Yucatan News: Dengue Rates Drop, EcoTourism
Progreso: Little Children and Baby Turtles
This week, 131 small children were each handed a baby turtle to release on the malecon in Progreso. All 131 baby turtles made it safely into the sea. Such an experience will stay with these children for the rest of their lives. Not only do 131 turtles now have at least a chance at life but, we can be certain that there have now been 131 human turtle protectors created within a matter of seconds. Congratulations to all of the little ones (small children and baby turtles) who participated in this event - and to the adults who thought to carry out the project in this manner.
The Fast Train News
It looks as if the "Fast Train" project is going to become a reality (maybe), at a cost of $2 billion dollars for four anchor projects. The four projects being termed as anchor projects include: (1) the building of the railway itself, (2) the clustering of automotive industries in Hunucma, (3) a logistics platform in Progreso, (4) a Museum of Mayan Culture at Chichen Itza. What is being termed a logistics platform in Progreso includes the route of the railway that will run alongside the highway between Merida and Progreso. If you remember, the World Bank declined the project. This new news is a bit confusing because we hear both that the project will take place and that feasibility studies to determine if it will take place will be concluded within two to three months. In other words, the idea seems to still be alive but we still won't know anything until this latest round of studies is complete.
Request for Research Participants
From Eco-Yucatan, Ed Blume has posted Hilary Miller's request for research participants. Ms. Miller is working on her Master's thesis at the London School of Economics, with eco-tourism as her topic. She has a short online survey for those who have chosen to travel as an eco-tourist. The survey should take less than 5 minutes to complete. If you have ever been a graduate student, you know how important this survey is - not only to Ms. Miller, but to the eco-tourism industry as well. If you are an eco-tourist, please visit the survey where you will be able to participate in the design of this new industry. If you have questions or comments, you can reach Hilary Miller at:email@example.com
New Restoration Projects in Centro
The President of the Patronage of the Historical Center of Merida has announced that upcoming restoration projects in Centro will include Calle 59, San Juan and Santiago Parks, and the vestibule of the Cathedral. While they do lament that most of the colonial homes of Centro have been bought by foreigners, it must also be remembered that it has been foreigners who have loved this city for centuries and who have spent enormous sums of money in restoration projects of their own. We are certain that these new restoration projects will make Centro Historico de Merida even more of a wonderland than it is today. Congratulations to everyone, administrators and foreigners alike, for their forward thinking and their willingness to invest in the future of Merida.
PEMEX Proposes New Oil Refinery
We recently reported on the fact that PEMEX imports 40% of our refined oil products from Deer Park, Texas, where it owns 50% of the Shell Oil refinery. This week, PEMEX has proposed that, as soon as remodeling is complete on Mexico's current 6 refineries, that they build a 7th (very large) refinery to reduce Mexico's need to import such products as gasoline. The new refinery would have a processing capacity of 300,000 barrels per day. This news, coming on the heels of the European Union moving to upgrade Mexico to the status of Strategic Partner is great news for the country and great news for PEMEX as well.
San Felipe: Effects of Red Tide Still Being Felt
Our hearts go out to the fishermen of San Felipe. Their fish and lobster catches have already been affected by a red tide that began back in April. Now, the red tide is gone, but they are resigning themselves to the fact that their pulpo (squid) harvest may yet be affected by the damage done by the algae. This is a difficult time for all of our fishermen and is the perfect time for us to search for projects to which we can contribute in the seaside towns and villages we love so well. Pulpo season opens on August 1.
Celestun: The Virgin of Tetiz
Every year, in late July, the statue of the Virgin of Tetiz is taken by boat on a procession to the sea in Celestun. This is a two day event, with plenty of fiesta activities, including folkloric ballets and music. The statue was restored five years ago by Lila Sigueriza Vega, who supervises the movements of the statue on its annual journey. From what we understand, there were not enough boats to take everyone who wanted to accompany the Virgin of Tetiz on this short trip this year so, if anyone has a boat, this might be the perfect activity for a weekend of rest and reflection in Celestun. We are particularly proud of all of the sacred art restorations in Yucatan and would like to particularly thank Lila Sigueriza Vega for her talent and dedication to this cause.
Dengue Fever Rate Drops Dramatically
The rate of dengue fever, in Yucatan, now stands at 53% of last year's rate. It is believed that this is a direct result of the efforts of the people who live here toward reducing mosquito habitat. One of these programs is known as Clean Patios. Yucateco families have particularly enjoyed Clean Patios because it is a community based program that allows for competition and even prizes. We love Clean Patios and Pretty Streets because they not only interrupt the disease vectors for any number of health problems, but also because they are helping the overall level of Yucateco pride. After all, to live in a healthy place that just happens to also be one of the most beautiful places in the world is just about as good as it gets.
Honey Production At 40% of Capacity
Over the past two years, Yucatan's beekeepers have come out of relative obscurity, formed a cooperative, and developed themselves into a world famous export industry. Now, we discover that beekeeping is still only a part-time hobby for most of our honey producers. Our state has the capacity to increase honey production by another 60%, and place our honey producers (literally) on top of the world in their industry. This is a marvelous time for us to plant, plant and plant some more. All of our gardens should include habitat and food for butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds; as well as anything we can think of (organic of course) that will discourage mosquitoes. See the following links for Butterfly Gardens, Bee Gardens, and Hummingbird Habitat.
Undocumented Migrants Crossing Mexico
The National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers is the first we have seen to admit that all undocumented migrants headed for the U.S. are not Mexican. In fact, Mexico now has a serious problem with approximately 270,000 undocumented migrants attempting to cross the country every year. Most of these individuals are from Central America and Mexico is able to capture and return well more than half of them. It is estimated that more than 100,000 make it all the way into the U.S. This is a dangerous situation because the migrants are a vulnerable population that is easily victimized, and they are a hungry and frightened population that falls easily into petty theft. Most of the undocumented migrants tend to be attempting to escape from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
Yucatan and The Next Generation
Yucatan has a knee-jerk, almost over-kill, reaction to children and teens who seem headed for trouble, especially in the summer. In Yucatan, if a few too many teens start driving their motorcycles too fast, you can look for a huge, government funded "activities" project to begin almost immediately. Since we have been here, we've seen tens of thousands of pesos brought immediately from Merida to fund soccer teams. We have also recently seen enough musical instruments brought to one town so that all of the children and teens can take music lessons. Having a problem with teen pregnancy? Yucateco teens will hold a sex-education symposium in a flash and then hit the streets to educate their friends. Does a town have little ones with nothing to do? The Red Cross and the fire department show up as if my magic - teaching all manner of valuable classes, including first aid. What we have noticed here is that, from the Yucateco viewpoint, keeping children and teens occupied "as a community" is the key not only to reducing the incidence of teen problems, but is also the key to developing the next generation of fiercely loyal Yucatecos.
One Extra Week of Vacation Before School Starts
Please be patient while the children are out of school. The State of Yucatan has decided to extend the summer school vacation by one week. Ordinarily, Yucatan's schools are on the same calendar with Mexico's schools. However, because of increases in tourism and the benefit derived for families who are able to spend more time with each other, schools in Merida will open on August 18 and schools throughout the rest of the state will open on August 25.
The Most Beautiful Flower of Progreso 2008
This invitation will also be repeated on our Events page, but it is important news as well because it will give our readers an idea of the quality of young people being created by the culture of Yucatan, especially the quality of our young ladies. On August 10, Briyit Carrillo Rodas will represent Progreso in The 2008 Most Beautiful Flower of the Field contest. Briyit is 19 years old and a nutrition student at Universidad Marista. Her interests include classical, jazz, and modern dance. This true daughter of Yucatan says: "Young people do not have to remain silent before the anomalies of the authorities. To us falls the responsibility to make them see their errors, as long as we do it responsibily and with education.” This pretty girl is a model who knows the value of education and who has a wonderful future ahead of her. ...and the best part of this story is that she is one of 25 contestants from around the state in the 2008 Most Beautiful Flower of the Field contest - all of them exceptionally pretty, exceptionally well educated, and all headed for greatness in Yucatan. Check our events page for time and admission.
(August 4, 2008)