Yucatan News: Less Dengue & More WIFI
Malcolm Bedell Wins Today Show’s Chicken Wing Cook Off
A young man of many talents, Malcolm Bedell, Yolisto.com's founder, has won the First Annual Today Show Chicken Wing Cook Off. We are thrilled for Malcolm! Malcolm and Jillian are perfect representatives of the kind of young people who come to Yucatan, for a while or for a lifetime, to contribute laughter, talent and vision to the fabric of the expat community. Malcolm’s winning Apricot-Shellacked Ghost Chile Chicken Wing Recipe is online and you can find more recipes on Malcolm and Jillian's website, From Away.
Children’s Vaqueria in Hunucma
Part of the purpose of Yucatan Living’s news is to show current and potential expats the elements of the culture that the people of the State of Yucatan cherish most and work so hard to preserve. One of these is the Vaqueria. Those marvelous, adult, traditional dancers begin learning Yucatan’s traditional dances as small children in every cultural center in the state. Along the way, the children give almost as many performances as the adults, and they are encouraged by everyone in the community. This past week, as we enter the Carnival season, the children’s vaqueria was held in Hunucma. What struck us as so interesting about this particular event was not just the costumes and the beauty of it all. It was also the list of adults who attended. The list included entertainment stars, public officials, political hopefuls and successful business owners. The children were spectacular and everyone danced the early evening away, until it was time for the adult Vaqueria at 10:30 PM. As long as adults continue to support children in this way, Yucatan will continue to be the brightest star in Mexico.
Free Wireless Internet in 32 More Parks in Merida
Prior to this past Friday, free wireless internet was available in 51 parks in Merida. Now, that number has risen to 83, with quite a few of those parks located in what are considered to be vulnerable areas of the city. This service is desperately needed in areas where parents find it difficult to afford internet service at home, but find their children having to complete more and more homework online. To give readers an idea of how much this service is used, during the month of December 2012, there were over 86,000 internet connections made in the 51 parks. This number is predicted to pass 140,000 per month with the addition of these 32 parks. This service is brought to the citizens of Merida as the City Council takes advantage of a number of federal programs, including SEDESOL’s Rescue of Public Spaces.
Ticul: Wellness Market
If anyone doubts the importance of social media in the developing world, they only have to look as far as Ticul, in the Southern Cone of the State of Yucatan. This past weekend, the State of Yucatan held a Wellness Market in Ticul. Up to 25 kilos of recyclables, per family were accepted in exchange for a voucher the family could exchange for groceries in the Wellness Market. In addition, information on nutrition and recycling was given to everyone who attended the market. Press releases concerning this event, including the fact that it may be made permanent, came from the Twitter account of the State Government. There was a time when many places in the interior of the Yucatan Peninsula were seldom, if ever, connected to the world at large. Today, they are all making excellent use of social media sites. They are catching up fast and have the will to never be left behind again. Our congratulations to everyone associated with the Wellness Market in Ticul.
Weather: Windy and Wet
Nortes don’t always have to be cold enough to cause expats to break out their coats. Sometimes, they are only cool-ish, but the wind and rain make for a miserable couple of days. Such is the case on Super Bowl weekend in Yucatan this year. Temperatures were in the mid to high 70’s, but the wind was wet and blowing at about 40 mph in places. Thankfully, there were plenty of television sports, from around the world, available through any number of in-home providers, in every sports bar, and in many expat-favorite restaurants. However, before you wish the rain away, remember that the season of no rain will soon follow. For now, follow common sense guidelines for protecting yourself and your property. After that: Carpe Diem!
Fire Season to Begin March 1
In 2013, fire season will run from March 1 through May 31. This is a time when farmers will be burning their fields in order to plant their next crops. It is also a time when wildfires often develop and burn out of control. During this time, please take caution when approaching smoke on the highway. Do not drive into smoke unless it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive in smoke, please turn on your lights so that others can see you. In addition, please do not throw anything that shines out of a car window. This includes even the foil wrappers of the smallest fast food item. This also includes cold drink cans and glass of any kind. Any of those can magnify the rays of the sun and start a wildfire. Obviously, if you smoke, do not throw lit cigarettes out of vehicles. The State Committee for the Prevention and Fighting of Forest Fires and the State Civil Protection Department will put up their controlled burn calendar, which also includes dates that all burning is banned, sometime in February and we will provide our readers with a link as soon as it is available.
Peto: The Dangers of Emigration
For years, the way to getting ahead, for many rural young people in Yucatan, was to emigrate to the United States, illegally if necessary, and hope to find work there. Today, the promise of a good job in the USA is no longer a guarantee. Today, too many young people die in the desert as they search for a new life. Today, too many young girls fall into the online promises of becoming a model, only to find themselves the victims of human traffickers. The Institute for the Development of Maya Culture (Indemaya) is now teaching classes and workshops aimed at keeping Yucatan’s young people from losing their lives so needlessly. As education and job opportunities improve in Yucatan, it looks as if this generation will have more and better opportunities right here at home, rather than risking their lives on the long journey north.
Godspeed to Father Lorenzo Mex
For sixteen years, Father Mex has ministered to the fishermen, sailors and community in Progreso. Father Mex will be replaced by Father Jose Francisco Mukul Dominguez. As of now, there is no word of where Father Mex will be sent for his next assignment. Wherever it is, we are certain that it won't be long before the people of his new parish realize what a treasure they have received.
The Shield Program Implemented in Schools
This past week, the SSP taught a variety of workshops to 3,557 students, in nine schools, at the pre-primary, primary and secondary levels. The specialists all had degrees in disciplines such as education, psychology, criminology or law, in addition to police training. Topics centered around issues important to children, such as dating, addictions, bullying, family relationships, sexuality, self-esteem, values, and school safety. The new administration has stressed how important the young people of Yucatan are to the continued success of the state and seems to be active and engaged in giving children every opportunity to excel in the 21st century. These types of programs, along with this attitude toward the value of it's children, will go a long way toward continuing to maintain the State of Yucatan as the safest state in Mexico.
Dengue Fever Numbers Down 90%
Although Yucatan still leads Mexico in the number of cases of Dengue Fever, the actual numbers are continuing to drop significantly. In 2011, Yucatan reported 3,982 casses of classic and 2,050 cases of hemorrhagic dengue fever. In 2012, Yucatan closed with 3,157 cases of classic and 2,497 cases of hemorrhagic dengue fever. At one point, Yucatan was reporting an average of a little over 100 new cases per week. Now, for the month of January, 2013, there were only 29 cases of dengue fever reported in Yucatan, which is approximately an 87% rate drop over last year's numbers for the same month. We suspect that wind, rain and cooler temperatures have helped tremendously in dropping the mosquito population's numbers and levels of activity. Overall, the Ministry of Health says that constantly renewed efforts to keep patios clean and, now, to make Wellness Market's permanent are placing us well on the way to continued success in reducing the numbers of dengue fever cases in Yucatan. You can read about it (in Spanish) here.