News Starting May 30, 2011
3 Americans Rescued by Armada
Local Chelem expats, Bill and Mary Kay, along with a Chicxulub expat named Bob, left Pensacola, Florida, in a 34 foot Hunter sailboat, on Saturday, May 14, 2011. They should have arrived in Progreso on Thursday, May 19. By the weekend of the 22nd, word was coming in that they were being monitored, in international waters, by the Mexican Armada. There was talk of problems with the engine, need for gasoline and water, and even a ripped sail. Eventually, it was decided to simply tow them in. The three adventurers arrived, safe and sound, in Progreso on Thursday, May 26. Everyone is deeply appreciative of the Armada. They do rescue people from the simplest to the most complex of their follies. Now – we, along with everyone else – are waiting for the first-hand account of this fateful trip.
New Immigration Laws in Mexico
Immigration laws have just had sweeping changes made to them, many of which affect expatriates. Our dear friend, Steven M. Fry, is a master at reading the fine print and is more than welcoming when we have questions. If you would like to see the law, in Spanish, for yourself, Steven has a link to that too. To keep up with the latest information on immigration laws, and to see what others are asking, bookmark “Surviving Yucatan” and subscribe to Steven’s blog.
Busy Times at M.E.L.L.
There is so much going on this summer at the Merida English Language Library that we hardly know where to begin. First, the library is being completely cleaned and reorganized. Volunteers are needed and will be deeply appreciated. Second, the 11:00 AM Saturday morning Children’s Story Hour is back, in a format that is much like an adult book club. The kids, ages 4 to 10, are loving it! Don’t forget Denis LaFoy’s TGIF Gathering on June 3 and Mellow Nights on June 17th – and, after all that volunteer work you’ll be putting in during June, you’ll want to be at the 4th of July Library Picnic too! To learn more details of all that is going on at M.E.L.L., visit their website and read their newsletter! The link to the newsletter is anywhere you see the words “You’ve Got MELL!” This time, its on the first page of the website.
Big Names Fight Childhood Obesity in Yucatan
The Pan American Health and Education Foundation (PAHEF) and the W.K. Kellog Foundation have partnered in a project to study childhood obesity in 13 municipalities in Yucatan and to develop a model program to combat the high rate of obesity among school-age Yucatecos. Their findings will be used to aid strategic partners throughout all of the Americas as nations and families struggle to improve lifestyle, nutrition and the overall health of all children in the region. The initial data gathering study should be finished by August, so look for big changes in lifestyle to be on the way by the time school starts. For more information about this program, visit PRWeb.
The news that came out of the Permanent Conference of Political Parties of Latin America (COPPPAL), this week, is that Mexico will be working with other Latin American and Caribbean nations on the beginnings of a universal health system in Latin America. We read on and realized that this doesn’t mean we will wake up tomorrow with insurance agents offering universal Latin American hospitalization. Instead, at least in the beginning, it means a coordinated effort toward creating a healthy environment and a healthy lifestyle throughout Latin America through massive public health education programs and what we have come to know as health and wellness interventions.
This group will also address projected food shortages and malnutrition issues throughout the region. We have seen how successful these programs can be right here in Yucatan, with hundreds of citizens showing up for public health screenings and to obtain literature on their particular health problem. Thinking of Mexico as part of Greater Latin America and realizing that these sorts of efforts make life better for us all is a notion whose time has come. The people in all of Latin America are ready to embrace a healthier and more comfortable future.
For some time, there has been an additional bridge promised between Quintana Roo and Belize, but it never quite seemed to get off the ground. Well, that’s all over. “Tourism” and “trade” are the two magic words. Latin America wants to be connected and governments are forging relationships and clarifying such issues of taxation even now. Six months from now, the new bridge will open to individual vehicles and buses. Within six months after that, with all inconveniences hopefully ironed out, the new bridge between Quintana Roo and Belize will open to commercial trucking. Since we have quite a few friends in Belize, its great to know that it will be easier than ever for them to come and visit.
Working Women Expo
One of the best headlines we have ever seen anywhere is a description of the Women Entrepreneurs of Yucatan (Ammeyuc), who are currently holding their first ever Expo at the Siglo XXI Convention Center in Merida. That headline reads: “There is no home where the woman does not work.” …and isn’t that the truth! It is not just that women make up 30% of the formal workforce. It is also that they are in business for themselves, both formally and informally. It is the money they earn that makes life easier and more comfortable for their families. Even if a woman has a regular job, you will often see her operating a second small business of her own. We would like to congratulate the ladies of Yucatan for having the foresight to, literally, institutionalize the concept of women as entrepreneurs as a cultural characteristic in Yucatan. They are amazing!
Heat Wave for Some – Cold Wave for Others …
We didn’t make that up! Its really true! There is a weak cold front coming ashore from the northwest to Baja California, Sonora, and Chihuahua! At the same time, ten other Mexican states, including Yucatan, are in the middle of a dangerous heat wave that just does not seem to want to let go. Rain and some pretty stiff winds have already come to much of Mexico – just not to us. The ten states under a heat wave warning will all have temperatures above 40 °C (104 °F) for the next few days. The ten states include: Campeche, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Veracruz and Yucatán. It is when the cool air coming in from the Pacific hits this kind of heat that the rains begin, so let us hope it is not too long before we have at least a little bit of a break. The cattle farmers, especially, sure could use a little rain right now. In the meantime, the rest of us are asked to increase our water intake, stay out of the sun, wear light colored clothing and either wear a hat or carry an umbrella to avoid direct exposure to sunlight.
The Tunnel: Update
The neighbors on all sides of the proposed underpass in Merida have objected to the project, as it now stands. They have already had one meeting with the Public Works Director, but did not feel that their questions were all answered. They will be attending another meeting, with a larger crowd, on Thursday of this coming week. At that time, they want to discuss the current status of traffic flow, the impact on traffic during construction, how long it will take to build the underpass, and what the long-term efficiency expectations are. They also want to know the evaluation criteria used to review all of the alternative solutions and which ones resulted in the choice to build an underpass. This group of responsible citizens contains a cross-section of professional people and is working hard to ensure that IF the project is built, it will be the best option for Merida.
S.W.I.M. – A Rapid Success Story
As a single woman and new resident in Merida, Joanne Reynolds felt the natural need for friends in a new and unfamiliar place. This feeling motivated her to start S.W.I.M, Single Women In Merida, a group from MeetUp.com. Joanne stated that her reason for starting the group was to fill a void she was sure many single women have when faced with the challenge of going out alone, socially. “Whether it’s to dinner, movies, museums, day trips… most people want to have someone to accompany them, ” says Joanne, the founder and group organizer of S.W.I.M. On Friday, May 27th, twenty-two women gathered at Hennessy’s Irish Pub to launch the group. It was a great success and exceeded the expectations of everyone who attended.
When asked if married women are allowed to join, the response was “Certainly they may join. There are married women who need a day with the girls, too!”. She added, “The focus of the group is on single women because the need for companionship is greater than for most married woman, but all are welcome.” To check out the group S.W.I.M., visit the SWIM Meetup website here.