Red Cross site accepts credit card donations and you can specify that your donation go to aid Hurricane Dean victims. To donate online to the Red Cross go here:
donate.ifrc.org/ Donations take under 5 minutes to complete. If you are not in Mexico you might find it easiest to donate to the Red Cross.
If you are in Mexico, Caritas is very much in need of cash donations along with donations of goods. Caritas is actively helping people rebuild their lives and homes and to replant their fields. They are sending truckloads of goods into affected areas on a daily basis. Caritas will accept everything from foodstuffs, to bedding to cooking utensils to medical supplies to construction material to toilet paper to soap, which they will then distribute to those in need. For people in the south of Yucatan in particular, they need food, clothing and shoes.
Caritas has several drop-off locations in Cancun including their location at the City of Joy (CIUDAD DE LA ALEGRIA) on Lopez Portillo and at the Catedral de Cancun on Ave. Ixcun in SM33. Caritas’ drop off locations in Quintana Roo are listed here: www.caritasqr.org/centros_acopio.htm. In Merida, the drop off location is on in the Centro on Calle 53 between Calles 58 and 60.
You may make monetary donations to Caritas at their drop-off locations or by money transfer to: Fundación Ciudad de la Alegría, A. C. en BBVA Bancomer No. 0108579334 Suc. 5764 en Cancún, (CLABE) 012691001058793343, with a note that it is for donativo huracán Dean.
Editors Note: Hurricane Dean is now long gone (April 2008) but Mahajual and the beautiful Costa Maya is better than ever. A group of business owners have a website that shows you how things look now, one year later. Check out their website: Mahajual After Dean
Yucatan has a long history of being involved with the arts and music in European countries, especially in France, Spain and Italy. Even today, the resumes of many musicians and maestros in our own orchestras reveal that they spent a number of years with the symphonies of these nations. Thankfully, the path between Europe and Yucatan is not one-way. In 1997, Yucatan’s dear friend Luciano Pavarotti performed one of his three-tenors extravaganzas at Chichen Itza to benefit Mayan children. Now he is recovering from pancreatic cancer surgery and five rounds of chemotherapy in a hospital in Italy. Luciano Pavarotti is as much a wonder of the world as is our own Chichen Itza and we hope our readers will keep him in their thoughts and prayers throughout this difficult time.
How Fast Could You Load a Fishing Boat?
We know that Working Gringa doesn’t eat squid – but – the squid harvest supports 15,000 Yucateco families and 390 fishing boats, so anything that disrupts fishing can be a major disaster for Yucatan. This week, in advance of Hurricane Dean, all squid fishermen were ordered into port. …and they all pulled out to sea again within two hours of receiving the “All Clear.” That included loading ice, fuel, food, and men. Witnesses say that the speed with which they loaded those boats and got out of port was a “sight to be seen!” We wish them “Good Fishing” and hope there are no more hurricane scares for the rest of the season!
Newspaper Stories in Yucatan
What is it, about Yucatan, that draws so many of us “old folks” here? All you have to do is read the newspapers and you’ll know. Yucatan is the home of our childhoods, especially when it comes to a feeling of community that is strongly supported by newspaper stories. Do you remember when our newspapers printed stories about Miss Suzie Q, accompanied by her mother, Mrs. John Doe, has returned from a fortnight in Atlanta where they visited with her father’s second cousin-twice removed? It sounds hilarious to our grandchildren – but it sure strikes a cord in our hearts when we read the papers in Yucatan. This week, there was a fender-bender in an outlying city. I can tell you who the drivers were, including plate numbers; why the accident happened; how much the damage was ($378.38 USD), and that the 2 year old in the back seat received only a bump on her forehead. I can tell you who got engaged, who got married, who had a 50th wedding anniversary, who had a birthday party, who went shopping at the mall (!!!), who won the “Petit Chef” award (preschoolers!), which schools had anniversaries, who made their First Communion… and there are entire photo albums online for each, including identification of all who attended. We believe that the way the news is reported here is one of the greatest contributors to the stability of the culture. When the rest of the world is threatening each other with guns, there is sure to be a six-year old in Yucatan whose birthday party is more important.
Hunting in Yucatan
Last school year, high school students began marching against the hunting of deer in Yucatan and, evidently, the adults were not listening. This week, someone, in the countryside, came near to killing a child when illegally shooting deer. From what we hear, there are about 20 illegal hunters currently being sought by the police. Guns are generally illegal in Mexico, however, and though many farmers have shotguns, bullets are only sold sparingly. We have a quite nice population of turkey and deer, and the police have a little something for those who choose to shoot them. If the deer population increases to the point where it is unhealthy for them, then you may see legal deer hunting. Just know that today is not that day.
If you want to hunt in Yucatan, plan now. Do your homework. Ducks Unlimited did – and enjoys a good, if limited, relationship with the state. You should also not get the wrong idea when you read websites about hunting in “the” Yucatan. “The” Yucatan refers to the peninsula, on which there are three states. Yucatan (no “the” in front) refers to the State of Yucatan, which does NOT allow hunting. By the way… cameras are more than welcome! Save a deer – Take a picture! If you do, we’ll even publish it for you on Yucatan Living!
Foreign Investment Up 53% in First Half of 2007
Direct foreign investment in Mexico was $13.244 billion for the first half of 2007, up 39.2% from the same period last year. By the end of the year, it should reach $23 billion. To tell you the truth, everybody expected the annual foreign investment not to surpass last year’s $19 billion. After all, everybody kept saying that the economy is slowing down in Mexico. Those kinds of statements always did seem a little “odd” to us. We don’t know much about Mexico’s economy, but Yucatan’s economy sure looks like it’s doing great!
Oh – and, by the way, aren’t you interested in who is investing so much in Mexico? The top six are (drum roll please): The United States (60.7%), way ahead of Spain (13.9%), Bermuda (7.3%), Virgin Islands (4%), Holland (3.8%), and France (3%).
What are they investing in?
Manufacturing (44.2%), automotive, household-electrical appliances, and their service (34.7%),
Communication and Transportation (3.8%),
Congratulations to Mexico and to the State of Yucatan as they enter the 21st century on a positive economic note. We are confident this trend will continue well into the future!