Update: Progreso Apoyo Program
Those of our readers who do not know about this program, are encouraged to read the details in Yucatan Living’s Apoyo Program for Students in Progreso. Those of us who are already committed to one or more students in the program have received our financial accounting for the beginning of the school year and are anxiously awaiting pictures and letters from our students. For those who are considering sponsoring a student in this program, please understand that this is a true commitment to these very real children. They will write to you and send you pictures – and they are as interested in you as you are in them. They ask for photos, post cards, letters, and brochures from where we live. According to Kitty, “I actually had a phone call last fall from a 5th grader whose cousin was showing off his sponsors photo and post cards and she wanted to know where hers was!” When we first brought you news of the Progreso Apoyo Program, Kitty had 16 children waiting for a sponsor. Thanks to our readers, all 16 got a sponsor! Now, it looks as if Miss Kitty’s B-Honor Roll Express is gathering passengers right and left! There are currently 50 children receiving support from the Apoyo Program and more to come! At the present time, Kitty has 3 sponsors waiting to choose a child for next year and 10 children in waiting. The value of the program is beyond measure. This year alone, six students from the Apoyo Program will graduate from high school and many go on to college. If you would like to sponsor a child in the Progreso Apoyo Program, or if you would just like to give a one-time donation to the general fund, please e-mail Kitty Morgan at: kbmorgan_99 [at] yahoo [dot] com
The Gold Book: English-Language Business & Services Directory
The Gold Book will be coming out in November! The publishers are working very hard to get many different categories of businesses and services in the book and they welcome your input. If you have a business or service that you would like to advertise, or if you have suggestions for categories you would like to see in The Gold Book, you are invited to let the publishers know. The Gold Book is also accepting sponsored ads so, if you would like to recommend a particular tradesperson and pay the small fee for their space, that is doable as well. The Gold Book will be free and distribution will be through all of the businesses listed in the book., as well as at the First Friday parties at Fiesta Americana, the Beach Gals breakfasts, and any other way that the publishers can think of!! The publishers can be reached by e-mail at: goldbookyucatan [at] yahoo [dot] com
Jim Conrad is Back in Yucatan!
Over the past month, we have been watching our Naturalist Newsletter as Jim Conrad decided to come back to Yucatan and make our state his home. He is here now at the invitation of Yucatan Ecotourism Network
(Red de Ecoturismo de Yucatan A.C.), but we invite you to visit Jim’s site, Backyard Nature. You especially are looking for his newsletters from August 11 forward. The August 11 newsletter is a particular jewel because Jim answers the question so many potential expats ask: “Why Yucatan?” – but the best part is a great description of his bus ride down here. That’s right, Jim Conrad came back to Yucatan on a bus! …and you can read all about it here. We are so glad to have Jim Conrad back in Yucatan and look for great local information in his newsletter every month. If you are interested in the flora and fauna of Yucatan, now is the time to subscribe to Jim Conrad’s Naturalist Newsletter.
Many expats are looking for the best of both worlds – the cultural offerings of the city and a slower pace in life. To find their dreams, they are turning to the smaller towns within about a half-hour of Merida, and Conkal, population about 28,000, is just perfect. As part of the “rescue of public spaces” program, Conkal has just remodeled 4 public parks and added patrols by uniformed police officers on a 24 hour basis. At only 15 minutes from Merida (to the northeast), Conkal is well within the Golden Hour’s reach of some of the best medical care in the world. Add to that the fact that Conkal is only 20 minutes from the beach and you’ve got the perfect little place to retire. Pueblos America has a great map of this area. Congratulations to the Mayoress and to the City Council of Conkal for providing safety and security for the new parks and the citizens who use them.
Hunucma Gets 2 New City Busses
As gas prices continue to rise, we can almost hear the painful cries of our friends and families still living north of the border. Yet, there are any number of ways they could save gas and money if only they would make a national effort toward developing (and using) their public transportation system. The first of two new minibuses went into operation in Hunucma last week. The fare? 3 pesos (28 cents in USD). Prices are high in Merida and news is that bus fare could go to 5.5 MXP by the first of the year (60 cents)… and the trip from Merida to Progreso (20 miles) is now about $2.00 USD. We remember how much it cost us just to start our vehicle north of the border, much less actually drive somewhere in it – and that doesn’t even begin to count auto insurance and maintenance! Maybe even “not-so-little-anymore” Hunucma has a few “living in the 21st century” lessons it could share with folks who want to stay north of the border and save a little money too.
Progreso’s Independence Day
More than 5,000 people attended the Day of the Charro and Independence Day celebrations in the main park in Progreso this year. For those familiar with the area, one has to wonder where they put them all! Yucatan Living would especially like to congratulate the Asociacion de Charros San Pedro Progreso for putting on such a wonderful show. They had 30 mounted charros, led by their young queen, Alejandra Martinez Rodriguez, who was also the queen of all of the activities for the day. The Mayoress and City Council, along with all of the citizens of Progreso are also to be congratulated for this and all of the beautiful shows that Progreso is beginning to offer.
School Elections Held in Progreso
On local and national election days, it is amazing to see the lines of voters, lines that often extend outside the voting locations and far down busy streets. The responsibilities of citizenship are taken seriously by Yucatecos and it all begins at home and in their schools. In Progreso, students have picture ID cards that they use to identify themselves so they can vote for class and school officers, and they take these elections seriously. Yucatan Living would like to congratulate the school voters of Progreso – and all the rest of Yucatan’s schools – on a job well done!
La Orquesta Típica Yukalpetén Goes to Merida, Venezuela
On the occasion of the 450th anniversary of the founding of the City of Merida in Venezuela, our own La Orquesta Típica Yukalpetén will perform in that city on the 21st, the 22nd, and 23rd of September. The locations of the performances will be in the Metropolitan Cathedral, in the church called La Parroquia, and in Aula Magna de la Universidad de los Andes. As an added bonus, those who see these performances will be treated to solos by some of Merida’s greats, such as: Nancy Mas, Maricarmen Pérez, Jesús Armando and Adalberto. Yucatan Living is also pleased to wish Merida, Venezuela, a very happy 450th birthday!
Climate Affecting Pitahaya Production
Over the past year, the constant variations in climate have begun to take their toll on Yucatan’s budding commercial pitahaya production. Last winter, there were over 40 nortes and the remnants of severe flooding in the south of the state. Then there was no rain and then there were several hurricanes that skirted the peninsula and left wind and water damage. This has had an impact not only on the growth of pitahaya, but also on food for birds, that are now turning to pitahaya for subsistence food just to stay alive. We don’t know where this will all lead, but hope that the pitahaya is not the canary in the cage for other agricultural products in Yucatan. We also hope that our current focus on ecology is not too little, too late and that our Yucateco neighbors have a better winter this year.
Another Child Drowns in a Bar-Pit
Many gringos think of the pits that provide the material for building highways as borrow-pits, often shortened to bar-pits. There are several of these pits, called aguadas, in the area of Progreso. Some have become community swimming pools and we hear of drownings every year due to strong undercurrents. If you bring children or grandchildren to Yucatan, please keep an eye on them when pretty swimming weather comes calling. The latest child to drown was 14 years of age and had not told his mother where he was going.
Have you, or someone you know, been considering coming down for a few months – just to get the lay of the land and decide if you might like to live here? We thought our north of the border readers might want to see what some of the monthly winter rental prices are like here in Yucatan, so we looked in today’s classifieds in el Diario. What we found should give you an idea of the price ranges you can expect in each part of the city, at the beach, and in the surrounding towns and villages. These are not haciendas or a “steal.” They are regular houses for real people and, as you can see, there is something for everyone in Yucatan. It all depends on your budget and the lifestyle you want to lead. In the end, you just have to come down and look for yourself. To convert these amounts to USD, divide by 10.6131.
At the Beach: Only a few houses available. No rent amount listed.
Interior of the State: Uman: 1 & 2 bedroom homes: $990 MXP
Zone 1 (northwest part of the city): $2,500 to $5,500 MXP
Zone 2 (northeast part of the city): $4,000 to $12,000 MXP
Zone 3 (southeast part of the city): $1,000 to $2,800 MXP
Zone 4 (southwest part of the city): $1,100 to $3,000 MXP