Yucatan News: Obama, Flamingos & more
November 10, 2008
Local Descendant Lives Up to Village Tradition: “Beats All Odds”
Seven years ago, a horse born in the Village of Moneygall, Ireland, won the Grand National at odds of 33:1. On Nov. 4, 2008, the 3rd great-grandson of Irish emigrant Filmuth Kearney became the 11th Irish descendant to win the Presidency of the United States. Moneygall has one stoplight, two pubs and a population of 298. Comments from relatives there include: “Its uplifting to see an emigrant’s family faring well.” Of course, the Kenyan Village of Alego-Kogello – with its red dirt roads and the shade of a mango tree for community gatherings – also lays claim to its “favorite grandson.” We are certain that our President-elect was flashing his million dollar smile when he stated: “I’ve got pieces of everybody in me.” In truth, Barack Obama is 100% American and his election to the Presidency of the United States gives all of us hope, which is the fuel that powers dreams for the future. Yucatan Living would like to extend our heart-felt congratulations to our country, to President-elect Obama, to Mrs. Obama, and to Malia and Natasha (Sasha). Obamanos!!
A New Baby Hippo for Merida’s Zoo
On Friday, Oct. 31, at 8:00 AM, a new baby hippopotamus was born to Gorgo and Pipa at the zoo in Merida. Mother and baby are doing fine. There’s going to be a contest to name the baby, so we will bring you that news when it takes place. In the meantime, Papa Gordo is up on his hind legs, throwing a thundering fit. It seems that this is the first time he has been separated from Pipa since he was rescued from a cruel and abusive circus seven years ago. Not to worry. Gorgo will calm down, the baby will grow, and it won’t be long before the family can be reunited. The new baby weighed in at 45 kilos at birth.
Flamingo Update: Ninos y Crias Rebuilds Island Nesting Place
Niños y Crias is one of the most important conservation organizations in Yucatan. Their latest project has been the restoration of the nesting island of the majestic flamingo. Hurricanes Isidore (in 2002) and Wilma (in 2005), as well as regular water currents, were wearing the island away. The tidal level rose several years in a row in the month of June due to heavy rains. Since the island is almost a mudflat, even a 30 cm increase in tidal level was enough to wash the eggs off. Restorations were done in both 2003 and 2007 but the last one was done with an improved technical design, taking historical rain and wind readings into account. Now, there are jetties that will help the estuary currents deposit sand, forming beaches along the margins of the island. Another reason for this restoration is the increase in predatory jaguars following a fire in Quintana Roo in 1993. Since then, the flamingos prefer to nest on areas that are completely surrounded by water. Climate change, of course, is part of the problem too. It seems that the Ria Lagartos Biosphere has experienced either heavy rains or drought, but nothing in between for several years.
One of the reasons we like Niños y Crias so much is the fact that they encourage volunteering. All of us want to do what we can to help the flamingos and now Niños y Crias have volunteer activities that almost anyone can do. For more information, visit the website of Niños y Crias today.
Rio Lagartos: Restaurante Las Palapas de la Toreja
Elmer Canul and Diego Nuñez have begun a new family business in Rio Lagartos. They are organizing the eco-tourist boat cooperative and it looks as if there is going to be plenty for visitors to do there now. They have 15 boats, 10 kayaks, 20 mountain bicycles for eco-tours, and all of this right in front of their restaurant. They have even moved to a new location just across the street from the pier, where boats, kayaks, and bicycles are stored and where guides are always available to answer questions and serve the needs of visitors. Their restaurant Las Palapas de la Toreja is located 50 meters before the lighthouse on Calle 9 # 105 x 14. Contact them by phone 01-986-862-0452; 01-986-862-0403 or cell # 01- 986-8667318, or by e-mail at elmer_flamingoshotmailcom
Tabasco Is Flooded Again
The flooding in Chiapas and Tabasco has now affected 1.2 million people. 126,581 have been displaced in Tabasco alone. Please visit the Relief Web site where you will find Public Donation information.
As a general rule, Yucatan Living does not provide a forum for religious/missionary groups because each denomination tends to have their own blogs through which they communicate with their own readers. However, this week, we do want to reference Rev. Shelby Boyd and the Yucatan Evangelistic Associationbecause YEA is sending us updates on the current flooding in the State of Tabasco. Rev. Boyd and YEA are the group that took over the orphanage here in Merida when Salvation Army resources were stretched too thin by their commitment to rescue victims of human trafficking worldwide. This is the second year in a row that YEA has responded to flooding in Tabasco.
Rev. Shelby is still in need of baby supplies in Tabasco. He calculates that it is costing approximately $5 USD per day to feed each flood victim. This cost is high, as you can well imagine, due to the cost of getting food to them by air and boat. This is yet another reason for donating cash, rather than heavy or bulky items that must be transported at great expense.
Saturday Nov. 8, 2008: “The City of Villahermosa is dry and the damage is minimal. The areas south along the border are severely flooded and inaccessible. Cannot get to Bro. Fernando’s house or the church by truck, and the people there lack food and water. The military has flown in some food, but water is too heavy and bulky. Tomorrow the military is flying in our water plant, generator, and my scooter. All of the areas near Tenosique and Emiliano Zapata are flooded, but the worst is around La Palma. Have never seen flooding so widespread. Will try to send fotos tomorrow. The greatest needs are water, baby food and diapers. We can certainly help with water and electricity. Also trying to find a couple of flat bottom boats to help us reach areas with the water. Wal-Mart is bringing one from Veracruz tonight and hopefully some repellant. Our Mexico-Guatemala road is under four feet of water, and won’t be accessible for several weeks.”
Sunday Nov. 9, 2008: “We got much done today. Bro. Fernanco has one water plant in Los Cuyos and his church is providing for the forty families there. I put together a team from Tenosique and we’re working in La Palma and a nearby village. We set up a shelter in La Palma with about 125 people, and have 160 in the village. The village is accessible only by boat, but we have one that can carry all of our equipment. I hope to be able to provide two meals per day, starting tomorrow. Will have to cook spaghetti, beans and other inexpensive meals, but that is better than they have. It is cheaper and less hassle than dispensing food, and many can’t find wood to cook with. Most have had soup made with corn for weeks. Still need more food, baby food and diapers, but is expensive and money is short. Took many fotos today but returned too late to send them. Will try to keep you posted.”
Merida’s Airport Arrivals Down 23.1% Over Same Month Last Year
Ed Blume, of the blog Eco-Yucatan, has published the October 2007 vs October 2008 tourist arrivals compiled by Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste, S.A.B. de C.V. (ASUR). We will have to wait and see if the overall tourism numbers fell because much of our tourism is driven by cruise ship arrivals and they have been busier than ever all year. We believe that, even if tourism numbers do drop world wide, Yucatan’s tourism numbers will remain relatively stable because our state offers so much diversity of experience and value for the money.
Help Needed: E-mail Ellen Degeneres Show
It has come to our attention that Terri Datica, who grew up in Akumal but now lives in Kansas, is in need of assistance. Her story and how you can help is in the November edition of Quintana Roo’s Sac-Be. Please read the story. All that is asked of you is that you send an e-mail to the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Yucatan sends Terri, husband Joel, little Diego, and the soon to be born twin boys all our best. Our e-mail to Ellen is already on its way.
Progreso: English Church Services
English Church services start December 7 and will continue through the winter months. The church, Presbyterian Iglesia Jesus, is located in Progreso on the corner of Calle 35 and Calle 80. Service is at 8:30 am and all denominations are welcome. Traveling from Merida to Progreso, cross over the Chixculub Telchac highway (passing Aurora Bodega supermarket on the right). Take a left onto Calle 35, cross over Calle 80 and the church is on the left side on the corner of Calle 35 and 82. For further information call or email bilingual Pastor David Correa (969) 935-1678 firstname.lastname@example.org
Hunucma: First Fair of Sexuality
This past week, Brazos Abiertos held workshops throughout the week on the topics of self-esteem and the prevention and transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. On Friday, they ended the fair with free testing for HIV, using a new test that gives results in just a few minutes. Education is the only cure for the HIV/AIDS epidemic world wide and it is heartwarming to see that Brazos Abiertos has become a trusted partner in providing the necessary education and support surrounding this topic in the State of Yucatan. For more information visit their website here.
3rd Festival of the Mayan Caribbean Culture
Nov. 20 – 23: Isla Mujeres
This festival is celebrated throughout the Mayan world. This year, the Cuban delegation will include Cuba’s Estrellas de la Charanga Orchestra, the Cutumba Folk Dance Ballet, the Inglesias Duet, and researchers from the Caribbean house. The Cuban delegation will, during the festival, also visit Belize, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic, as well as Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Veracruz, and Campeche. If you are interested in topics concerning Cuba, visit Cuba Headlines.
4 U.S. Medalists in Benito Juarez Judo Championships
Last week, the Benito Juarez Judo Championships were held right here in Merida. Four Americans were medal winners: Jessica Irons (gold), Dan Gomez (bronze), Robert Turnquest (bronze), and Chris Round (bronze). Yucatan Living congratulates them all and we hope they can all come back when they have time to visit and really enjoy their stay.
La Carrera Panamericana (The PanAmerican Highway) 2008
This is an annual automobile race celebrating the fact that drivers can safely travel throughout the entire nation of Mexico. If you like old cars, this is the race you want to see. All of the participating vehicles date between 1940 and 1965, but are allowed some modifications for safety (such as disk brakes and fuel cells). This year’s winners of La Carrera Panamericana was a Studebaker driven by Jorge Roberto Pedrero Zardain. For photos of these great old cars and their drivers, visit La Carrera Panamericana 2009. Just look at how many women drivers are in this race! Next year’s route and schedule are already up, so be sure to check 2009 dates and locations (scroll to bottom of that page) so you can plan to see at least one or two legs of this great event in late October 2009.
The Adopta Un Amigo (Adopt a Friend) Program at UADY
This relatively new program has been successful beyond the dreams of most who thought it would be a “good idea.” UADY students are functioning as mentors for elementary school students throughout the state and the results have been excellent. This year, 22 law students are each taking on the job of mentoring a fifth grader. Some thought this would be just an occasional tutoring session and pep talk. Not so! The UADY students who have taken on the responsibility for an amigo take their commitment seriously and provide their little friends with first-hand views of life at college and after. Other states and nations who have adopted this program now include: Germany, Hungary, Northern Ireland, Iceland, Sweden, United Kingdom, Palestinian, Brazil, Philippines, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Chile. In addition, 13 universities in Chiapas, Guerrero, Hidalgo, México and Puebla are also now on board. Is there hope for a future for the world? There certainly is! …and much of the credit goes to unsung programs such as this that are taking place around the world. Yucatan Living congratulates both the university students and their amigos in UADY’s Adopta Un Amigo Program.
Crossing the Border Into Guatemala
Recent interest in the history of the Mayan World has increased interest in visiting Guatemala. Unfortunately, crossing the Mexico–Guatemala border is not quite as simple as crossing the Mexico-U.S. border and can become quite expensive if the traveler is not well informed about what is actually a relatively straightforward process. There is an article on BootsnAll that gives details that could save visitors hundreds of dollars as they attempt to explore that part of the historical home of the Maya.
Jobs for Expats
We are often asked if there are jobs available for expats in Yucatan. What we generally find here is that most of our expats are retirees. Many end up going into business for themselves, while others would rather have a job with fewer responsibilities than those of a business owner. Most tend to ask about teaching English. This week, we are posting a sample of jobs that are available for expats throughout the peninsula. If someone knows of other jobs for expats anywhere on the peninsula, let us know and we will be happy to post them.
This week, we only found one teaching job and it seems to be in a small town in the interior about halfway between Cancun and Merida.
ESL Teacher, FM-3 paid, intermediate level Spanish required (spoken and written)
There are, however, lots of jobs in Quintana Roo, most of which require at least 2 languages and familiarity with water sports.
Global Vision International
Global Vision International currently has several positions open in our area:
- Volunteer: TEFL teacher in the community in Noh-Bec, Q.R.
- Paid: PADI Dive Instructor in a Marine Expedition in Mahahual, Q.R.
- Paid: Marine Science Officer in a Marine Expedition in Mahahual, Q.R.
Please bookmark the Global Vision International site and check back often as they often have volunteer turtle monitoring positions available in our biological reserves.
Dressel Divers in Playa del Carmen
Dressel Divers has jobs currently open in Playa del Carmen and Cozumel:
- Outboard Engine Mechanic – must speak English or Spanish
- Water Sports Instructors – must speak 2 languages other than English, must be able to teach scuba, sailing, windsurfing, catamaran, sunfish, etc. Required languages include English and at least 2 of the following: German, Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese, or Italian. Good communication skills a must.
Dressel Divers has several locations, so bookmark their site and check back with them often.
Pro Dive Mexico
Pro Dive Mexico has several locations in Q.R. and is the fastest growing scuba company on the Riviera Maya. They are looking for receptionists (more than one) to help organize and plan daily activities and programs, keep clients informed of products and services, participate in daily scuba diving demonstrations, and to work in sales. Must speak at least German and English. French and Spanish a plus. $800 USD per month plus commission, relocation not paid.
U.T. at Austin’s International Jobs Page
We strongly recommend UT at Austin’s International Jobs Page as the starting point for every international job seeker. The articles are great and the Job Search covers everything from short-term positions to industry and government. For those who are teachers (and/or parents) and struggling daily to answer the eternal question “But WHY do I have to learn a foreign language?” we recommend UT at Austin’s International Jobs Page as the perfect teaching tool.