News starting March 16, 2009
German Consul Gives Books to M.E.L.L.
Many Mexicans are of German origin and cultural ties to Germany continue to be strong. In the last days of his tenure in office, German Consul Johanes Rommel presented 200 books to the Merida English Language Library. The library is of particular importance to the consul because he participated in its early beginnings. Today, the library has grown to be one of the most important expat and visitors, and is home to books in English, French, German, and other languages. Congratulations to M.E.L.L. We won’t say "goodbye" to Johanes Rommel because we are certain that he will continue to be a part of the very fabric of the library he helped to start.
While we’re on the subject of books…
Don’t throw out those books or leave them behind when you go north! Drop off gently used books at the Merida English Language Library, during the hours between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday thru Friday. MELL survives on donations of books from its members.
Progreso Book Exchange
If you live in Progreso or the neighboring beach communities, there is now a book exchange located in the Centro de Idiomas Progreso Language School on Calle 31 between 76 and 78. Hours are Tuesday and Thursday between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. There is a membership fee for the book exchange.
Those Radical Mayan Women!
Sometimes, we just can’t help but laugh at "new discoveries" made about the Maya. For example, on the International Day of the Woman, the wonderful Peto radio station, Xepet (aka The Voice of the Mayans), allowed two ladies to lead a women’s forum on the air. What they got was 2 hours of discussion not only about the value of women in the preservation of Mayan culture, but also a pretty lively discussion about women’s rights and obligations. Descriptions of the show tend to include the phrase "radical women," but those of us who know the history of our state, and the history of the Maya, know that life and history are often altered when "radical Mayan women" decide that the time has come. Congratulations to all of the ladies who participated in this discussion and all of our best wishes to them and to Xepet, The Voice of the Mayans. For links to Xepet and other radio stations in Yucatan, click here. Xepet has a great webcast, so do give it a try.
A Mayan Woman at the United Nations
Can’t change the world with war? Can’t change the world by force? Ah! But there is a universal truth that many have forgotten: The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. Remember that one? The Mayan women of Yucatan remember it, and they have joined with women around the world to take responsibility for improving social justice, especially in the areas of health, education, and productivity. Yucatan’s own Abigail Uc, General Director at the Institute for Developing Mayan Culture in the State of Yucatan, is a panelist serving at the U.N. and working on a project that explores inner resources (the heart, soul, and will of the people) in the context of equal participation and shared responsibility between women and men. Congratulations to Abigail Uc and to all of those "radical Mayan women" who actually know that change comes from within and who work so hard to make a difference in the world as we know it.
Yucatan Living: An Ayuntamiento de Merida Site of Interest
Yucatan Living is proud to announce that we were recently included in the Sites of Interest on the website of the Ayuntamiento de Merida. We are listed under Medios de Comunicacion, along with Dario Oficial del Goberno del Estado de Yucatan, Camara Nacional de la Industria de Radio y Television, Diario de Yucatan, Diario Por Esto, Grupo Rivas, Exa, and Grupo Sipse. When Yucatan Living began, our goal was simply to serve the expat community in Merida and throughout the State of Yucatan. As with other initially gringo organizations, such as the Merida English Language Library, we soon found that our rapidly growing audience also included a significant number of Yucatecos, both at home and abroad. Now, Yucatan Living has matured to the point that our goals are more focused on what the title of our site implies, i.e. Living in Yucatan – no matter one’s nationality or ethnicity. Therefore, we take great pride and pleasure in having been added as one of the Medios de Comunication recommended as a site of interest by the Ayuntamiento de Merida.
8 Rules for Bartering
This week, we ran across an article that was great fun to read – a Canadian visitor learns to barter from a Merida Master. The story itself is good reading and the 8 rules are priceless. If you are relatively new to Yucatan, you might benefit from the lessons learned in this article. Old dogs can learn new tricks – and you can too! Click here to learn all about the time tested art of bartering. If you have a good bartering tale to tell, do leave it in the comments. We would love to hear it!
Life in the Interior of Yucatan
We can always count on Bicycle Yucatan to provide us with the latest in what’s happening on the highways and byways of the interior of our state. While the rest of the world seems to have lost its collective mind, the interior of the State of Yucatan is as quiet and peaceful as it has always been. Bicycle Yucatan has great stories of their bicycle and bus trips, along with wonderful pictures of the country and people we hold so dear. The next time someone badgers you with e-mails about safety in Mexico, send them to Bicycle Yucatan with "nuff said" as your answer.
CONALEP en Yucatan Bonus Checks
This week, more than 200 employees of CONALEP en Yucatan received an appreciation bonus for a job well done. For those who do not know, CONALEP is the vocational-technical school system in Yucatan. Their curricula includes certification in Administration, Food and Beverages, General Infirmary, Computers, Accounting, Maintenance of Equipment for Calculation and Digital Control, Industrial Productivity, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Hospitality and Tourism. Those who graduate from these schools have a bright future before them. Many choose to use the skills they learn here as a means of support while they go on to attend the university and work toward their chosen profession. Our congratulations to everyone who works in the CONALEP System and to all of the students who take advantage of everything they have to offer. Visit CONALEP’s website here.
Job Fair and Support for Small Businesses
On March 21st and 22nd, there is going to be an Expo at the Convention Center that sounds like speed-dating for small businesses and job seekers. These two days will be packed with employers looking to fill 500 jobs, as well as 168 companies, institutions and government offices available to offer credit, financial support, and programs designed to aid small businesses, especially small businesses in the interior of the State. Yucatan is so serious about helping those in the interior that they are vowing to go out to all 105 outlying municipalities, pick the people up, and bring them in to attend the expo. Once the expo is over, the micro empresarios who have made a case for supporting their small businesses will be on the fast track to financial support, credit, raw materials, and other benefits to support their entrance into full participation in the growing economy of both the State of Yucatan and Mexico. We are quite proud of the fact that Yucatan has a long history of supporting small, home-based businesses. These businesses add not only to the economy, but also to the sense of self-esteem and well being found throughout the state. Contratulations to all who attend and will benefit from this Expo.
Honey At All Time High Price But Needs Rain
Where is Chaac when you need him? Surely he isn’t waiting for the Spring Equinox (March 21) to bring rain! For the first time, Yucatan’s honey has hit $30 pesos per kilo; but there’s a slight problem with the producers’ being able to deliver the product this year. If they do not get a significant amount of rain in the next few days – and if the weather does not warm up at night, there will be no flowers and that means that the honey crop will fail. The demand for Yucatan’s honey is greater abroad than anyone would have ever imagined. We are thrilled that our beekeepers are able to produce such an outstanding product and we are keeping our fingers crossed that Mother Nature (or maybe Chaac) cooperates during the crucial days and weeks ahead.
Support Our Student Programs
Its that time of year again. Time to look ahead and plan for next school-year’s support of the students to whom we have made a personal commitment. Please review our original article on the Apoyo Program in Progreso, our new article on the two projects (Telchac and Cholul) that are cloning the Apoyo Program, and the Proyecto Itzaes program that is now operating in several towns and villages between Chicxulub and Cholul.
As we were reading an article, in The Mex-Files, about Yucatan and our own Working Gringo – the title of the next article published on The Mex-Files caught our eye (The Mota In Thine Own Eye). After having vowed, once again, to leave this stressful topic forever, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to say "Yes! What HE said!" We do hope that the choir singing from this hymnal may finally be large enough to be heard where it needs to be heard and by those who need to hear it.
Municipalities Asked to Reduce Power Use
On March 11, the president of the Association of Municipalties of Yucatan made an urgent request that they reduce their use of public lighting by 50%, pumping of water by 44.3%, and lighting in public buildings by 36.9%. That does not necessarily mean that there will be a reduction in perceived services to the public. It does mean turning off lights and not pumping water when those services are not being used. The expected savings will be used to purchase new equipment and technology that will make it possible for Yucatan’s municipalities to serve their citizens well far into the future.
A reader has suggested that Merida might just be a great place for the Zipcar program. We think so too! Are there enough of us out there to warrant the program? Zipcar is a privately-held company that will invest in a city if enough residents ask about it AND it looks feasible. If you are interested, go to their website and register your interest for the city of Merida.