Sweet Honey and the Virgin
New $12 million peso Honey Processing Plant
No one is saying exactly where Yucatan's new honey processing plant is going to be, but what we do know is that it is going to be in the countryside, near the people who produce the honey and need the jobs. This past year, Yucatan produced 1,442 tons of honey, 63% of which has been exported to Germany, Switzerland, England and the United States. In light of the worldwide collapse of hives, its good to know that the honey industry here is alive and well. Those of us who live here know how delicious this honey is. We love to go to our local mercado and buy a coca-cola bottle full of honey fresh from the countryside!
More New Government Sponsored Cinemas
One need only look at Yucatan Living's Events column to see that the Government of Yucatan and the City Council of Merida sponsor more free cinema events than we can possibly attend in any given week. We especially love the Classic Cinema Series. However, now that the private company that rents the six screens in the Convention Center is turning its attention to more lucrative cinemas in the new malls, the State, supported by the Cineteca National, is planning on using at least some of those screens to expand the kinds of world class series and specials we see at Teatro Merida. These are exceptionally well appointed theaters and we look forward to seeing what the State has in store for the cinema-loving public.
Business Women's Cooperative in Hunucmá
Over the course of the past few years, a number of groups of rural artisans have banded together in local cooperatives, usually under the auspices of the Secretary of Rural Development and Fishing. These business organizations have the support of the State and their future looks brighter than ever. This time, it is the business women of Hunucmá who have formed an association that will allow them a much stronger bargaining position in business activities, including in the wholesale markets.
La Casas de las Productoras
Did you know we have our own Yucateco Cabbage Patch and Barbie dolls in Yucatan? Just wait until you see how cute they are on La Casas de las Productoras. Yucatan's Secretary of Rural Development and Fishing is helping a number of rural businesses sell their products online and at fairs throughout the state and nation. To see some of these marvelous products, visit the website of La Casas de las Productoras, the contact link on each product's page has the name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address of the company that produces it. By the way – those Barbies are on sale at the Shoe Fair – see our Events column this week for details.
Cold Weather in Yucatan
In the past week, halfway through December, we have had yet another tropical storm in the Caribbean and we are in the middle of the 13th norte of the season. To make matters worse, this is a huge rain event that has caused 18,000 people to be evacuated from Chiapas for fear of another flood there and in Tabasco. But anyone who has been around the Yucatan for 20 years or so knows there have been some observable changes.
Doesn't it seem odd to you that expats in the State of Yucatan keep claiming this state is the safest place on Earth – but you keep seeing “Drug wars – unrelenting violence in Mexico – death, torture” – every newspaper buzz word you can imagine in U.S. papers? Today, we learned that there have been 2,500 drug related murders in Mexico in 2007. Did you do the math? That's less than half the per capita rate of drug murders in the U.S. We know that Yucatan has “pass through” (or pass OVER) problems, especially in some remote parts of the state. But we can also tell you that, and we cannot stress this strongly enough, our state is not only a safe place to live, work, and visit, but the safest place we know of.
Mexico Auctioning Road, Airport, and Port Construction Packages
The current President of Mexico has ambitious plans for launching Mexico into the 21st century, many of which must be undertaken quickly if they are to be in place by the end of his term in office. Right after Chichen Itza became one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Yucatan Living reported that an entire planeload of Spanish industrialists landed in Quintana Roo and that the national government was talking to them about serious investments in Riviera Maya… and, as part of the perks, Quintana Roo would also get new roads. Another Mayan Riviera construction package is to be auctioned off in the early months of 2008 – the long awaited new airport!
Do you know who CEMEX is? They are certainly in the news these days, having raised their price for a 110 lb bag of cement from $96 pesos to just over $100 pesos. CEMEX is the third largest cement company in the world. They recently bought a very large cement company in the western U.S. and the courts made them sell their interest in several Florida based companies to keep them from having a monopoly on cement in that country. Even then, their stock prices only fell by 1.73% and were on the rise again by the end of last week. CEMEX is in over 50 nations now, and one of Mexico's biggest and most visibly successful companies.
Mexico Emerges as Leader on Climate Change
Caring for the environment, for those who live in the State of Yucatan, has now become part of us. Without even realizing it, we consider the environment with almost every action we take – and we are often amazed at how little effort that actually takes. Should we forget, we have a state full of children who will, in all likelihood, stage a march and remind us of our shortcomings. Now, Mexico has been to the International Conference on Climate Change in Bali, and we've learned that Mexico was hailed as the 4th most active nation in the world regarding actually doing something to lessen their country's effect on climate change problems.
Christmas Carolers in Motul
This is not an event that most of us had the pleasure of seeing. Instead, it is a local phenomenon and social commentary. From the 14th through the 20th, Christmas carolers have been making their way through the smaller towns in the area of Motul. Santa Claus is also on hand to hand out little presents. This is an event that is coordinated by the local Department of Civil Defense and carried out by students who are interested in social work in their communities. They have worked with their municipal government and with their health department to bring music, piñatas, and sandwiches together with Christmas Carols and Santa Claus. Their goal is to help children learn to accept new traditions without damage to their old ones, and to even interest them in becoming Christmas Carolers themselves. We can hardly wait for next year! Congratulations, especially to the municipal government of Motul, for forward thinking and change that is being managed without the destruction of local culture.
Children's Group Distributes Christmas Food Pantries
There is a network of children's clubs in Cancun, called Club Giro, that has just expanded its membership to include a club in Valladolid. Together, they have distributed 80 food pantries to the poor in the San Francisco colony. Their program is called The Train of Love. We are constantly amazed at the generosity of the children of all of the states on the Yucatan Peninsula and congratulate not only them, but also their parents on a job well done!
UADY News in Brief
Look for 2008 to be the year of education in Yucatan – with not only a focus on improving public education, but also in expanding the number of graduate and post-graduate degrees awarded by UADY.
Foreign travel is in the future for UADY students as 21 fly off to Spain, Austria, and Argentina. UADY has an exchange program with those nations, ensuring that our students will be the leaders of tomorrow around the world!
Where else on Earth do you see a combination of sports and real academic excellence? This past week 18 students will receive a tuition scholarship, known as “Orgullo Académico y Deportivo” so they can continue their studies in International Economy and Trade. Congratulations to UADY for recognizing students as more than just sports participants. Remember, this is also the school that has its Psychology Department working closely with 1,500 students to ensure quality of life for them and their families well into the future.
Continued support for the specialties of Intensive Care, Pediátrica Infirmary, Administration and Teaching, Public and Surgical Health of the Faculty of Infirmary has been guaranteed at UADY. Congratulations to the citizens of Yucatan, who will continue to be the beneficiaries of these programs.
The Appearance of Sacred Images
Whether you are a believer or not, there continue to be images of holy figures said to appear in Yucatan. First, there is the Virgin of Guadalupe that occurred in an almond tree in Seye, and on a piece of linen in Umán. Now, the Virgin of Guadalupe (also called the Virgin of Tepeyac for the mountain on which she appeared in 1531) has appeared in a plum tree in Seye. Our individual beliefs are ours alone. What we do with this information is private and personal, but many Yucatecos have already made their way to the sites where these images were seen to offer their prayers and to show support for the legacy of the Virgin of Guadalupe.