Yucatan News: Ducks and Donors
News Starting April 23, 2012
First Great Rubber Ducky Race Held atAnimaya
The last little yellow rubber ducky we saw was floating, all alone, in the fountain pool in a friend’s inner courtyard in Merida. This time, the rubber ducks were 20,000 strong and racing around Lake Animaya to benefit mentally disabled children in Yucatan. This first Great Rubber Ducky Race in Merida was a project sponsored by Club Rotario Mérida Montejo. With forty thousand race watchers, free transport to the race, and twelve winners of some pretty nice prizes, this race has found a home in Merida. We have no doubt that this will be an annual event, with the real winners being the mentally disabled children who benefit from the purchase of every little yellow rubber ducky in the race. The project this race supports is called “Building Smiles.” Well done and many thanks, as always, to Club Rotario Mérida Montejo.
Freight Train to Chiapas
It has recently been announced that the Government of Mexico has entered into an agreement with a group of businessmen from Japan for the purpose of reactivating the freight line between Yucatan and Chiapas. As of now, there are no plans to include passenger service in this project, but it will serve to provide jobs and an improved standard of living for all who live in the towns between the two points. The investment is said to be approximately $3 billion pesos and this project is part of a bigger national picture, in which there is a new resolve to keep and regrow the railway industry in Mexico. Anything that helps to connect inland farmers and manufacturers with the import/export industry in Yucatan has the potential for having a tremendous positive impact on jobs and quality of life for all who live in Yucatan, so this project is welcome news indeed.
Merida’s Animal Control Center Under New Management
Until new management can be installed, Merida’s Animal Control Center will not be picking up dogs and cats, nor will any dogs or cats be euthanized at the facility. We were particularly pleased to see that Marcia Lara, a representative of the Asociación Mexicana por los Derechos de los animales, A.C., and Lidia Saléh Angulo, the president of Alberge Franciscano del Animal Desprotegido, A.C. (AFAD) have been included in making an assessment of the needs of the Animal Control Center, and that Lidia Saléh Angulo will be a major contributor to the development of a new management plan for the center. Sometimes, change is long in coming, but that only makes it more deeply appreciated when it happens. There are many government agencies involved in the issue of animal control in Merida – including the City Council and the Public Health Department. All encourage everyone to adopt a pet from a shelter and be sure to have their pet spayed or neutered, as well as kept up to date on all vaccinations and health checkups.
190 Cases of Hemophilia in Yucatan
Hemophilia is a blood clotting disorder that was once called the “Royal Disease” because it devastated the royal houses of Europe during the 1800’s and early 1900’s. The disease is a genetic disorder that is passed from mother to son, with only about 50% of the sons developing the full blown disorder. This means that, if a family has only daughters, or even daughters and a few lucky sons, for several generations, the original sickness has a tendency to be lost to family memory until one of the daughters has a son who does develop hemophilia. At that point, everyone is shocked and wondering how this could have happened. Identification and education are the keys to stopping hemophilia. The family history of each infected person is being traced and health education is being provided for every affected family. There are approximately 5,000 Mexicans who suffer from hemophilia. In Yucatan, the public health sector is treating 140 patients with hemophilia and 50 more are in the private health care system. Family histories seem to be leading researchers to conclude that the original carrier came to the relatively stable Yucateco population through migration from another state, but it is here now and, thankfully, is currently being well managed.
Organ Donation in Yucatan
This weekend, in Tekax, a mass was held to celebrate the life of Brian Emiliano Duarte Góngora, an 18 year old boy who gave the gift of life to 13 people when he died, and to pray for the health and long life of those who received his gift. His parents are originally from Tekax, but he was born in Veracruz, where he lived a happy life and died of a rapidly growing brain tumor at the tender age of 18. Yucatan is still lagging behind in rates of organ donation in Mexico; but, through public health education, young people are becoming organ donors at ever increasing rates. If you are not a registered organ donor in Yucatan, won’t you take a minute to get in contact with Dona Esperanza, A.C. (Donate Hope) and ask how you can become an organ donor in Yucatan too? Our heartfelt sympathy for the family of Brian Emiliano Duarte Góngora, and just as deeply felt appreciation for their having honored his last wish to donate his organs to save the lives of so many others.
Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale Update
It is getting close to hurricane season in the region of the Gulf of Mexico and it’s time to begin paying attention to new announcements that will help us all as the summer progresses. On April 2, 2012, there were updates to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane scale that are designed to better reflect the amount of damage each category will produce. On this new scale:
Category 1: Very dangerous winds will cause some damage
Category 2: Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage
Category 3: Devastating damage will occur
Category 4: Catastrophic damage will occur
Category 5: Catastrophic damage, including roof and building failures, will occur.
Keep an eye on the weather and please follow the instructions of the authorities.
Second Call for Online College Students
For the second week in a row, the Secretary of Public Education is calling for students who have finished high school to sign up for free, distance learning college classes. This week, they are stressing that this needs to be done so that students can take a preparatory course online from June 11 to July 22. The online degree programs that are available include: Public Safety, Community Development, Mathematics, Management and Administration of Small and Medium Enterprises, International Marketing and Business Tourism. If you know a Yucateco who could benefit from this opportunity to work toward a free college degree, please have them go to this link and register for the preparatory class as soon as possible. If they do not have a computer, they are welcome to use computers at university centers throughout the country.
Body Building in Yucatan
There are some great events in the city on Wednesday night, April 25, but if you plan to stay at home, be sure to tune in to Channel 13, at 8:30 PM, to see the Merida Body Building Cup from Teatro Carlos Acreto. These are Yucatan’s athletes who are training toward the 2012 National Olympics. Then, mark your calendars for May 20th because the Mr. Force and Power” contest, will come to the same theater. For that one, there will be different categories and something for everyone, including: children, beginners, novices “A” and “B,” youth, female modeling, fitness master, veterans 40 to 50 years of age, and veterans who are over 50 years of age. For more information, call: (928) 6369 or e-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Joan Avis and Project Yucatan
Dr. Joan Avis was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for 2011 – 2012, in order to continue her work on Project Yucatan from her base at UADY. From the Project Yucatan April newsletter, we learn that “Best-selling author Parker J. Palmer, founder of the Center for Courage & Renewal, and Arthur Zajonc, professor of physics and director of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, advocate a holistic approach to teaching and learning that honors the whole human being -- mind, heart, and spirit. In a heartwarming validation of the Project Yucatan approach, Palmer and Zajonc selected the Dr. Judy Goodell and Dr. Joan Avis submission, Under the Arcoiris: Making Dreams Come Alive, for inclusion in their 2010 book "The Heart of Higher Education: A Call to Renewal." The Goodell/Avis article tells the story of the first group of Project Yucatan students who are now are in their fourth year of higher education.” Many of our readers live in Quintana Roo. Project Yucatan has opportunities for volunteers and we can think of no better way to give back to any of our communities than to help support higher education. Click to Join the Project Yucatan mailing list.