News starting June 08, 2009
Puppy Looking for a Good Home
Two of our local dog angels rescued a puppy who had been hit by a car, and was wandering around in a daze. They have nursed him to health and now are looking for a home for him (they already have five dogs of their own…). Dr. Tony, another dog angel who is one of the veterinarians at Planned Pethood, treated him for trauma and his head injury. Michael and Jill have been caring for him in their home, and say that he is house trained and has a sweet and tranquil disposition. They are willing to get him his shots and have him neutered for whomever can and will provide him with a good home. You can see a video of him here. If you are interested, please email Jill at snjbenson [at] yahoo [dot] com.
Baby Manatee Has New Mother and Sibling in Xcaret
For those who have been following the story of the newborn manatee that was found at Chabihau and transported to the School of Aquiculture in Yucalpeten last week – the end is a happy one. A specialist from Dolphin Discovery, at Xcaret, came and pronounced him in excellent health. The aquiculture students were feeding him with a baby bottle on a 4 hour schedule when news came from Xcaret that they have a female who had just given birth. Yucatan’s baby was loaded up and brought there at dawn on Friday. He now has a new mother and, for all he knows, is now a "twin." What a lovely ending to what could have been a tragic story. Our thanks to Xcaret! We hope everyone will take the time to go and visit our baby manatee at Xcaret.
U.S. Cultural Envoy to Mexico Sings in Yucatan
This week, there will be several performances by Mezzosoprano Carla Dirlikov. Please visit her website to learn more about this accomplished young lady and try your best to make at least one of her performances. Carla Dirlikov is not only accomplished in her own field, but is a wonderful role model for young women throughout the world. Her visit here is a rare treat. Yucatan Living is so pleased to welcome Carla Dirlikov to our city and to our state… and in fact, we are going to interview her during the week… so stay tuned here for more information. Please visit our Events page to find the dates, locations, and times of Carla Dirlikov’s performances.
To see more photos of this talented young lady, visit the website of photographer Julie Poole. Those pictures were taken when Julie just happened to run into Carla while taking photographs for an animal shelter, so we like this young mezzosoprano and U.S. Cultural Envoy more with each bit of information we discover about her.
Progreso: Yucatan’s Entrepreneurs of Technology Fair
On June 13, there is going to be a fair held in Progreso that is a little bit different from the fairs we usually see. This fair will showcase the work (inventions) of the students of the Instituto Tecnológico Superior de Progreso. Projects included will be electronic equipment for the home, new soft drinks, items made from recyclable materials, and products made from habanero chilis. These young inventors are participants in the program called Entrepreneurs of Technology. In this program, they are taught to create, administer and operate a real company that sells the products they have created. We can’t wait to see what they have come up with and we hope that potential investors will be on hand to view their creations as well. This will be an all day event in Parque José María Morelos y Pavón (in the west of Progreso).
Requirement: A Desire to Learn
There is something going on in the population of Progreso – a movement that seemed to begin with a soft, unseen hum, but has now burst upon the scene full-blown and functioning amazingly well. We have already reported on the tourism related workers taking French lessons in order to be ready for the international regatta to end there this fall. Many already speak Spanish, Mayan, and English. And we have reported on the harbor authority’s computer training of employees for their great leap into the future. They are now all at the intermediate level with such programs as Word and Excel.
This week, the Ayuntamiento (Municipal Council) of Progreso is beginning computer training for the general public. A desire to learn and being age 17 or older are the only requirements necessary. Add that to the Aquaculture arm in Yucalpeten, the Technology school in Progreso, and the university-staffed community programs that speak to both physical and mental health and you have all of the ingredients of a thriving 21st century city. Yes, there are growing pains, but there is also almost never a week that goes by without some report of one or more of these new programs in Progreso. Look for great things in that area – and along all of Yucatan’s coastline – in the very near future!
Progreso & Ciudad del Carmen Work Together
This past week, 65 representatives from the ports of Progreso and Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche, met with representatives of local governments, shipping, oil companies and other support industries for the purpose of planning for the future. New oil fields offshore in Campeche are huge and there is likely to be a refinery built there. In either case, there is going to be a need to continue to transport oil to Texas and Louisiana, and there is going to be a huge need to build facilities to maintain the ships involved in this industry.
Gone are the days of Progreso being characterized as a "sleepy little fishing village" as the 21st century moves in with a bang. Look for big things happening in Progreso in the very near future. The employees of the harbor at Progreso will be well prepared to meet those needs. To date, they have completed college-level courses on the Internet and e-mail, courses through the intermediate level in MS-Word, and are now working at the intermediate level in Excel. We know this is a lot to be taken in in a very short period of time, but Progreso is ready for the future that has already begun.
Dengue Fever Season
Dengue fever season is upon us again and the people are being asked to follow the strategies from the program Patio Limpio (Clean Patios) once more. That is not just a generic term that means running outside, sweeping a few leaves, and then forgetting about it. This program means cleaning one’s entire property – getting rid of weeds, making sure that patio furniture and wheelbarrows are in a position where they will not collect water, making sure that all animal wastes are picked up on a regular basis, and changing water for pets and birds at least every third day. If you collect rain water, or store large amounts of water for other reasons, you are asked to make sure that the container has a lid, or else that the water is changed every third day. Mosquitoes cannot live in places where they have no water or shelter. For your own sake, and for the sake of your family, friends, and neighbors, please follow Patio Limpio as best you can. This program had great success last year and we would like to see that happen again this year.
Association of American Residents Overseas
The AARO has estimated that there are 6.6 million Americans living abroad, with approximately 1,036,300 living in Mexico. On their website, Click on the Continents to see State Department estimates from 1999. Keep in mind that these numbers include only those who have officially moved to Mexico and do not include those of us who live here only part of the year on ordinary tourist visas. That would multiply the number of estimated Americans living in Mexico several times over.
Understanding the Buying and Selling of Pesos
This article was originally printed in Mexico Insight, but is commented on by Ed Blume in Eco-Yucatan. It attempts to explain the exchange rate of dollars for pesos at the borders of Mexico. These kinds of articles are usually aimed at helping tourists to keep from being slighted by professional money changers. May we offer an alternate solution to the problem? Would it not be simpler to just bring your own debit card and take out the pesos you need each day or, if you live here, each week? When flying in, your visa is usually charged to you along with your ticket. If you are driving in, just change enough money to cross the border. We assure you that there will be an ATM machine within a block or two of any border crossing at which you can take as much as you need directly out of your own account at far more favorable rates than the money changers will give you.
OAS Votes To Readmit Cuba
It has been 47 years since Cuba was suspended from the Organization of American States. According to Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, "The Cold War has ended this day in San Pedro Sula. We begin a new era of fraternity and tolerance." While Latin America celebrates, Cuba is opting to take a wait-and-see attitude, fearful that this may be some kind of U.S. engineered ploy.
It is not as if Cuba actually needs the OAS. The only nation in the world that has not already reestablished relations with Cuba is the United States. However, rejoining the OAS would give Cuba a voice in region-wide agreements and policy. President Obama is being given credit for getting talks underway and Secretary Clinton has admitted that the U.S.’s behavior has caused mistrust and suspicion in the region. No matter who was to blame for the travesty of justice almost half a century ago, and no matter who is to blame for keeping it going for all these years, they are gone now – and it is a new day in Latin America.
Yucatan had the privilege of enjoying a year-long cultural exchange with Cuba last year and, knowing how very special they are, we are very happy for them to have been given this new opportunity to take their rightful place as one of the participating members of the OAS at last.
PEMEX Gets A+ from UN’s GRI
For the second year in a row, PEMEX has been given an A+ by the United Nations’ Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) in their Report of Social Responsibility. The GRI assesses the activities of more than 500 companies worldwide and makes their own determination as to how well the companies are behaving as global citizens. We looked at the list of projects they have completed over the past 10 years and discovered that they have restored the environment in many wetlands and endangered areas, and have made many contributions to socially responsible organizations in the areas in which they operate. This is a proud moment for PEMEX and for Mexico, especially since anyone in the oil industry has a hard time, these days, winning such awards. PEMEX is working hard to protect the environment and to give back to the Mexican community. They have earned this award 2 years in a row and should be congratulated.
Mexico Developing As Latin American Leader in Science & Technology
An ambassador from the Organization of American States (OAS) met with the American Consulate, the Director of UADY and the students of the Law School at UADY on June 3. He brought the results of an April Summit of the Americas meeting of the OAS in Trinidad & Tobago, in which it was announced that Mexico is developing as the Latin American Leader in Science and Technology. This is excellent news, especially for young Yucatecos who are studying in our universities. The future is brighter than ever for them and they have earned both that future and the congratulations of the entire world.
International Anthropology News
An International Anthropology Conference will be held from October 18 through October 23 in Merida. This event will be the 15th Coloquio Internacional de Antropología Física "Juan Comas”. Professionals, academics and students interested in anthropology are invited to be present for this event. The Colloquy is in commemoration of three events that are the core of the Mexican Physical Anthropology Association’s "Year of Evolution" (1) to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origin of the Species, (2) to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the death of Dr. Juan Comas Camps, world famous anthropology investigator and educator, founder of Mexico’s National School of Anthropology and History, and founder of the Institute of Anthropological Investigations of UNAM. and (3) the 15th anniversary of the founding of the Coloquio Internacional de Antropología Física "Juan Comas”. The event will be held at UADY. One of the interesting things we noted about this notification is that, in anthropology circles, the city of Merida is often still referred to as T’ho. There is a huge list of conferences for this fall, most of which are in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico City. We were so pleased to find T’ho (Merida) among the participating cities.
Sports Associations in Yucatan: Numbers Are Climbing
This week, the number of sports associations in the State of Yucatan has been a topic of conversation among some expats. This is why a rather small news blurb about sports associations in the state caught our eye. We thought there were only 48 sports associations here. Not so. That number has now climbed to 57! No mention was made of which sports associations have been added. Instead, it was stressed that participation in sports helps athletes learn a spirit of cooperation, improves their overall mental and physical health, and improves their ability to communicate with others – all characteristics that will help to ensure not only their futures, but the future of the state as well. So – whoever they are – our congratulations to the new sports associations in Yucatan! Visit the Sports Associations of Yucatan to see just how much there is to offer in our state.
Yucatan’s Fishermen Request Early Pulpo and Lobster Seasons
Last year, the appearance of red tide contributed to the worst pulpo season on record. This year, with an overabundance of algae and seaweed making a new red tide inevitable, the fishermen are asking that the seasons for both pulpo and lobster be moved up one month. There are 22,000 fishermen and their families living on the coast of Yucatan and all of them depend on fishing for their income. A second failed season would be a disaster. However, it is not yet known if their request will be granted. Officials are still looking at whether the pulpo and lobsters will be mature enough to capture if fishing begins a month early. This story will continue to develop over the next few weeks and is being watched closely by the worldwide fishing and seafood industry.
Hurricane Season: More Dangerous Media Hype
This week begins hurricane season, so we are particularly interested in any news we can get that might affect us and our readers. The first headline we saw screamed out that there is a "new danger" associated with hurricanes this year because "they are not where they should be." Oh my goodness! We rushed to the National Hurricane Center website so we could warn our readers of impending danger!
Amazingly, the first article listed on their home page is entitled "NOAA Projects Near-Normal Atlantic Hurricane Season." Does the media know that hurricanes are not something to play with? Or is it that they just don’t care? Tabloid headlines, when debunked, have the potential to turn off the public’s attention so that, when there is a real and present danger, no one will listen and lives are guaranteed to be lost.
From now on, it is probably best to take anything you read in print news or in online news with more than a grain of salt and investigate for yourself. Your life could depend on it. In the meantime, be sure to have your Disaster Supply Kit ready and waiting, just in case. And don’t forget to make a Plan for Your Pets as well. Finally, if you don’t have a Family Disaster Plan, now is the time to develop one. Please be prepared. We want to finish this hurricane season with all of the readers we started with.
Nancy Meyer on Chicken Little, Jaws and Lizzie Borden
Nancy Meyer visited the Yucatan a few weeks ago, and she has a few good points… especially the one about taking food out of the mouths of children. She is pretty nice about, compared to the way we feel when we see our friends standing around in restaurants, hotels, stores and tourist attractions with nothing to do because there are so few tourists. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: there’s no danger of swine flu here! Come back to the Yucatan… the water and the weather are just fine!