News Starting December 12, 2011
In Mexico, how do you know when the Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe is near? That’s easy. You begin to see groups of individuals and groups, traveling on foot or by bicycle, traveling long distances as part of a promise they made to La Virgen during the year. To learn more about the history and meaning of Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe and the Antorchistas Guadalupanos, read Yucatan Living’s The Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Last week, the Antorchistas Guadalupanos were on the roads throughout Yucatan. Thankfully, everyone reached their destination without incident. The Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe is over for 2011 and we are looking forward to celebrating next year when all of the 2012 travelers will be here in Yucatan with us.
Adoption Workshop Held in Oxkutzcab
At the request of dozens of couples and individuals in Oxkutzcab, the Municipal DIF has held an adoption workshop. The attendees were childless couples and couples whose children are grown, but who feel they still have love to give as parents. Adoption, including adoption by single parents, has been growing in Yucatan and speaks directly to th character of Yucatecos as loving and caring people. If all of the people who asked for this workshop eventually do decide to adopt, dozens of Yucatan’s orphans and orphaned sibling groups will have found a family at last. During this Christmas season, this is one of the best stories we have seen.
Chess Classes in Mayan and Spanish
If anybody needs a phrase to describe Yucatan and her children, it would be “Land of soccer and chess.” We can see all of the soccer games, but we don’t often get a chance to see all of the chess playing that is going on in every village and school yard. Earlier this year, we reported on a group of children in one town who were making their own chess sets because not enough were available for them. Now, the state is beginning bilingual (Spanish/Mayan) chess classes in the Mayan-speaking Municipality of Maxcanu. Yucatan is already home to the Carlos Torre Repetto Memorial Chess Tournament, held in Merida and Progreso, so it is not a surprise that competition among Yucatecos is stiff. Making it possible for those who speak Mayan to enter the game can only benefit the entire state. The Maya do tend to excel at every challenge they take on, so look for a Maya chess champion in the very near future.
Duck Hunting Season in Yucatan
Did you know that we have both ducks and Canadian geese wintering in the mangroves around Sisal and Celestun? We also have a growing duck hunting industry. This year, duck hunting season opened December 2 and will remain open for 120 days, until March 25, 2012. Duck hunts leave from Sisal and Celestun, and hunters can either contract with a professional hunting company or just show up and hunt with local fishermen who work as duck hunting guides when the weather is not conducive to fishing. Since many laws must be followed and permits obtained, we recommend a professional hunting guide, at least until the hunter becomes more familiar with language, laws and permits. The two that come to mind are Galo Munoz Outfitters and Adventour Sisal Lodge. We have found reviews online for both Galo Munoz Outfitters and Adventour Sisal Lodge. We hope you enjoy the reviews and duck hunting in Yucatan.
Chicxulub Food Bank: Eco Art
Sharon Helgason, with the assistance of the Púrpura Plástika Artistic Foundation, has organized a three month Eco-Art Workshop at the Chicxulub Food Bank. There are approximately 30 children enrolled in the workshop that is taught by Alberto Varela Chavez. This workshop has been touring Yucatan in local schools and community centers with the goal of helping children connect with their environment and with their culture. To learn more about Púrpura Plástika and these workshops, visit the Púrpura Plástika website.
Lobster & Pulpo
Pulpo season was lackluster this year because of cold and stormy weather. However, the lobster catch seems to be flourishing. Since July, more than 135 tons of lobster tails have been caught and the export price is $150 pesos per kilo. In the domestic market, the price is $350 pesos per kilo. Last year, the lobster fishermen had to stop fishing when the catch reached 85 tons, but this year, there is no limit. Most of Yucatan’s lobster catch goes to the Mayan Riviera, Mexico City and the United States. There is not much demand for lobster in Yucatan because of the price.
UADY’s 2012 Exchange Students Announced
UADY has announced that 63 students have received scholarships to study either abroad or in other parts of Mexico. A total of 48 students will go to universities in Spain, France, Austria, Germany, the United States, Argentina, Colombia, Panama and Brazil. The other 15 students will attend universities in San Luis Potosi, Guadalajara, andMexico City. All of these students have also received scholarships from PIMES-UADY and other organizations that will underwrite their room, board and transportation expenses. Each year brings hundreds of foreign students to UADY and the other universities in Merida. It is exceptionally gratifying to know that so many of Yucatan’s students qualify for scholarships around the world. Forming bonds between young people and cultures that are different from their own is one of the best ways to take us one step closer to a world in which there truly no boundaries.
Coming Home for Christmas: Alejandro Pinzon
This is an update on our favorite conductor from right here in Merida. Alejandro Pinzon is currently working on his PhD in Orchestra Conducting at West Virginia University. In one year, he will be the first in the history of the state to have earned that distinction. While he is here, Alejandro will premier the first of his Conducting Workshop Series: The Art of Telling Others What to Do (En Espanol: El Arte de Dar Ordenes). However, before heading home, the Maestro will have his violin students present their First Grand Students’ Recital, in Waynesburg, PA. We are also pleased to announce that Alejandro Pinzon recently became one of only ten recipients of the prestigious Valerie Canady Award, a memorial scholarship awarded to WVU Fine Arts students who have shown excellence in their studies and professional development, and who are fluent in at least two languages. We have watched as Alejandro Pinzon has developed into a professional of some note in his field and can tell you now that the foundation has already been laid for even more accomplishments in 2012. Look for great things from Merida’s own Alejandro Pinzon for many years to come!
A Christmas Giving Opportunity
One of our expats recently discovered an organization called AMANC Peninsular. This organization helps children with cancer and their families. Many of these families come from small towns and cannot afford medicine, medical care or housing while their children are in the hospital for treatment. AMANC is currently working on constructing a convalescent home for their infant to age 19 patients and hope to break ground next month. If you would like to help bring Christmas to these children, your help would be deeply appreciated. Please only purchase gifts that do not require batteries and deliver the presents by December 18, as they are planning a party for the children on the 19th. Their office is located at Calle 59 No. 253 x 32 y 32A San Ramon Norte. If you need to contact them, please call Gabriela at 999-949-2537. If you read Spanish, you may also visit the AMANC Peninsular website.
Directions: From the Burger King glorieta on Montejo, take Circuito east just past Chapur. Turn left (north) on calle 20. This is a 4 lane road with a light. Go about 20 blocks or so until you get to the T. At that intersection there is a big building called Golden Island. Curve to the right, then curve left onto 32. Go 1 block, then go left onto 59. Offices are inside the white building on the right. AMANC Peninsular.
Our Deepest Sympathy
This past weekend, Canadians James Reimer and Jan Drake drowned while swimming at night in Progreso. This was their third winter in Yucatan. The entire staff of Yucatan Living and Yolisto would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the families and friends of James and Jan.