Yucatan News: Celebrating The Virgin of Guadalupe
Pilgrims Still on City Streets and Highways
December 12 is the day reserved to honor the Virgin of Guadalupe. This year, that day was on Monday, with the festivities and street closures beginning on the Friday night before. The goal of the pilgrims (aka the antorchistas) is to arrive at the Church of San Cristobal (Calle 50 x 67 y 60, Centro) on December 12 in order to fulfill their promises to the Virgin. The problems begin when they start their return trip. Many motorists think the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe is over, so they speed up and stop watching for pilgrims. This is always a recipe for tragedy. Please give these travelers at least a week to get out of the city and back to their homes. It would be wonderful if this religious holiday could take place without one single accident.
Merida: Commercial Capital of the Southeast
What does it mean when a city grows to over a million local citizens, plus becomes a worldwide tourist destination, as well as a national and international religious pilgrimage destination? …and then, just as the state fair is ending, the city puts on a huge, tax-free sale and the annual telethon to aid disabled citizens began… and lots of the pilgrims who came in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe came on horseback, with no police support, so they were riding wherever they wanted in huge crowds that were trying not to be run down by vehicles. …and then it rained and the traffic jams began. All in all, a wonderful time was had by all. If you have never experienced anything like this, mark the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe (December 12) on your calendar for next year and be sure to be in Merida during the entire week.
Hunucma Getting 20,000 New Jobs
As the brewery in Hunucma nears completion, the San Francisco Group has announced the construction of the Yucatan Industrial Center on or near brewery land. This will be a mixed-use industrial area that, over the long term, will generate 20,000 new jobs. The companies that settle in this industrial center will, for the most part, be providing logistics services and other provider services to the brewery and other businesses in need of moving cargo. The first of these providers will be up and running in 2017 making cartons, aluminum cans and glass bottles to support the brewery. Once upon a time, the answer to inquiries about what was in Hunucma was “a bunch of rocks.” That certainly isn’t the case today, as the entire municipality of Hunucma continues to grow into a fine place to live and work.
United States Churches Providing Sanctuary to Potential Deportees
It is estimated that there are more than 700 thousand immigrants in the United States who were brought, with no documentation, into the country as children and raised as Americans. They are terrified at the thought of being dumped into what, to them, are foreign countries where they cannot speak the language and have no skills to survive. There are thousands of others who have crossed the border illegally as they fled from gangs and wars in Central and South America. All of these individuals are subject to deportation at any time, and the new United States Administration promises that time will come sooner rather than later. Since most of these undocumented migrants would have received visas to come into the U.S. legally if they had not been running for their lives, over 450 American churches have designated their facilities as sanctuaries and have already begun to provide safe havens for potential deportees. In Los Angeles, more than 140 Episcopal churches are calling this move a “holy resistance” to President-Elect Trump’s proposals. 17 churches and two synagogues are calling their program the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia. According to one pastor, “we live [in] another historic moment and … our faith compels us to action.” In the interest of morality and equity, a number of U.S. universities are also considering joining the sanctuary movement.
Cancun Has Lost 70% of Its Natural Resources
Tourism and the growth of local populations come at a high price. Over the past 45 years, the area around Cancun has lost 77% of its forests, 64% of its coastal dunes, 68% of its wetlands (mangroves), and 97% of its beaches. Following close behind are Holbox, Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Bacalar. This is the reason Yucatan is so strict about its own environmental protection laws. Unfortunately, even those are being slowly relaxed to the point where it is possible to see what the future will hold if changes are not made soon. The Maya attribute this to corporate greed, but it is not only a problem in Mexico. This irresponsible use of natural resources is a problem worldwide and is now being addressed by 196 nations in the U.N. With luck, Yucatan’s tight hold on environmental regulations will serve it well and, in the end, save it’s natural resources from the fate that is befalling those of Quintana Roo.
Call for Mexican Students to Attend NASA Program in United States
When you come to Merida for the first time, one of the things that stands out immediately is that absolutely everybody seems to be in school at all hours of the day and far into the night. What a difference a little education makes in the number and quality of international invitations given to students and graduates. The Mexican Space Agency (AEM) has just put out a call for Mexican students to participate in summer studies at NASA in the summer of 2017. The skills needed for participation in this program include a certification in English and enrollment in curricula in science, technology, engineering or math. Students should also have the financial support of academic scholarships. There is also an extended program associated with this summer program, so this is quite a serious academic and technical project. The deadline to apply is January 16, 2017, at 6:00 PM (Mexico City time). Applications can be made on the website www.gob.mx/aem .
Autonomy and Leadership Classes Support Independent Living
Every year, about this time, we see crowds of citizens in wheelchairs making their way from the Center for Rehabilitation and Special Education (CREE) to the Governor’s Palace and the Plaza Grande. This is part of the training they receive so that they can not only have the confidence and skills to live alone, but also to be as much a part of the community as their disability will allow. If this means contributing just a smile to brighten someone’s day, that’s fine; but it can also mean becoming independent enough to hold down a full time job. The next time you are in Merida’s Centro, keep an eye out for a crowd of people in wheelchairs or with the white canes used by those who are blind. You just might be surprised at how many people are rehabilitated and living full lives in Yucatan. This is one of the characteristics of this society that helps to draw expats to feel comfortable in building a life here.
Have You Had Your Flu Shot?
Yucatan now has three deaths related to influenza, but the flu shots are here and are free for all risk groups. The state has 211,889 doses of the flu vaccine that will be available to the public between now and early January. The state wants 100% of children, ages six months to 59 months vaccinated, as well as all pregnant women and all health care workers. If you work with the public or if you are involved with volunteer projects that expose you to large numbers of people, you need to take your flu shot immediately. You might also want to take a look at this Pneumonococcal Vaccination Guide for Adults by WebMD. Several expats have had some pretty bad experiences with this disease in the past few years, so everyone knows how dangerous it can be.
Baby Boomers Need to Get Tested for Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is an infectious disease caused y the hepatitis C virus. It mostly affects the liver. There is no vaccine against hepatitis C, but approximately 90% of all cases are curable. It is believed that up to 30% of all baby boomers have hepatitis C but, because it often has no early stage symptoms, they are unaware of it. If there are early symptoms, they are so generalized (nausea, fever, or joint pain) as to be easily missed or ignored. The first time the virus is discovered is when the patient develops cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer. Yucatan’s rate of hepatitis C has almost tripled this year to 32 this year, up from 12 last year. Please get tested for hepatitis C. It is a simple blood test and, if positive, most treatment is inexpensive.
U.S. Issues New Travel Warnings for Mexico
The United States has revised its travel warnings for American citizens driving in Mexico and, according to them, at least half – if not more – of Mexico is a danger to American travelers. The State Department recommends traveling only on toll roads and only during the day. Expats recommend using toll roads in the daylight hours as well, but not because of the mythical banditos. Toll roads are faster and daylight driving makes it much less risky that you might hit a cow or tear out the bottom of your car on a tope. We were a little resentful of the tone and lack of real knowledge in the American travel warning, so we went to Google to see if anyone is warning travelers about traveling in the United States – and so they are! Here are 25 Unusual Foreign Travel Warnings for Visiting the U.S. The one that really amazed us was seeing the many headlines that three countries had issued travel warnings during this past summer. When we checked with Snopes, we discovered that the false part of that claim was that only three countries had issued travel warnings about the U.S. in the summer of 2016. It was actually more than three! Snopes makes the correction here.