News Starting August 15, 2011
Mayan Jeweler Teaches in Belize
Throughout the Americas, the Maya have been marginalized to the point that it is often amazing that they have survived at all. But the Maya have survived and they continue to work toward a future in which they can both earn a living and preserve their identity and culture. We recently read about Miguel Loaeza-Carrillo, an artisan from the Institute for the Development of the Mayan Culture of Yucatan. He is currently in Belize, where he is teaching more than a dozen Belizian Maya the art of making jewelry. Now that cruise ships have started coming to Belize, the development of this type of artwork will go a long way toward adding a few extra dollars to the household budgets of the artisans. This is a wonderful project and we know it works because it works right here in Yucatan. The entire state can be proud of Miguel Loaeza-Carrillo for his mastery of jewelry making and for his willingness to share his knowledge.
Delta Buys Into Aeromexico
Its official! Delta Airlines has bought 3.5% of Aeromexico for $65 million dollars. For now, this only means that Delta has purchased a seat on the board of Aeromexico, but both airlines have a history of surviving and thriving under the stresses of a fickle global economy. There is every reason to believe that, together, they will be more successful than ever before. Since we have friends who are retired Delta employees, does this now mean they can come to Yucatan for that long promised visit? We hope so! Congratulations and best of luck to both Delta Airlines and to Aeromexico!
Formula One Racing to Return to Mexico?
That’s what we hear! Almost all of the requirements are in place. Carlos Slim is a great supporter, and his son, Carlos Slim Domit, is working with a Mexican entertainment firm to investigate the idea. The search is on for a circuit, either an upgrade to an old circuit or a new street circuit in Guadalajara. It has been twenty years since there was a Formula One Grand Prix in Mexico and its high time for Mexico to get back in the race. The first Mexican Grand Prix was held in 1962 at the Magdalena Mixhuca circuit, built within a park in Mexico City. The race was held every year until 1970, when Mexico was dropped from the calendar. An incident where a dog crossed the track and was hit by one of the cars (!) may have had something to do with the cancellation, according to Wikipedia. The circuit is now called Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez after two racing brothers from Mexico who died there in two separate accidents. There were Formula One races in 1980 and 1981, and 1986 and 1992, the last time in Mexico. NASCAR and other races have been held in the Autodrome, but so far, Formula One races have not yet returned.
Interesting Immigration Statistics
According to the National Statistics Institute, in the first quarter of 2011, for every 10,000 people in the population of Mexico, there were 36 migrants and 31 immigrants. In 2006, there were 650,000 migrants to the U.S. In 2010, there were only 200,000 border crossings. This means that remittances are down, but jobs are coming into Mexico right and left, especially in the automotive industry. Its always good news when workers are able to earn enough at home to take care of their families. We are going on the hunt for the full documentation of these findings because we would like to know how many of the immigrants into Mexico are Americans and Canadians. We suspect that number is growing rapidly, but so far, no one has a definitive number.
Honda To Open New Plant in Mexico
In 2014, Honda is set to bring 3,200 jobs to Mexico with an $800 million dollar manufacturing plant. The plant will be located in Guanajuato, which is also the state where Mazda is slated to open their new plant. The Honda plant is expected to produce 200,000 vehicles per year in order to keep up with demand in the U.S. as the north-of-the-border economy continues to improve and as gasoline mileage requirements continue to climb. Currently, Mexico produces 60,000 Hondas per year, so this represents a significant increase in production. Guanajuato is up for the job and its technical schools are hard at work, training the growing automotive industry’s future employees.
Cozumel Getting New Search and Rescue Station
As tourism continues to grow and as more and more people are operating their own boats along the shores of the Yucatan Peninsula, accidents and incidents happen. People get lost, run out of gas, have mechanical trouble, and get hurt. We have the Armada here in Progreso, so we don’t often consider what would happen to us if we were off the eastern coast of the Peninsula and needed assistance. As it turns out, we don’t have to worry about that. There is going to be a new Search and Rescue Naval Station on the Island of Cozumel, which adds one more layer of security for those who either want to go deep sea fishing or diving, or just plain pleasure riding, off of the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Mexican Teen Dies of Rabies in Louisiana
A 19-year old Michoacan agricultural worker was bitten by a vampire bat while he was sleeping. It seemed to be just a scratch, so he chose not to see a doctor. Fifteen days later, he reported for his first day of work in the cane fields of Louisiana and became so ill that he was taken to the hospital. Incubation for common rabies is 85 days, giving doctors time to intervene. But this form of rabies, specific to the vampire bat, develops in 15 days. Less than a month after leaving home, the 19-year old was dead, in spite of having been transferred to New Orleans for specialized care.
Of over 1,000 species of bats, fifty live in Yucatan, including all three vampire bats known to live in Central and South America. However, two of these species tend to live in trees and prey, for the most part, only on large birds. The third type of vampire bat will feed off of any warm-blooded creature, but only if their prey is sleeping. This means that simply keeping your screens closed should be enough to protect you from this kind of risk. If you have animals, including dogs and horses, it is best to have them sleep in an enclosed area as well. Today, the greater danger is losing other species of beneficial bats in giant sweeps to rid livestock ranches in developing countries of vampire bats. There is a very low risk of a human being bitten by one of these creatures. As with all other mammals, all bats have the potential to carry rabies, so just keep your screen doors closed and see a doctor immediately if you are ever bitten.
Biofuel: Mexico City to Madrid on Jatropha
We try to at least mention alternative energy sources that have anything to do with Yucatan and this is one that we had not been hearing much about lately. And then, jatropha hit the mainstream headlines this weekend! Way back in May, 2008, we reported on 5,000 acres of jatropha that had been planted on scrub land in Yucatan. These trees don’t need much water and the return in oil, to be used as a biofuel, looked promising. This week, the first transcontinental flight on biofuel refined from jatropha oil was from Mexico City to Madrid. It looks like we have a winner! We have so many areas of Yucatan where trees have difficulty growing because of a lack of surface water. To find a Green Energy crop that will last for at least the next thirty years is cause for great celebration. Congratulations to everyone involved in this project and especially to the farmers themselves.
A Promise of Health
We would like to tell you about an organization that has been around for a while, but about which expats know very little. This is an important group and is worthy of all the support we can give them. Its called A Promise of Health. It was started by a tourist couple who came to Yucatan, saw a need, and moved mountains to fill that need. From 2001 to 2009, Bill and Barbara Grannell spearheaded a project that ultimately placed homeopathic doctors in 25 municipalities in rural Yucatan, with treatment at no cost to patients. Ultimately, they passed Yucatan’s Promise of Health on to the Rotary Club and moved on to begin the same process again in Oaxaca. Their monthly newsletters from Oaxaca are all on YouTube. Watch the Oaxaca Medicine Wheel and read more about A Promise of Health.
An Undiscovered Gem in Mexico
As we read through our e-mail every week, we often find ourselves slogging our way through tourism articles. Tourism is fine and we appreciate the sense of wonder and excitement that tourists often have for some of our wonders – but, this week… What? Isla Holbox is an undiscovered gem? Isla Holbox is not undiscovered at all! Everybody here knows exactly where it is and Yucatecos have been vacationing there for at least 500 years that we know of. There are dozens of expatriates who live there and love it. This is the time of year to come and see the whale sharks, so we expect to see a lot of tourism articles posted in newspapers and online. It just occurred to us that we who live here have a very different perception of what is and is probably not undiscovered. We hope all of our tourists come back so often that Yucatan becomes part of their very own familiar and favorite places.
Artistas De La Playa
As many expats are aware, Artistas de la Playa is a group of artists from our beach communities. Not only are we able to purchase their work, but the entire beach community benefits from their encouragement of artistic activities, especially among children. We received word this week that Artistas de la Playa is in need of a few supplies. The list includes: yogurt containers with lids, string, beads, buttons, crayons, markers, pencils and erasers, recycled paper of all kinds, paper towels, tape, scissors for children, cardboard paper rolls, watercolors, acrylics, just about anything they can make art with, and any old tables and chairs you might have to donate. Every Thursday, at 5:00 PM, at the Municipal Building in Chuburna Puerto, there are free art classes for anyone to attend. Please do what you can to support these classes. They are important to the children and they are important to the development of the fabric of life in our beach communities. Contact: Ginnie LaRoi at 144-4792 in Chuburna for more information or to make a donation.