News Starting February 20, 2012
We never thought we would see these kinds of statistics, but here they are. Yucatan’s 2012 dengue fever numbers now account for 57% of the dengue cases in the entire country. The actual number of cases of dengue fever in Mexico over the past twelve months is 1,112. Of those, 635 were reported in Yucatan and, of those, 445 (80%) were in Merida. The City of Merida has launched an aggressive three-month eradication program. Yucatan Living has an additional article by Steve Fry, PhD, that delves deeper into this issue. We encourage everyone to read Everything About Dengue Fever and to take the precautions outlined in it. Dr. Fry has also written Dengue Fever: What to Do? on his own website, Yucalandia. Finally, there is an ongoing discussion of dengue fever on Yolisto, which everyone is invited to join. Note: Even as we were writing this, the dengue fever rate in Merida fell by 40%, prompting the State of Yucatan to feel as if it is safe to divert some of its efforts and resources to other parts of the State. By no means does this imply that taking action to keep your property as mosquito-free as possible can now be safely abandoned. Better surveillance does equal better health, especially in this case.
Yucatan’s Juvenile Justice Leads the Nation
In the past few weeks, Mexico has adopted some of the most progressive human rights laws in history. In order to revamp the justice system in the nation, a series of conferences were held around the nation for judges to learn what this means for them. Following the conference attended by judges in Yucatan, lawmakers and social service departments in Yucatan were ready to work with the state judicial system to put Yucatan in a position of national leadership with respect to juvenile justice. The best parts of these new laws and procedures lies in the fact that not only will a general notion of human rights for adolescents be respected, but the characteristics of this age group will also be taken into account. The new Yucatan Justice for Teens Act of 2012 sets out specific sentences for crimes, plus damages the young person must pay to their victims. This is a serious law, with serious but age-appropriate consequences. Once again, Yucatan leads the nation in moving forward into a fine new era.
Wind Power: No Fault Termination
The ejidos in Dzemul, Ixil and Sisal were set to have the first wind power installations in Yucatan until there were cultural differences about how the projects would affect access by the farmers. The projects had not yet begun, so neither Sowitec, a German wind power company, nor the ejidos were penalized by termination of the contract. All three ejidos, however, are still in the developmental game and have a total of 26 investment projects ready to begin immediately. One is in ecotourism, but most are in the agricultural arena. Whatever they decide to do, these often-overlooked municipalities are on their way up and we are so happy to see a bright future ahead for them. It is also good to know that initial research shows that Yucatan is an excellent area in which to introduce wind power and that other investors are still interested in these projects.
Did You Attend a Women’s Dance (el baile femenil)?
No one is in Yucatan long before they realize that volunteerism is an intrinsic part of the culture of this state. There is not a church, a hospital, a nursing home or a public health organization that does not have a women’s volunteer committee. However, as we know all too well, resources can run short as costs continue to rise. The answer to this dilemma for many of these women’s groups is to hold an extravagant dance during the weeks leading up to Carnival. These are the women’s dances you often hear about. The volunteers have separated into dance troupes and have excellent choreographers, as well as costumes that can rival a Las Vegas show line. Attendees come in costume, a queen is crowned and the best show is judged. All proceeds from tickets, food and drinks go to support the volunteer committee’s cause. Sorry fellas… no men allowed and the police are there in force to keep the peepers away. Through the years, we have often told people about women’s dances, but no one really understands them unless they see it for themselves. This year, Progreso Hoy put a slide show online of one of the best women’s dances in Yucatan, the women’s dance of the Comite de Damas Voluntarias del Albergue de Ancianos "San Joaquin,", whose proceeds go toward improving the living conditions for the elderly in the San Joaquin Nursing Home in Progreso. We hope everyone takes a few minutes out to watch the Women’s Dance in Progreso.
Cancun: Be Part of a Travel Channel Show!!
TRIP FLIP is a new Travel Channel series that, in early March, will be giving tourists an “off the beaten track” view of Cancun. They will visit the coolest spots in town and find the city’s hidden gems that only the locals know about. If you think you would be interested in taking this trip, contact Tina at tripflip1 [at] yahoo [dot] com Please note, TRIP FLIP does not provide air fare. This is an opportunity for tourists who have already planned to be in Cancun during the first weekend of March.
High Performance Training – in Chess – for Children
Yes. You read that correctly. Children, especially those in outlying municipalities, get high performance training in chess in Yucatan. They spend several years with a professional chess teacher, and then attend workshops taught by chess champions. They are well aware that there is a science to playing chess and hone their skills accordingly. This year, their annual tournament will be played in Merida in late April. We think the Child Chess Players of Yucatan are just about the smartest kids in the world and we will be sure to bring you the specifics of their tournament as soon as they are announced. Whenever you have an opportunity to encourage these young players, please do so. They work so hard and deserve as much recognition as other sports performers.
Remember the Ramon Trees?
Yucatan Living has written about the benefits of ramon trees several times, as well as about the pilot programs that began commercial farming of this wonderful resource. The ramon trees are those trees that grow up to 120 feet tall all over Yucatan. As it turns out, they have a fruit that looks like an orange but tastes almost like an apricot. The nuts can be roasted and grounded into a super food that has a positive effect for those with many chronic conditions. The leaves hold excess moisture and can be eaten by horses, cattle and goats during times of drought. This past week, with rumblings of drought again and the potential for food shortages threatening, 300 housewives in the Southern part of Yucatan learned to use the fruit and nuts of the ramon tree to make coffee, tortillas, empanadas, panuchos, omelets and desserts. While everyone needs to keep an eye on the environment and do as much as possible to save it, these 300 women can teach the rest of us that the food shortages already experienced in other places need never come to Yucatan.
Time to Bring Out the Seafood Recipes
Everyone has been so busy with Carnival that no one has thought much about Lent! Yet, here it is and those of us who are Catholic, especially if we live in Yucatan, are faced with a couple of months of at least Fridays when we need a really great meatless meal. Even if you are not Catholic, if you live in Yucatan, please lean as much on your seafood recipes as possible during this time because this season is one that can economically make or break many of the smaller, local seafood vendors. If you need a good seafood recipe, we suggest the University of California at Berkeley’s Recipe Source website.
Weather: The Daily Seasons in Yucatan
Some of us think of Yucatan as having only two seasons: the rainy season and the dry season. Others ask about Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Oh! We have those too! Yucatan actually has all four seasons each and every day. This week was a prime example of the changing of the seasons. On one particular day, the temperature was 20.8 degrees Celcius (69.4 F) at 7:00 AM. By that afternoon, Carnival parade goers were sweltering in 34.8 degrees Celcius (94.6 F). But it is not quite yet summer in Yucatan so another norte blew in and changed everything. The next morning, the temperature started out at 18 degrees Celcius (64.4 F) and hit a maximum for the day of 29 degrees Celcius (84.2 F). With 60 mph gusts of cold wind off of the Gulf of Mexico, it felt much colder than it was. However, as is the case with all weather in Yucatan, this shortly blew away and Yucatan resumed its march toward summer. So, what’s the weather like in Yucatan? That depends on whether you are asking about right now, or about an hour from now. Either way, the weather is great and when it isn’t, the bad weather is soon forgotten.
Best Honey Comes From Yucatan
We knew that! Now, it is a scientific fact. The Royal Lady stingless bee, cultivated by the Maya for 2,000 years, produces the best honey, or so says Dr. Stephen Buchmann of the University of Arizona. Now we are told that stingless bee honey has a wide variety of medicinal uses. Around the world, indigenous people use stingless bee honey to treat eye infections and wounds. There is even one study, soon to be released, that says it is more effective than regular antibiotics in treating eye infections in guinea pigs. There is also a growing suspicion that stingless bee honey may help deter people from developing cancer. As beekeepers in other countries, especially in Brazil, rush to begin raising stingless bees, they are discovering that there is an art to it that until recently only the Maya possessed the skill to accomplish. As it turns out, stingless bees don’t build honeycombs. Instead, they build honey pots. They are also very picky about their food and will leave or die off if not cared for properly. Dr. Buchmann is so worried that the art and practice of raising stingless bees will die out that he has taught several classes to beekeepers throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. We will be watching for the newest research on the best honey in the world, grown right here in the best place in the world – Yucatan.