Yucatan News: Volunteers, Please!
YAPA: Needs More Volunteers in Kanasin Clinic Sunday, January 26
This has come to us from YAPA: We still need some meals for Sunday 26 January. They can be as simple as sandwiches, or as elaborate as you want, but they need to be easy to eat. There is no sit-down table service, and everyone eats on the go. We need snacks like fruit, granola bars, pretzels, etc. for both days. A couple of loaves of meat and/or cheese sandwiches for each day would be nice. We have a large bag of candy, but still need sodas, and water. We need people to help transport the out-of-town veternarians to and from Kanasin. We also need help with registration, surgery, and recovery. If you are interested in helping, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank You all so much for your volunteer efforts, it really does make a difference!
More About the 5th Spay and Neuter Program
Between Friday, January 17, and Sunday, January 26, spay and neuter clinics will sterilize approximately 3,000 pets in Merida, Progreso and Kanasin. Fifteen veterinarians from the United States, Canada, Slovakia, India and Mexico will provide services, along with twenty local veterinarians. The event has been organized and supported by: Servicios de Salud de Yucatán, Planned Pethood, Instituto Municipal de la Salud in Merida, Progreso and Kanasin, Albergue Franciscano del Animal Desprotegido (AFAD) and all of the many Yucateco and expat volunteers. The size of this event, and the support it now receives, has been a long time coming. Every Yucateco and expat who has worked with this program can be proud of having a hand in making life so much better for these pets and their people.
Happy 18th Birthday to MEL
On Wednesday, January 15, 2014, the Merida English Library will celebrate its 18th Birthday. A few of us were members of MEL from the beginning, and many more came during the difficult times surrounding 9-11 (September 9, 2001). That gives us quite a number of expats who have enjoyed the benefits of MEL for over a decade. Along with those who make up the growing membership in MEL, we would like to say “Happy Birthday.” In order to celebrate this occasion, everyone is invited to MEL’s birthday party, at MEL (Calle 53 x 66 y 68), from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM on Wednesday, January 15, 2014.
Merida to Host National DARE Conference
For the second time, the National Conference of DARE Instructors will hold their annual meeting in Merida. This will be the 13th such conference and will be held on April 2 – 4. Approximately 150 instructors are expected to attend to hear lectures from experts in Mexico and from as far away as Brazil and Argentina. It is believed that the success rate of the Mexican DARE program is that it has expanded to not only help prevent drug use, but to also provide tools for the development of life skills. Hopefully, other nations that have not had this level of success will take another look at Mexico’s DARE model and expand their programs as well. Let's hope they are not copying the DARE program in the United States, which is famous for having educated pre-teens about the many illegal drug options available to them even before they get to high school.
New Program to Help Child Crime Victims
Sometimes, children are not aware that the way they are being treated is actually a crime, or that there is help available for them. That is soon to change in Yucatan. A new program has just begun in which children play games at school that teach them their rights, how to determine if they are the victim of a crime, and what they should do if they are or if they know a crime is being committed against another child. The program is called “Ponte Xux” (Be Alert) and it will soon reach every school in Yucatan. The children of Yucatan have always been this state’s most beloved asset and, through the years, every effort has been made to introduce every program possible to protect them.
Casa Uno: What To Do With All Those Rocks
This week saw the introduction of a new kind of home that won an award for housing designs for families with limited resources in rural areas of Mexico. The houses are amazing in the way they combine corrugated metal sheets, stone and wood to create a home that is not only designed for the comfort of the families but also takes sustainability and green living very seriously. A solar panel provides basic electricity, while a composting toilet helps to protect the environment. Built with day-glow colored accents, Casa Uno promises to be one of the best new designs for living Mexico has seen in a long time. We look forward to hearing more about this program.
Three Paranormal Cases from Motul
This week, Milenio published three tales of the paranormal coming from Motul, not far to the northeast of Merida and home town of Yucatan’s beloved Felipe Carrillo Puerto. The first story is about a priest now seen as a ghost. It is believed that God has allowed him to stay at his church in Motul because he had such deep affection for and excitement about his work. He has been seen in Motul since the early 20th century. The second story is about elderly beggars who have been seen in the marketplace for the past 40 years. Since they were in their 80s when they died, they would be 120 now but seem never to have changed. It is believed that they come back because a visitor to the market interceded for them when they were forced to retire because of their age. The third story is about a lady who is called “the ghost woman of the market.” She is said to be a banshee. Her soul is believed to still be wandering there because that is the place where she was raped and murdered. Believe these tales or not. We still appreciate people like writer-researcher Jorge Moreno, who is willing to devote his time and support to the collecting of these paranormal sightings.
Yucatan in Top 10 for Organ Donation
The State of Yucatan now ranks in the top 10 for organ donation in Mexico, and has shown an 80% increase in donations in just one year. A study in California concluded that the reasons Hispanics were slow to accept organ donation included: “... low acculturation, religion, belief, and family influence affect the intent to register for organ donation. To improve organ donation, these risk factors should be considered using specific, effective educational programs.” Once specific, effective educational programs and cultural support were provided in Yucatan, there was a complete turn-around in the attitudes and perspectives among the people of Yucatan. Living donations can include a kidney, bone marrow, blood and cells. In Mexico, organ donations following death must fit within certain guidelines, beginning with the person having died in a hospital with verified brain death. Persons who die in accidents or in their homes cannot be organ donors. Yucatan now has a State Center for Organ Donations, as well as a State Board. As with so many other issues that once seemed huge cultural roadblocks to happy and healthier lives, Yucatan has met and exceeded the challenge.
Happenings in the Southern Cone
There is an interesting socioeconomic study going on in the southern cone of Yucatan. Residents of Ticul, no matter their economic station, can receive free building materials and trees to upgrade their homes and property. The poor are receiving regular food pantries. In Tzucacab, the town is putting a huge dome over a part of the main park. The dome will have bleachers under it and a big playing field, as well as market stalls. Tzucacab is also expanding its stormwater wells, which will lower the rate of new dengue fever cases, as well as allow citizens to enjoy better street drainage. As icing on the cake, Peto is getting a new Casa de La Cultura, complete with areas for music, theater, a cafeteria, an auditorium, a movie theater, and a parking lot. They will hold arts and crafts classes, as well as promote the local culture and local artists. It is believed that, with these changes in place, more people will be drawn not only to the southern cone as visitors, but that new people will begin to consider moving to the southern cone. With new schools, new hospitals, an improved quality of life, and an increasingly modern image, we suspect it won’t be long before they will be absolutely right.
2014 Carnival News
This year’s carnival is going to be quite an event and well worth attending just to experience the new changes. Public transportation will be provided, free of charge, from Merida, and admission will be free as well. According to the Carnival officials, all parades will be just as they have been and, sometime this week, they will publish the routes, which will all be within the Xmatkuil fairgrounds. Expectations for the new Carnival location are running high and everyone is waiting to see how this event turns out. It should be interesting, at the very least.