News starting January 26, 2009.
Henry Ponce Miranda: Wins Architectural Digest México Award
Yucatan Living would like to congratulate our friend, Henry Ponce Miranda, on the occasion of his having won Architectural Digest México’s Contest Icons of Design 2008 in the Category of Restoration. This is the fourth year the magazine has given awards in 17 different categories. The prize itself was a small statue of an angel, a replica of the original, by Sebastián, which is a monument in Toledo, Spain. Our congratulations not only to Henry Ponce Miranda, but to designers Steven Cheroske and Tim Helyer as well, for seeing the deserving charms of their turn of the century French home.
Oh! The Weather Outside is “Frightful”
And we may need a fireplace if this keeps up. As of this writing, Yucatan is at Norte # 28 (and counting). We have had night temperatures as low as 45 ºF (7.6 ºC) in the past week. We see tourists soaking up the warm daytime sun, while expats and local citizens take all day to recover from the cold winds of the night before. But there are more serious implications to this cold weather. The health of children and the elderly is at particular risk because they do not have such things as blankets, coats, heavy shoes and socks, and caps necessary to keep warm under these unusual conditions. If you have any of those items and would like to donate them tothe community, call the Municipal DIF (928-0456 ext. 81900) and ask where you can take them, or get in touch with ladies groups at the church nearest you…. Or – could this kind of community service project be on the horizon for our new “Change HasCome” expat group? (Working Gringa wants to add that a lot of the animals have a hard time coping with this cold as well. A little food slipped to a hungry pup will certainly help them deal with the cold.)
Huffington Post: Expat Community Service Project
That’s right folks. This group of local expats started here, completed their first project here, and landed in Huffington Post here!Congratulations to everyone who participated and we’ll see everyone back for the next project!
Get Your Tickets To The Women’s Dances Now!
Can’t get to Las Vegas to see the dance lines? Not to worry. We have as good or better performances right here in Yucatan! Volunteer ladies’ groups, throughout our state, use a pre-carnival dance as their major annual fundraiser. These dances are open only to women and, in most cases, are events at which costumed attendees often rival the performers. All proceeds go to support local charities, so ladies – please watch our events for dates and ticket information. In Progreso, the proceeds of the Women’s Dance support the San Joaquin nursing home. The dance will be Friday, Feb. 6, at 9:00 PM at the CTM . Tickets are $100 pesos and can be purchased at the home of Señora Elda Manzano de Rosado, Calle 33 x 80 y 82, in front of the Municipal Palace. Hint: Wear something cool. The crowd is huge and it gets warm in there.
Oaxaca: Inauguration of Wind Farms
Spanish energy company Acciona Energia, in partnership with Cemex, has opened a 2,500 hectare (6,180 acre) windfarm in La Ventosa, Oaxaca. By the end of 2009, this field will generate 250 megawatts of power with 167 turbines. This is enough power for a city of half-a-million homes. Construction of the field has created 850 jobs. On the same day, another Spanish company, Iberdrola, opened an 80 megawatt wind farm, also in southern Oaxaca. We are proud of all of the alternative energy solutions being explored by Mexico and thankful that many of these projects are rapidly moving ahead. This will place Mexico in the forefront of those nations who are able to provide power to their people not only in the long term, but in the near future as well.
Music Education in Yucatan
Music helps develop the brain in those areas that are involved with language and reading. There is evidence of a link between music and spatial intelligence. Music helps develop creativity, compassion and empathy, and builds perseverance in the quest to achieve excellence. As more than a few teachers have discovered, playing classical music before and/or during a test can significantly improve test scores. Yet, the sound of silence is rapidly spreading across the U.S. in music and art education. At the same time, the Instituto de Cultura de Yucatán (ICY), through Centro del Niño Yucateco, is supporting the music educations of 628 children and, this week, as part of their 15th anniversary, presented Centro del Niño Yucateco with a total of 310 new musical instruments, to be distributed to every municipality in the state that has cultural programs for their children. An equal amount will be given to the youth orchestras of the state. It is the goal of the State of Yucatan to create an environment in which Yucatan’s young people can grow into the very best citizens they can be. Congratulations to all involved in this mighty effort to continue improving the future of not only the lives of individual children, but the future of our adopted state as well.
Nobody knows what the first blue and then red light was that gave the people of Yucalpetén and Progreso such a show this past week. Whatever it was, it stuck around for a little over an hour and then was gone. This kind of thing is common along the coast of Campeche, but this is the first time we have seen such a thing in this area. Although no one seems to know what it was, neither does anyone seem to be upset by it. We wonder if there will ever be any kind of official explanation. If not, and if it happens again, we will just enjoy the show and go on about our business.
Limestone Quarry Issues
Last year, U.S. importation of limestone quarried in Quintana Roo shot through the roof and is expected to hold steady through 2009 (Vulcan ). According to research at UADY, wholesale quarrying of limestone is not good for the peninsula because the land can never be returned to its former state. However, allowing commercial quarrying has become necessary because reclamation can be required and regulated, which would not be the case if illegal quarrying had an opportunity to gain control. Research into best practices, including best trees to replant on reclaimed land, is ongoing. This is an issue that bears watching because it affects the environmental health of our peninsula forever. The UADY study is HERE.
Urban Development: Avoiding Big City Pitfalls
In small to medium size cities, human beings tend to develop a sense of community. Everybody is a home-town boy or a home-town girl. Unfortunately, as cities grow larger, they tend to begin developing a great divide between segments of their populations. Sometimes these divisions are based on economics and we end up with “the poor side of town” being abandoned, along with the people who live there.
Sometimes these divisions are based on race, ethnicity, religion, class, or even proximity. It isn’t long before a sense of hopelessness and helplessness follows and, with it, crime that is directly related to a feeling of being considered of no value to one’s own community. Merida has grown to the point now that the city boundaries are much the same as the boundaries of the entire municipality and, in some cases, effectively pushing beyond them. In order to give all citizens of this municipality a true home town of their own, the southern part of the municipality, especially the part that is on the other side of the airport, is being divided into two sections, each with a brand new “downtown” and each with commercial and cultural opportunities that equal those found in the city’s center. This is wonderful news and we all wish great success for the two new sections of our municipality.
Archaeology: Experience Not Required
When a friend’s grandchild wanted to major in archaeology in college, we looked at job opportunities and found that archaeology, as a profession, suffers from the old “can’t get a job without experience, but can’t get experience without a job” syndrome. Well, this week we found at least one answer to that dilemma – volunteering! The International Cultural Youth Exchange provides volunteer workers for Salvamento Arqueológico, which is based in Mexico City. If you know of someone in the 18 to 25 year age range, who can volunteer for 6 months to a year and wants to be an archaeologist, this is the program for them. The International Cultural Youth Exchange lists a total of 26 volunteer jobs in Mexico. These jobs are in all areas but mostly with women and children. To see all 26 matches for volunteer jobs for young people in Mexico, look Here.
Index of Economic Freedom: World Rankings
The Heritage Foundation has just published the 2009 Index of Economic Freedom and we find it to be quite interesting, especially when compared with actual quality of life for individuals and families within the 183 nations on the list. The U.S. is # 6, Canada is # 7, and Mexico is # 49. However, El Salvador is # 33 and Panama is # 55, so we wonder how much weight potential expats should be giving the Economic Freedom Index when choosing a place to retire. As always, we strongly recommend lots of trips and long visits to any country one is considering as a potential expat destination.
Remembering Humberto Huacal Tuz
Yucatan Living would like to extend our sympathies to the family of Humberto Huacal Tuz. The 58 year old construction laborer lived in California, was a son, a husband, and the father of four adult children. He died from a stroke at his home in Concord, California, after working for 29 years as an undocumented laborer. The Indemaya are arranging for his body to be brought home to Oxkutzcab for burial.
More Fires Expected
In the north, east, and center of Yucatan, it is expected that there will be more fires than usual because of the intense drought in those areas. Thus far, there have been fires in Tizimin, Valladolid, Uman and Hunucma. The number of fire fighters called up to fight these fires has increased from 1,000 to 1,500. If you see a fire, please report it to the nearest Police Station or Fire Department. If you are driving and begin running into smoke, please turn on your lights so that others can see you. In fact, the safest thing would be to drive away from the smoke completely. As always, please be careful when burning trash and do not throw lit cigarettes out of car windows.
More Community Service
In October, 50 little soccer players planted almost 400 small trees in Fraccionamiento Villa Magna Sur. Many did not survive so, this week, they will be out again to replace the little trees that didn’t make it. They also intend to plant trees in the San Jose Tecoh Colony, where they will hear speeches about the importance of trees, as well as about using their time constructively. Congratulations to this group of young, environmentally conscious Yucatecos and to those who are providing them with this opportunity.
Mexico City: Biggest Cheesecake in the World
Sunday, while we are all at the MEL Chili Cook Off, Casa de Francia–Cordon Bleu, Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana, Centro Culinario Ambrosía, Colegio Superior de Gastronomía, and Universidad Iberoamericana, all in Mexico City, are going to be rolling out the biggest cheesecake in the world. Everybody is invited to come and see it and to have a little taste. The rest of the cheesecake will be given to a local Food Bank.
Tizimin: AA Works With IMSS
The 8 groups of Alcoholics Anonymous are working together with IMSS (Mexico’s Social Security) in Tizimin to fight alcoholism. AA is making information available at all health centers and from their groups as well. While we understand the need for anonymity, we also understand what it means to the people in small towns and villages to know others who have turned their lives around. This program offers a helping hand to anyone, regardless of their station in life, and we applaud both the efforts of AA and those who are brave enough to ask for help.
Ticul: Profesor Freddy José Amaro Naal
Profesor Freddy José Amaro Naal was only 56 years of age when his life was claimed by a heart attack this past week. This is the passing of a cultural icon and the world has far too few of his stature. It was Professor Amaro Naal who, at the national level, worked to promote the current level of interest in preserving traditional dances in Mexico, including the Vaquieria, which he both organized and taught. He was the founder and promoter of the group Cantera del Sur and wrote cultural articles for the newspaper. In addition, he was the driving force behind the creation of the Juanita Canché de Manzanero Art Gallery and the building of municipal buildings in Ticul that would also house art and cultural exhibitions. Our sympathies are with his family during this difficult time.
Contest of Children’s Choirs
We enjoy the work of some of the best choirs and orchestras in the world, right here in Yucatan. But do we ever wonder where they came from? How did even our little children get so good at such an early age? It is because they have been exposed to music all their lives and taught from the first day they entered school. This week, the Maxcanú elimination contest, in folk music, took place between six elementary schools in Zone 040. The winner was the primary choir of Lázaro Cárdenas del Río Primary School, under the direction of Pedro Ridriguez Chan. As this contest moves around the state, we can look forward to a fantastic battle at the end, in which we – as their audience – will be the overwhelmingly lucky winners.