Yucatan News: Water and Wind
News Starting October 03, 2011
Can You Drink the Water?
Whether you can drink the water at your house probably depends on whether you have a water-filter system, or whether you clean your tinaco and whether you have installed a long-lasting disinfectant in it. Earlier this year, a Merida company, Aqualim, won a national award to improve a disinfectant dispenser it developed for tinacos. Aqualim came out of one of the small business incubators at UTM. Now, there is a new study out, conducted by UTM and Aqualim02, that investigates what percents of the population have taken to heart the admonition to clean their tinacos regularly and add a long lasting disinfectant, as well as the diseases they suffer by not doing so. The numbers are staggering. Only 4% of respondents said they cleaned their tinaco in the previous three months, 20% hadn't cleaned their tinacos in six months, 54% had not cleaned their tinacos in a year and 22% had never cleaned their tinacos at all. People admit that their water smells bad (34%) but will use it for cooking (20%), washing dishes (39%) and for washing vegetables (39%). This in spite of 32% having suffered from diarrhea and cramping and 15% with skin infections. Part of the problem is that 53% of the population has no idea that there are disinfectant dispensers available or that they should clean and disinfect their tinacos regularly. The Deputy Director of Public Health and Health Services in Yucatan is doing its best to get the word out. If you live in Yucatan, please take this information to heart. It is ever so much easier to wash and disinfect your tinaco than it is to be sick for a week.
Organ Donation Week a Huge Success
During this past week, not only did 3,000 Yucatecos sign up to become organ donors, but there was quiet a bit of excitement when it was announced that, in 2012, O'Horan Hospital will be able to add liver and heart transplants to its already successful cornea and kidney transplant programs. With an expert staff of transplant specialists and coordinators, the future of medical marvels in Merida shines brighter than ever before. It is certainly a worthy goal to work so quickly to strengthen the culture of organ donation in Yucatan. With over 2,000 people waiting for kidney transplants in Yucatan, we are going to find out how expats can become organ donors in Yucatan too and will bring that information to you next week.
Wind Powered Home in Yucatan
While many of us expats are still mulling over the future of wind power in Yucatan – i.e. how much will it cost vs. how much will it really save? – one Yucateco family is reaping the benefits of having gone ahead and installed it at their home. They say it cost about $221,000 pesos, paid at the rate of $5,000 pesos every two months; but it has cut their electric bill to the $37 peso minimum. They've had wind power now for more than a year. When there is plenty of wind and they generate excess energy, CFE gives them a credit, which they turn around and use when there is little wind. They think that alternative energy is such a good idea and such a good investment that their next project is to install a solar energy system. They expect that to cost about the same as the wind power, but they say its worth it to be able to generate all of the electricity they need. Here is the original article from the Diario about this family.
32 Tons of Electronic Waste Collected
Recycling a wide variety of cast-offs is a habit that the people of Yucatan have embraced for many years. Given any opportunity, they respond to the call in droves. Such was certainly the case in the recent Electronics Recycling Project. Of all of the participating states, Yucatan was the clear winner. The last winner was Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, with 24 tons of used, broken or outdated electronics collected. The response was so great in Merida that there is now talk of opening a permanent electronics collection center (yay!). That is a wonderful idea but Merida also loves to win – at anything – so we suspect that some people might just hold off on donating on an ongoing basis so they can beat their own record next time there is a national contest. No matter how it happens, its always a good thing to properly dispose of electronic wastes.
City Providing Free Junk Collection
As the incidence of dengue fever continues to rise in Yucatan, the Ayuntamiento in Merida continues to stress the need to clear all junk, including pots, buckets, tires, toys and anything else that can hold water and provide mosquitoes with a place to breed. As part of a public health program, collection of these things is free. Last year, they collected over 70 tons of debris! They hope to do better this year and all three branches of government are pushing this project hard. If you have something that needs to be picked up, please contact the Servicios Públicos Municipales (SPM). Dengue fever is no picnic and is very dangerous for the very young, the elderly, and those who already have other health issues.
Expat Featured in Revista Rural: edición Septiembre
Expat Paul lives on his sailboat at Dzilam de Bravo. We don't want to take anything away from your reading of the article, so we will stop where they stopped – with "Although he will always be perceived as 'the gringo,' he is already part of the Dzilam de Bravo community." If you do not read Spanish, you can copy Pole on the boat into Google Translate and read a reasonable translation.
First Mexico-China Dialogue at UADY
This past Friday, scholars from Beijing University and UADY met for the First Mexico-China Dialogue. The focus of the meeting was sustainable development. Speakers included Tian Song and Chen Hao, both from the Chinese university, and Luis Ramirez and Aviles from UADY. Also included was Juan Gio Ortiz, an official of the State Secretariat of Urban Development and the Environment. Every year, Yucatan's academic ties with China grow stronger, especially among researchers and graduate students. Because so many of our students now study Mandarin Chinese, they have opportunities about which their parents and grandparents could only dream. Congratulations to all who organized and attended this first ever Mexico-China Dialogue.
TOH: United for the Birds Drawing and Photography Contests
Every year, there are Drawing and Photography contests sponsored by the Organizing Committee of the TOH Bird Festival in Yucatan. This year, registration for both contests is now open and will remain open until October 31. Age categories are 6 - 12, and 13 and older. Winning submissions will be presented on November 25, in an exhibition in the second floor gallery in the main building of UADY. The drawings and photographs will remain on exhibition from November 25 through December 14. For more information, as well as complete guidelines for both contests, photographers and artists are encouraged to e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Overcoming Unfavorable Odds
There's a new magazine in Merida and we hear it is just wonderful. The editor is 22 year old Alejandro Ceron Molina, who is a huge fan of animals and young enough to have tons of fresh ideas on lifestyle and how best to capture the interest of the next generation. The rest of the story is that Alejandro became a quadriplegic two years ago when he dove into the Gulf of Mexico, near the beach, and hit his head. Not one to rest on his laurels for long, Alejandro now speaks well and uses his arms and hands well. He says to give him until he's 26 and he will not only have taken his magazine national, but will be out of his wheelchair and walking as well. His mom and dad deserve much of the credit for their son's remarkable recovery. They brag on him at every turn and his mother has absolute faith that he will be successful at everything he attempts in life. We have every intention of becoming a regular subscriber to Spezia. Well done, Alejandro!
Mayan Ceremony of Thanks
On the first of October, members of the Southern Regional Association of Foresters, "U Kanaantaal Sihnal," along with the people of Peto, gather for a ceremony of thanks to God for the annual corn crop. This year, Mayan priest Fernando Caamal Chan presided over the event and later lamented that such ceremonies of thanks for harvests are seldom celebrated anymore. In most cases, people have stopped holding the ceremony because they believe the last priest who could teach the necessary prayer died 120 years ago. Father Fernando say that is not true and that children and other interested persons are more than welcome to learn and help keep this tradition alive. He says that some may have felt pushed away because some parts of the ceremony are performed only by the priest and his assistants. The ceremony includes establishing a working relationship with the wind, an altar and offering of food to the Mayan rain god Chac. Then there is thanks to God for the harvest. When asked about the pumpkin that was prominently displayed, Father Fernando said that pumpkins grow well with the corn in the fields. It is good to see that young people are being encouraged to keep their traditions alive throughout Yucatan.
Snakes in Oxkutzcab
Its very seldom that we hear about snakes in Yucatan but, for the first time in 40 years, rattlesnakes are a problem in the area southeast of Oxkutzcab. It seems that there is a cave out there that provides them with a perfect home, until it floods. When the rains come, especially when we have as much rain as we have had this year, the snakes come out of the cave and enter the fields of the farmers. Each year, approximately ten people are bitten by snakes in that area. Two snakes that have been killed this year were two meters long and estimated to be between eight and twelve years of age. If anyone decides to go and see the countryside, please be careful. Dress appropriately and do not wander about alone. Thus far, no one has died from a snake bite, but there is no reason to put ourselves in harm's way. Once the weather dries up, the danger – for the most part – will have passed.
Eco Children's Conference in Progreso
Our generation constantly worries about the state of the planet we will leave for our children. Perhaps, we should put an equal amount of time and effort into listening to the children's concerns and providing them with answers to their questions. After all, in the not too distant future, they will be the politicians and scientists who do the environmental research and make the environmental decisions, as well as the environmentally responsible citizens who take our places and worry about the state of the planet they will leave for their children. This past week, the third Children's Forum on the Environment was held in Progreso. One hundred primary school children attended to hear students their own age present the current facts on global warming. Also attending were environmental specialists and individuals from governmental agencies. At the end of the presentations, the adults then listened to the children. We believe this: even money could not buy any better better insurance for the future health of Yucatan's environment than an interactive event such as this.
Chelem Christmas Dreams
Expats have either begun new programs to benefit the communities in which they live, or joined groups that are already there. One such group of Chelem Christmas Dreams. Please visit the Chelem Christmas Dreams website to read more about this worthy project and to make a donation. Hundreds of children benefit from this project every year, but only with your help.