News: LEAF Outreach and Valladolid
Vainilla Is Still Waiting For You
3 years in a shelter... and his only bad habit is being muy tranquilo (very calm). Yes - that’s right. Vainilla is a healthy, happy dog that just doesn’t (according to some) bark enough. But he’s the perfect companion for one person or a family. Won’t you please consider giving Vainilla a forever home at your house? If you are interested, contact us at Yucatan Living or go directly to AFAD’s website at www.afad.com.mx or e-mail us at infoyucatanlivingcom. Vainilla is an incredible dog. In addition to not barking, he doesn’t shed or have a doggy odor, and he’s kind, loyal and fun. This could be the dog of a lifetime - why not give him a chance?
Guess What? One More Year!
For the American gringos who drive to and from Yucatan, there will be no need of for a passport until June 2009! This from MSNBC. There is something to be said for a block vote of millions in an election year, don’t you think?
LEAF comes to the Yucatan!
We had a lovely visit from Sid Heilbraun this week, Mexico's representative from the innovative LEAF Program. What is LEAF, you might ask? LEAF stands for the Lake Eden Arts Festival, located in Asheville, North Carolina, a place that shares many expat residents with Merida. The LEAF Outreach program has been providing musical instruments and education to children in indigenous villages around the world, training them to preserve their culture's music and to perform that music for worldwide audiences. They have ongoing projects in Rwanda, Panama and Guatemala. Through the hard work of the Sister Cities project, they have chosen Xocen, just outside of Valladolid, as the site of their next project. They have located a local artisan there who makes traditional Mayan melodic drums called Tun-Kul and they will be working with him to teach the children of Xocen how to play and perform music with these instruments. Sid and his wife Emily are very interested in starting a similar program in or near Merida and have asked us to put out the call to any of our readers who might know of a teacher or group of students who could benefit from LEAF sponsorship. Read more about the program at their website here. And if you want to participate or have information for Sid, please contact him at sidh "at" townandmountain.com.
Daylight Savings Time Not a Hit in Yucatan
Schoolchildren and their parents are bemoaning daylight savings time. Parents say they aren’t saving on their electric bills because they have to get up when its still dark, so they’re using just as much electricity as if they had kept regular time. Children are late to school and that is causing a disruption in classwork. Overall, even though Daylight Savings Time is probably here to stay, parents and children in Yucatan are not happy about it. Schools have given them one week to adjust before holding the children accountable for being in class on time.
Protection from Infection
Our entire area is growing rapidly in the development of modern healthcare. Did you ever wonder what happens to all of that medical garbage. Some of that stuff is deadly, especially needles, bandages, and the residue from medical tests. Now we know that our city’s hospitals are not the only ones concerned with what happens to medical wastes in Yucatan. There is a company in Merida that provides trucks, throughout the state, that are specifically designed to transport hazardous medical wastes. This puts the Health Services Department of the State of Yucatan in compliance with all national rules and regulations. Now you can breathe easy. No one is burning hazardous medical garbage and it is not ending up in the landfills. This is yet another worry that we can put to rest and enjoy living, working and playing in Yucatan.
100 Nurses to Meet in Progreso for Additional Training
Beginning on the 12th of April, International Nurses’ Day, and ending on the 16th of April, 100 nurses are expected to take additional training classes in community health in Progreso. While some will be local nurses, many will come from other areas of Yucatan for this event. The theme of the event will be ethics, quality and humanism in the infirmary. We often sing the praises of health care in Yucatan, applauding our wonderful physicians. We forget that it is the nurses who provide most of the hands-on health care we enjoy and that they should also be included with great praise. We hope they have a wonderful Nurses’ Day and enjoy their stay in Progreso.
New Southern Highway Project Begins This Week
The new highway through the southern part of Yucatan will connect both tourists and commerce with the Mayan Riviera and Cancun. This highway is important to our agricultural exporters because both Quintana Roo and Belize are significant importers of our animal, vegetable and fruit crops. For tourists, this highway will provide a route that is rich in history - and it won’t hurt a bit that it will pass through some of the small towns that have manufacturing locations for everything from high-end furniture to high-fashion shoes. Since this project is part of a national plan for improving the nation’s infrastructure, it will be finished in just three years. The project will be completed in stages: (Stage 1) Muna through Ticul to Oxkutzcab (to the South) and Peto through Dzonotchel to Ichmul (to the East), and (Stage 2) Modernization of the Oxkuztcab to Tekax to Tzuacab to Peto (to the South) and Ichmul to Chikindzonot to Tekom to Chichimila and Valladolid (to the East). Most gringos think of moving to Yucatan because of the beaches; but we think that a whole lot of good country folks from north of the border are missing out on the opportunity to consider vacationing and/or retiring to some of the best countryside ever created. Why not come on down and visit?
A New Tradition in Progreso
One of the things that we love best about the State of Yucatan is the concern shown by every Yucateco for those who are of “different capacities,” and especially disabled children. This past Sunday, a new tradition began in Progreso. Eight disabled children had managed to complete their catechism classes and received their first communion during the Fiesta del Senor de la Divina Misericordia. The mass was held in the Iglesia de la Purisima Concepcion y San Jose and the title of Father Lorenzo Mex Jimenez’s sermon was Divina Misericordia (Divine Mercy). It is expected that many more disabled children will complete their catechism this year and that this service will become a beloved tradition in Progreso. We would also like to take this opportunity to remind our local readers of the recent request of some of Merida’s disabled children to be included in our activities whenever we need extra volunteer hands.
Smoking Banned in Mexico City
The No Smoking Ban was passed back in November, but went into effect on April 3. Fines for smoking in public places, including in bars, in Mexico City, range from $50 MXP to $300 MXP for the individuals and much higher fines for the owners of the places where individuals break the law. It remains to be seen whether the government will be able to enforce the non-smoking laws in this city of 18 million people. Might as well get ready - its headed here within six months but, from what we understand, our laws will not be as strict and we will continue to have defined areas for smokers and non-smokers.
Today in Your Community Continues
On Saturday, April 5, a total of 300 individuals in Chan San Antonio, Tizimin, benefitted from the services of a group of 70 UADY students in 11 different disciplines. More than 50% of those making the trip were students of programs in the Campus of Health Sciences. Most are studying Medicine, Nutrition, Rehabilitation, Dentistry, and General Medicine. The students will be in Izamal and Tepakan on the 19th and 29th of April. To date, the students of UADY have taken care of more than 29,000 people in the interior of our state. This is one of the best programs we have ever seen - first, because it provides medical, legal, and social services for those who would not otherwise be able to afford such professional services and second, because this program’s success can be attributed to the hard work and determination of young volunteers. We are especially glad that foreign students participate in this program. What they learn here can be taken home to help the underprivileged in their own nations. Congratulations to UADY for having developed a program that is the envy of the world and for standing by it year after year.
UADY Supports Adolescent Causes & Programs
This week is the sixth week of the Health of the Adolescent. The event is being held at Escuela Preparatoria Uno at UADY. Topics covered will include techniques to help adolescents cope with violence, obesity, emotions, self-image and self-esteem, and abandonment of the family. During this same week, there will be a presentation of the various means by which Mayan young people are represented in various forms of artistic media, such as art, music, videos and photography. These presentations will cover subjects as varied as ethnic music on the radio and Mayan midwives in Chiapas, but all will focus on the role of Mayan youth. The people of the State of Yucatan are working hard to ensure that all age groups are included in programs that not only point out the successes of these generational groups, but also help to guide them toward a brighter future.
Do You Live in the San Francisco Area?
Last week, we reported on the opening of Casa Yucateco-USA, in Los Angeles, California, and the Federation de Clubes Yucateco-USA. This week, it is San Francisco that’s in the news. The Benchmark Institute is going to have a benefit called A Taste of Tamales By the Bay. The Benchmark Institute is a training and performance development organization dedicated to increasing the quality and quantity of legal services to low income communities.
Firearms Recovery Program
Yucatan has a far smaller number of citizens who possess firearms than do other states, but even that small number needs to be reduced so that we do not fall into the dangerous situations found in other areas. This is a situation that the Yucateco Government is addressing before it becomes a problem. The Programa de Canje de Armas 2008 is now in effect and will continue throughout the year. In exchange for turning in weapons, citizens will be given food pantries and/or bonds. Historically, Yucatan has been relatively crime-free. You can find our very low crime rates on links from this page and compare them, crime by crime, with other places in Mexico. If you would like to look at crime rates for the U.S., you can click here. At the present time, Yucatan’s very small rate of crime is actually falling and the government is certain that the Program for Firearms Recovery will be yet another tool to help that downward trend continue.
Remittances Down 2.8%
From the Associated Press, we learn that remittances to Mexico are down 2.8% in the first two months of 2008. With the economy slowing down in the U.S., remittances sent home by immigrants are also slowing down. This could be a significant blow to the small towns and villages that most immigrants call home because of the loss of matching government funds. There are two government-sponsored programs that could take a hard hit. First, in the 3 x 1 Program, the Government provides matching funds at the rate of 3 to 1 for such community projects as restoration, as well as streets and parks. The other program is tied to agriculture. In this program, the Government will match funds 4 to 1 if they are invested in any form of agricultural business. For example, we know of a very successful cattle feed lot in a northern state that was begun just a year ago with funds from the 4 x 1 Program. A 2.8% drop in remittances may not sound like much of a percentage but it works out to $98 million MXP for the first two months of 2008. That is money lost to community projects and to the development of new agricultural businesses. Little or no growth in remittances for the year is expected. However, if remittances do manage to meet last year’s total, $23.98 billion MXP will flow from the U.S. into Mexico, which will be the second largest source of foreign currency after oil exports.
ING Sets Sights on Brazil and Mexico
ING, a Dutch financial services company, is one of the 20 largest financial institutions worldwide. ING provides banking, investments, life insurance and retirement services to more than 75 million customers in Europe, the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Asia and Australia. From CNNMoney.com, we learn that ING “will focus on organic growth and acquisitions in Brazil and Mexico as part of its aim to become Latin America’s leading player in pensions and life insurance, and to be among the top five there for investment.” “Brazil and Mexico account for almost 3/4 of the region’s wealth management assets.”
Rabies Vaccinations in Motul
If you live in the area of Motul, there is a mobile rabies vaccination unit that is moving through the 20 different precincts of the municipality. The poster boy for this program is a little Chihuahua named Nicolas. It seems that Nicolas was the first one to get his rabies vaccination in Motul and, amid much fanfare and with the mayoress in attendance, he “howled too much.” Poor little thing. But, we hear that he was the star of the show and his owners can now rest assured that their little Nicolas is safe from rabies. You can call City Hall in Motul for a list of locations and dates for the mobile rabies vaccination unit in your municipality.
Valladolid: Every Other Sunday
Beginning this past Sunday, Valladolid is going to have a music festival in their main park every other Sunday. This means their next dates for April will be April 13th and 27th. Valladolid is a growing city that will soon have not just a taste of the cultural venues found in Merida, but a full scale cultural calendar all their own. This is a city that now has excellent health care, great shopping opportunities, an international airport, an interstate highway that runs between Cancun and Merida, and is near to almost everything - including Chichen Itza. For those of our readers who are looking for a retirement home, Valladolid might just be the place for you.
New Total Gym and Fitness Center in Valladolid
Valladolid never really was a “sleepy little Mayan town,” but it was rather off the beaten path. As if the news of their new cultural events was not enough for one week, the announcement of the opening of the Total Gym and Fitness Center was made just this week as well. Services include not only the presence of fitness equipment, but classes in dance, aerobics, and self-defense. They will have a nutrition expert on staff and personal trainers to help guide the expected 500 new customers. All in all, the new gym will provide 30 new jobs in Valladolid. For those who might think this leap forward is gringo driven, nothing could be farther from the truth. Valladolid is a successful municipality (county) and small city that have been here for a while. Even the churches are 15th century! Always moving forward, the municipality of Valladolid even has 46 preschools, so a new, modern gym is hardly surprising and surely welcomed by the citizens who live there. Yucatan Living wishes them all prosperity and good health.