Boy de Viaje and Otto Films: Documentary in Izamal
This ecotourism documentary was filmed for Canadian and French audiences. The producer was born in Chile and is now based in Canada. If that description gives readers a distinct feeling that the world is rapidly growing smaller, they would be correct. This documentary is to be presented both in “Boy de Viaje,” an international travel journal, and on television. The staff that created the documentary arrived in teams, some of whom documented historical sites, some cultural activities, and some the traditional crafts of the local artisans. Stress was placed on those characteristics of the local culture that can be identified as sustainable, including: the making of jewelry from local resources, Maya herbalism workshops, religious heritage, and Izamal’s designation as one of the Magical Towns in Mexico. This will be the first time such a wide audience will be able to learn about Izamal. It is certainly time, and past time, for this wonderful little town to receive its due, and what a treat is in store for the audiences who read and view this documentary.
Happy Anniversary to Motul
The official Municipality of Motul is 141 years of age! Of course, the town is, to say the least, very much older than that. Today, Motul is a thriving college town that is near enough to Merida to take advantage of the best of the city while still maintaining a small town atmosphere. One of the best characteristics of Motul is its pride in its children. They are included in every event that takes place and actually are the driving force for more than a few social programs in the area. During the 141 Anniversary of Motul festivities, the Children’s Ballet was featured even before the beautiful Maya Wedding. The evening ended with a performance by a group of approximately 100 dancers, all members of local jaranas. To its credit, the City Council of Motul will continue to provide support for dressing rooms and scholarships for the young ballet dancers in Motul. We encourage everyone to take a few minutes to take the short ride to Motul whenever they have an event, or even just to look at the city as a potential expat destination. The center of the city features a market and a beautiful church and the museum dedicated to Felipe Carrillo Puerto, a fascinating man in Yucatan history. Congratulations to modern Motul on its 141st anniversary and best wishes for continued growth.
Valladolid: College Students Unite
If any local group has numbers running into the thousands, puts 16 million pesos into the local economy every month, and consists of the best and brightest in the area, look for great things to come from them if they ever unite and leaders bubble to the top. This is what has happened in Valladolid. The Southeast Student Association is determined to work with the members of the labor force to meet academic and recreational needs for all young people, as well as to serve as a backup for the academic, cultural and sporting activities, both in the university and in other institutions of the local government. These young people know the power their numbers and economic contributions give them and they are determined to be a force for improvement in Valladolid. We must note that this is a phenomenon that is also happening in other college towns, such as Motul and Progreso. We wish these students all the best as they move toward the completion of their educations and take their places as leaders of their communities. If what they have accomplished thus far is any indication, the future of Yucatan is in good hands.
Umanense to Represent Mexico in Venezuelan Education Forum
Congratulations to Uman’s young Gaspar Ventura Cisneros Polanco, professor of special education, who has been chosen to represent Mexico in the XII meeting of “Adventure of Thought,” held in the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the University of Carabobo, in Venezuela. Actually, this young man was specifically requested when a member of the faculty at the University of Carabobo saw the graduate project he did on strategies for educational improvement. Some believe it is a miracle when someone from one of Yucatan’s tiny, rural villages turns out to be an international star in their profession. We know that this is not at all uncommon. A look back through the biographies of some of the most famous Yucatecos will show that a significant number are from tiny towns. In speaking to that very issue, young Gaspar Ventura Cisneros Polanco assures us that he is proud of his roots and proud of the fact that he has achieved the level of academic respect he now enjoys. He says that his success demonstrates that anyone can achieve great things, no matter their origins, if they are committed to their course.
Henequen Growers Receive State Support
At the present time, one shredder serves the needs of the 150 henequeneros of Hunucma, Kinchil and Tetiz. In the past, there would be rumblings that henequen farming was going to be revitalized, but nothing much ever came of it and the 150 farmers hung on in hopes of seeing a change. This month, the much hoped for change has finally reached the farmers. The current administration has already delivered the first payments to a new program called New Seeding of Henequen. The program will support a total of 234 farmers in 19 municipalities in the growing of more than 346 hectares of henequen. The governor is especially interested in any project that will support people in rural Yucatan and is confident that the henequen farmers will soon be providing new farming jobs, as well as new jobs at the shredder. We too look forward to new glory days for henequen in Yucatan and wish all participants in this program the very best.
Unexplained Lights Over Ticul
Yes, there has been another incident of unexplained lights over the southern part of the state, this time in Ticul. These lights flashed bright light green at a few minutes before 5:00 AM, early enough to be seen by newspaper vendors and those on their way to work. The lights left a trail and seemed to light the streets below with a bluish glow. The lights seemed to move quickly off in the direction of the City of Merida. Speculation continues, but nothing more is known. Many believe these are UFOs and some say they were an aurora borealis. Whatever they were, this is not the first time that strange lights have been seen in the southern part of the state. While the lights may never be explained, many find it an interesting exercise to try and guess their origin, which forms the foundation for rumors, myths and legends. We would love to hear if anyone has any ideas about what these unexplained lights might be.
Support for Cervera Genaro Ceballos Parish Dining Hall
The proceeds of the Valentine’s Day Run in Progreso have made their way to the parish dining hall. We now understand that not only was this a one-time donation, but that the Sports Authority has pledged to make a similar donation on a monthly basis. This is great news for the poor and elderly, as well as for fishermen’s families who often face slim budgets during storms or bans on one catch or the other. According to Sister Raquel Marando, the parish dining hall has been providing services for thirteen years and is supported by ten religious groups, as well as the City Council of Progreso, the Mayor of Progreso, and now the Sports Authority. Today, the parish dining hall provides 100 meals per day and 120 food pantries to the poor twice a month. Please keep the Cervera Genaro Ceballos Parish Dining Hall in mind when allocating your personal charitable resources, as well as the La Virgen de Asuncion (Chicxulub) Food Bank. The Chicxulub Food Bank, run by Sharon Helgason, has been feeding about 90 families for years. Sharon also runs other helpful programs in the area. Check out their website for ways to volunteer or donate to this very helpful and trustworthy programs.
Rabies in Bats in Tzucacab
Tzucacab is a municipality (county) in Yucatan that lies on the southeast border of the Southern Cone of the state. In recent weeks, rabies in cattle has been traced to bats. While a number of expats encourage bats near their homes in the belief that bats help to protect them from dengue fever by holding down mosquito numbers, the risks may out-weigh the benefits. First, all bats do not eat mosquitoes. Second, inhaling residue from bat droppings can cause serious lung diseases. Finally, as we have seen in Tzucacab, some bats carry rabies. If you have bats near your home, please take the time to find out what kind of bats they are and try not to encourage them in areas where people congregate.
Civics Returning to the Classrooms of Yucatan
In order to have a successful society, it is necessary for citizens to understand the components of civil society and their place in it. Unfortunately, civics was taken out of the public school curriculum across Mexico a few years ago. That is set to change. In fact, Yucatan is going to be the first state in the entire nation to return civics to the classroom. These classes will be part of the core curriculum from primary through secondary school. The young people of Yucatan want to know how things work and how they can make a difference in the future of their state. This is the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Yucatan, one that will be led by politically and socially savvy young people. Everyone will be watching and admiring what will surely be their success.
New Housing in Conkal
We often hear about new subdivisions (fraccionamientos) going up for the benefit of workers, but it is a treat indeed to hear about new areas being developed for all housing sectors. Such is the case in Conkal, where 7,000 new homes are about to be built and it sounds as if there will be something there for everyone. Conkal is a small town to the northeast of Merida, with easy access to StarMedica Hospital and shopping centers. This is an area that has long been overlooked and one that certainly deserves a visit. The investment for this project will be over $2 billion pesos and it will create over 1,000 new jobs.
Certified Cultural Tour Guides in Progreso
One of the first things a new expat notices about the people of Yucatan is that, in addition to holding down full time jobs, they seem to be in school from dawn to the last second that any bus is running late at night. It is actually an amazing thing to watch. Lately, there is a new tour guide school in Merida that also includes the tour guides from Progreso. They work all day, travel to Merida for night classes, take the last bus back home, and repeat that scenario for as long as it takes. The clear winners are the tourists who come to Progreso because they now not only have tour guides who can tell them all about the archaeological areas at the beach, but tourists also get the benefit of being able to eat in restaurants that have earned the M and H (modernization and hygiene) designations. Hopefully, these well educated tourist guides and certified restaurants will encourage more tourists to stay in the port and enjoy what the beach has to offer.
In the Interior: How to Win Battles
In many expats’ home nations, children and young people wander the streets and get into trouble. There are no youth centers, no public sports complexes, and nothing to fill time after school. No one will build anything like that because of liability and responsibility. Thankfully, Yucatan now has an administration that gets it. There’s no need to build a Superdome, no need to hire a herd of graduate-degreed coaches. This brings to mind the old verse about the war being lost for want of a horseshoe nail. All the kids asked for was a place to play basketball. Put up some lights, build them a bathroom, and buy them a few balls. Cheer them when they win, love them when they don’t. Everybody wins! Congratulations to everyone involved in these new efforts to revitalize sports in Yucatan, and especially to the children.