News Starting July 11, 2011
Laura de Los Santos To Study in Valladolid
This lady is going places and well deserves to have any news about her accomplishments lead with her full name. Laura de Los Santos is from Blue Island, IL, and is the mother of three. She was almost 40 years old before finishing her undergraduate degree, in history with minors in Anthropology and Latin American and Latino Studies, at the University of Illinois in Chicago. After graduation, she spent 16 months as an AmeriCorps VISTA member working within the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma’s Department of Aging Services. She is now a graduate student at UIC. Her latest accomplishment is having earned a fellowship to the Yucatec Maya Summer Institute to learn modern Yucatec Maya, which – as we all know – is a living language spoken by over one million people from the Yucatan peninsula, Chiapas, Guatemala, and northern Belize. The six-week institute begins with classes in basic Mayan grammar and usage at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, along with study of Mayan hieroglyphics. Then, she will travel to Yucatan. She will attend classes and experience village life in the historic city of Valladolid and the nearby village of Xoccen. She will get back home just in time to graduate with her M.S. in Social Sciences in August. What lets us all know how very special this lady really is comes from her statement that part of her purpose for accomplishing all of these wonderful things is to let her children know that it is never too late to pursue higher education. Well done, Laura de Los Santos! We know she will have a wonderful time visiting in Valladolid and Xoccen. Read all about the Yucatec Maya Summer Institute on their website.
Update: Protección de Perros y Gatos a.c.
Its been a long time since a few gringo and Yucateco friends sat around a table in Cafe Pantaleon and struggled with coming up with a name for the first animal welfare organization in Yucatan. Today, Protección de Perros y Gatos a.c. had developed a great working relationship with the Municipality of Progreso and now with SEMARNAT. We will save news of what they are working on for their own public announcement. Our news today is about the unsinkable Kitty Morgan. Yes, the Treasurer of Protección de Perros y Gatos a.c. took a little trip in June. Kitty Morgan traveled to London as the very first participant from Mexico to attend the Dogs’ Trust International Training Program. Held 3 times a year, this event is a four day intensive seminar of lecturers and hands on events covering everything from shelter construction, emergency first aid, reading dog behavior, and an afternoon dedicated solely to cats, to fund raising and using media effectively. Kitty was pleased to learn that Protección de Perros y Gatos a.c. has done just about everything correctly in their new clinic design but the most immediately useful presentation was a video illustrating the trapping, with nets, of feral dogs in Bali. Other attendees were from Bulgaria, Latvia, Croatia, Portugal, Mallorca, Holland, France, Austria, Columbia and Pakistan. The new clinic is set to open its doors, completely debt free, in 2012. Now that funds are being used to outfit the building with all new fixtures and equipment, all donations, large or small, are gratefully accepted. You can mail U.S. dollar checks or money orders, payable to Protección de Perros y Gatos a.c., to Apartado Postal No. 30, Progreso 97320, Yucatán, México, or stop by one of their last Monday of every month meetings at 8:00 PM.
Inspiration: 100% Henequen Bags From Yucatan
Laura Patricia León Pacheco and her husband, Santiago Vicente Ortiz Barrera, had a pretty rocky start in their financial married life. She lost her job in a bank. They turned to farming and lost crops to fires and other disasters. Finally, they turned to sisal fiber and began making good quality casual bags. With $750 pesos, 100% Henequen was born and has never looked back. Shortly thereafter, they learned that the State gives help to rural woman-owned businesses. With the additional support of a place at craft fairs and expos, the business continued to thrive. Their bags are in great demand throughout Mexico, and they have even won an international award. They keep 5 seamstresses working, as well as carpenters and other artisans throughout the state. They are constantly developing new models. It doesn’t take Laura Patricia León Pacheco long to look back over the past five years and tell you that “whatever doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger.” As of now, estimates are that 100% Henequen is employing at least 20 people and producing about 2,000 bags a month. But Laura and Santiago think they can do grow their business even more and we have faith in them that they can. Visit the 100% Henequen website to see their bags and other products. We think they are just wonderful and hope you do too!
Merida’s Alejandro Pinzon News and Videos
Alejandro Pinzon has returned to the U.S. after coming home to Merida. He was so excited to be able to enjoy all of the things that he relates to the concept of home, such as the tropical heat and all of the foods he can’t find in the U.S. As part of his visit home to Merida, Alejandro guest conducted the City of Merida Chamber Orchestra and premiered with them his most recent project “Con Sabor a Danza” (with dance flavor). Eduardo Canto, the soloist for Havanaise, is also Alejandro’s former violin student and was recently accepted to study at a conservatory in the Netherlands. If you missed Alejandro Pinzon leading the City of Merida Chamber Orchestra, now is your chance to see the videos:
Panamanian Dances, part 1
Panamanian Dances, part 2
This week, we learned that the biggest turkey producers in the world are the United States, the European Union, Brazil, Canada, Russia and Mexico, in that order. With Mexico in sixth place in turkey production, we were surprised to learn that Mexico is in fourth place as a turkey consumer. In the State of Yucatan, 1,000 direct jobs and 7,000 indirect jobs depend directly on the production of turkey farms. Currently, the price of turkey is 39 pesos per kilo. As we get closer to the holidays, prices will rise to 42 pesos per kilo and then, in December, to 50 pesos per kilo. It would not be out of the realm of possibility to see turkey go as high as 53 pesos per kilo a few days before Christmas and the New Year. Keep your eye on the price of turkey and, before it rises too much, get those holiday turkeys in the freezer. Just make sure that any turkey you purchase was raised right here in Yucatan.
Lol–Itzá: A Different Kind of Plant Store
Have you ever bought a gorgeous pot and couldn’t, for the life of you, find the right plant to put in it? We have – but now there is a way to solve this problem once and for all. Lol–Itzá is much more than just a plant store or nursery. Its a place where seven ornamental plant producers have come together in a central location to bring not just their products, but also their knowledge, to their customers. It is a place where the producers can be found in activities that range from custom planting in pots brought in by customers to teaching horticulture classes to kids and adults. It sounds to us as if they would be the perfect consultants to help people who want the right plant – in the right pot – in the right place. Lol-Itza is located at Av. Atzaes #507 x 65 y 61. E-mail: lol-itza [at] hotmail [dot] com
Update: Mexico, Foreign Investment and Jobs
When Spellman High Voltage decided to expand its plant in Matamoros this month, the New York Times decided to take a look at Mexico’s economy. Due to the good health of the auto and electronics industries, jobs in Mexico’s manufacturing sector increased 8.2%, to 1.8 million, as of January 2011. Ciudad Juarez, which has the highest level of violence and the largest number of maquiladoras, added 1.3% more jobs in 2010, raising the number of manufacturing jobs to 176,824 in just that one city. The Mexican economy grew 5.5% in 2010 and is expected to grow 4.5% this year, contrasted with a U.S. economy that is maintaining a growth rate that is consistently below 3%. We were also pleased to hear that Monterrey, in spite of the violence that has recently been reported, is on the grow again. When we think about the successes in large cities like Matamoros, Ciudad Juarez, and Monterrey, we realize that Mexico’s future is not determined by headlines in other countries. Mexico’s future is being determined by the millions of Mexicans who go to technical school and to college. They are smart, well educated, and building the American Dream – right here at home in Mexico.
Mexico’s Football (Soccer) Stars Exonerated
President Calderon has acknowledged that contamination with Clenbuterol is a problem in Mexico and the Mexican Football Federation has completed its report and exonerated the five players who were banned at the Gold Cup competition. The report states that the players definitely did test positive for Clenbuterol due to their having eaten contaminated meat. The report has been submitted to the FIFA, which is the world governing body for the sport. These are fine young men and we hope that their names are completely cleared of all charges as soon as possible.
Best Website This Week: Underwater Sculpture
The Museo Subaquatico de Arte, whose director is sculptor Jason de Caires Taylor, is off the coast of Cancun and Isla Mujeres. As over-fishing and over-visiting place increasing stress on natural reefs, attention has turned to the creation of artificial reefs. The creation of artificial reefs is necessary because, in reality, we desperately need them immediately and only between 10% and 15% of the sea bed has a solid enough substratum to support the formation of a new reef. Jason de Caires Taylor has managed to combine his talent as a sculptor and his love of the sea to create a stunning underwater landscape. Among the serious and the whimsical, new coral thrives and astonishingly beautiful marine life plays. We return again and again to the videos of the Museo Subaquatico de Arte and hope you think this park is as beautiful as we think it is.
Weather Report: Wet and Busy
When we did a last check of the weather before going to publication, we found the most amazing news. There is, they say, zero percent chance that it will rain on Thursday. We don’t know if we believe that or not but, in the meantime, there is a great deal of weather activity going on all around us. Even so, we still have only 30% to 40% chance of rain on any given day. As always, during this time of year, please make certain that you and your pets are ready for anything the tropics can throw at us.