News Starting April 19
Michelle Obama and Daughters to Visit Merida in 2011
The First Lady of the United States and her daughters will visit Merida in 2011. This decision comes as a result of the First Lady having had the opportunity to to hear and visit with Maritza Morales Casanova, Founder and President of HUNAB Proyecto de Vida, A.C. For those who do not know about HUNAB, Maritza was 11 years old when she founded HUNAB in 1995. This is the youth organization that teaches environmental protection and sustainability, collects blankets and toys for Christmas, cleans local beaches, and teaches children and adolescents how to care for nature, aquaculture, snail breeding, dog rescue and more. It is completely operated by children and adolescents. In fact, in order to even get a teaching job with HUNAB, one must be a child or adolescent with at least two years of experience working with HUNAB.
We continue to be amazed by the wonderful world of HUNAB, by its amazing founder and president, Maritza Morales Casanova, and by all of the children and young people who work with this program. We are very excited at the prospect of a visit by Mrs. Obama and her daughters. If she wants to see what children can accomplish when they are supported by their state, she need only visit right here in Yucatan. Read our first story on this organization and the children who have made it such a success.
Spring in Merida
It is spring in Merida… have you noticed? The interesting thing about spring in Merida is that it seems to follow fall. First the leaves on the trees fall, and then even before you can rake them up and throw them in the compost heap, the new leaves have appeared! Now that it is raining again, we expect we’ll be seeing a lot more of that phenomenon. It seems that Spring has also come to the shopping malls… but its indicators are a bit different. Because we tend to live in shorts and flip-slops, we are often surprised at the intensity with which the ladies of Yucatan have always stayed right on top of the latest in fashion. This past week, Viengsay Valdes, prima ballerina of the National Ballet of Cuba, was on hand in Boutique Ballet to give tips to customers and to sign autographs. Liverpool hosted their Fashion Beauty show, which includes all areas of fashion, not just clothing. And Gran Plaza hosted their Living Spring fashion show.
The Rest of Mexico to Visit Yucatan
This past week, there was an industrial, tourist, gastronomic, and cultural fair in San Marcos, Aguascalientes and the State of Yucatan was given 3,000 sq. meters to show its wonders in each of those areas. Seven million visitors attended that fair and Yucatan received all kinds of positive feedback! Predictions are that Yucatan can soon expect an influx of both Mexican tourists and industrial groups, all coming to see the opportunities there are to be had here. We are certain they will find a land of prosperity and wonder, just as we have.
Local Carpenter’s Club Competition
Local carpenters now have their own Carpenter’s Club, sponsored by Grupo Bajce, a national building materials firm. This week, 33 of the carpenters participated in a contest to design simple but functional pieces of furniture that will fit in any corner of the home. Although the prize was $30,000 pesos, the object was to get the work of these carpenters before the public and the exhibition was a rousing success. All of the furniture was sold and orders were taken for more. The Carpenter’s Club members get quite a few perks from Grupo Bajce as well. These include: special rates for members, advice from company professionals, gifts and promotions. One of the best things about living in Yucatan is having access to wonderful local carpenters, who can – and do – build anything we can imagine. We encourage you to check out some of them who advertise here on Yucatan Living!
Help Make a Dream Come True
There is a new foundation in Merida. The name of this foundation is Sueños de Ángel AC (Angel Dreams). It has been determined that there are 150 children with end-stage cancer in Merida. This new foundation is going to
make their dreams come true, plus some. The children are all being treated at O’Horan Hospital, with Angel Dreams now providing psychological, spiritual, educational, sociocultural, and economic support, as well as blood donations. This is a huge undertaking and we hope everyone will do as much as you can to make these children’s dreams come true. Although no contact information was given in the announcement, we are certain that Sueños de Ángel can be reached through the Department of Pediatric Oncology at O’Horan Hospital.
Mexico’s Economy Recovers Faster Than Expected
As Mexico’s economy recovers with a first quarter report of 3.8% over the same period last year, economists remind us that this is less than half the rate at which it was falling as the recession hit. That having been said, we are still pleased to hear that the domestic market is performing well, exports are up and stable, and most folks are working, even if some of the jobs are temporary. Even the most pessimistic of economists sees a successful future for Mexico because of efforts to strengthen internal markets and to launch a comprehensive strategy designed to support and build small and medium size businesses.
Last week, the Yucatan Country Club had its official, and long overdue, opening. It had been scheduled to open the week that the news about the H1N1 virus hit the news and all tourism stopped dead in its tracks. Now, happily, the tourism train seems to be picking up speed again, and the Yucatan Country Club decided toschedule its gala event. Both Jack Nicklaus, whose name is on the golf course and a golf academy, and Mark Spitz, whose name is on a new swimming training center, were on hand to lend a bit of Hollywood starlight to the event. Also on hand were some jazz ballet performers and the Yucatan Symphony Orchestra. The event included a presentation of Anthea,Harmonia and Kanha, three proposed residential developments that will emphasize a balance between architectural beauty and harmony with the environment.
The new Yucatan Country Club clubhouse also houses a Gymboree for children up to 17 years old. The facilities include a playroom with soft ground where traditional Gymboree activities will take place. Upstairs is a teen area with foos ball, pool tables, table tennis and an area for art workshops and exercise or dance classes.
In the art world, the MACAY had an opening last weekend, featuring a well-known Mexican artist, Leonardo Neirman. Other artists now on display include Leonel Coronado, Tania Cámara and Beatriz Simón. These artists will be showing their work until June 2010.
Don’t put your sweaters away just yet. Norte (cold front) number 47 is expected to start gathering stormclouds on Tuesday, with a significant drop in temperature on Wednesday. The last norte brought lots of rain over the weekend, with a reported ten minor traffic accidents but nothing major and no fallen trees. The paper even gave the cross streets and general descriptions of each accident. Sometimes, the reporting in the newspapers and websites of this city of a million people reminds us of small town newspapers… we just love that!
White Tail Deer Breeding Program
A group of producers has been granted $1.2 million pesos to fund a 5-year project to breed white tail deer in Oxcum, Uman. This is an effort to increase the number of white tail deer, which has long provided a meat source for the Maya. One of the hallmarks of the modern Mayan culture is that they are so focused on caring for the environment and restoring what has been lost whenever they can. We are thrilled to see this program funded and are looking forward to seeing the breeding facility when they are ready to receive visitors.
Merida Added to Google Streetview
When Working Gringos were young, their local phone company advertised their Yellow Pages directory by claiming you could use it to “Let Your Fingers Do The Walking”. Now that we have the Internet and Google Maps, you can walk the streets of most major cities using your mouse. If you’ve not heard of the Steet View feature on Google Maps, go here and search for your favorite city. After the map is displayed, look for the icon of the little orange man above the zoom controls in the upper left corner. Click and drag the little man onto the map. Whoosh! You are now viewing the street where your icon landed in something like 3D space, constructed using photos taken in four directions from a moving vehicle. You can navigate up and down the streets and even zoom in on different views. Google has been contracting with thousands of people from around the world to drive the streets of cities large and small so they can be included in this “Street View” feature. Recently, Merida and several other destinations on the Yucatan Peninsula have been added. So if you live thousands of miles away, or if it’s just too darn hot to step outside for a stroll down the Paseo de Montejo, now you can walk the streets of Merida from the comfort of your computer. Here are some favorite destinations to get you started. (We have to admit we wasted a little too much time today playing with this.) Enjoy!
For more information (in Spanish) see: Agregan a Yucatán a Google Street View