Yucatan News: Merida on TV
Merida to Be On World Wide Television
Every day, we learn something new about Merida’s designation as the American Capital of Culture for 2017. Now, we learn that the United Nations will be showcasing our city to more than 300,000 people, in 25 countries, through our participating in the UN-Habitat Program. This program serves to aid developing urban centers in moving forward successfully, while retaining the best of their traditional culture. This is the year to fine-tune your life in Yucatan, especially for expats in business and those who manage social programs. 2017 will be with us before we know it and we all want the world to love our adopted city as much as we do.
Thank You to Iowa: Pediatric Heart Surgery
For the past 32 years, Yucatan’s DIF has been working with Iowa’s Mercy Hospital to provide free, lifesaving heart surgery to children throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. It has been announced that, to date, 133 children have received heart surgery at Mercy Hospital and now hold regular reunions in Merida. The great thing about this program is that it has been going on long enough to have a large number of former patients who are now happy, healthy adults, ready and willing to provide their own experiences to help the new patients and their families. They know the children and their parents are frightened. Flying is foreign to most of them, as are large hospitals in foreign countries. But they will be given every support they need and, sooner than they think, they will be among those who are pediatric heart surgery survivors too. Many thanks to DIF and to Iowa’s Mercy Hospital for all you do for these children and their families.
Fire Season Has Begun
In the past, one of the most environmentally destructive forces in Yucatan were forest fires. Modern satellite technology has ended all of that. The National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR) uses satellites to monitor the entire state. Any point that shows high heat generation is immediately investigated as a possible point of origin for a forest fire. To add to our safety, the staff that fights forest fires has been increased by 40%. Fire season began on February 15 and, already, five forest fires have been stopped in their tracks: two in Maxcanu, two in Halacho, and one in Hunucma. This doesn’t mean we can stop avoiding activities that have the potential to cause forest fires. Please do not throw cigarettes or matches out of cars. Extend that thought to anything that might be reflective of the sun’s rays. If you see smoke on the highway, do not drive into it. And, if you do find yourself in smoke on a highway, please turn on your lights so that others (and the firemen) can see you.
Yucatan Prepared for Hurricanes Early
On the 18th and 19th of February, Yucatan hosted the first two days of an International Hurricane Symposium. The symposium was then continued in Miami from February 23rd through 25th. Hurricane season begins on June 1 and ends on November 30. Modern technology allows anyone with an internet connection to watch the weather unfold. However, governments are focused on more specific local needs, beginning with airports that are crucial to delivering supplies and evacuating victims in case of disaster. As part of this symposium, participants from Mexico will visit the facilities of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in Florida, and will also visit a number of companies that specialize in preventing and responding to emergencies. Taken together with Yucatan’s extensive emergency shelter system, and the Yucatan Civil Protection website, the effects of any 2016 hurricane should be minimized. Be sure you do your own part by following instructions for being prepared, and that includes making arrangements for pets and for those individuals who might not be able to escape a hurricane on their own.
Tourist Drowns in Sisal
A 63 year old woman from Mexico City was on a tour that included Sisal when she and friends decided to take a dip in the sea to cool off. Winds were high and the sea was rough. Waves smashed the lady into a piling of the fishing pier. Then she vanished beneath the waves and drowned. Her body was recovered and taken to Merida for autopsy. It is relatively certain that no expat in Yucatan would try to swim under these circumstances, but visitors are another matter. Please do not go into the water when it is obviously this disturbed... not even on a day with warm temperatures and bright sunshine. The sea is not a swimming pool and it is unforgiving to those who take chances.
Public Servants Taking Sign Language Class
Twenty DIF employees, along with fifteen additional public servants from a variety of agencies, have begun a six month course in LSM (Mexican Sign Language). The goal is to achieve the ability to properly communicate with the deaf community in Yucatan so that they are able to enjoy the full range of their rights as citizens of the state. This course is important because it not only addresses the nuts and bolts of language, but also the perceptions of deaf individuals by public servants. Silent does not mean incapable of understanding or communicating. Silent does not mean lesser than. The future just took a giant leap forward for Yucatan’s deaf citizens and the City of Merida is leading the way! Congratulations to everyone who is associated with this project.
Amazing Yucatan Produces Inventors
One of the first things a new expat notices about Yucatan is the support given to children’s projects and businesses created by young people. This kind of support and encouragement, along with excellent educations, has led to 55% of all inventions registered in Southeast Mexico having their origins in Yucatan. February 17 is the Day of the Mexican Inventor. This year’s most notable Yucateco inventor is José Norberto Ojeda Pech, who has created one product that kills bacteria in water and another that kills the larvae of the mosquito that transmits dengue, chikungunya and zika. These products have been verified by specialists in Cuba and the World Health Organization (WHO) has certified their level of effectiveness. Production is currently at approximately one million products per month with expansion waiting only on additional investments. Never enough accolades can be given to CICY and their various talent programs for their support of young people and their dreams. If you know of an inventive young person looking for a like- minded community, tell them to go to TheHubLab, located in bodega 5 del fraccionamiento Águilas Chuburná. Their motto is “Do It Yourself” and they are dedicated to developing all sorts of products and ideas that will make life easier or better for everyone. Within a few weeks, they are going to have a 3-D printer and the sky won’t even be a limit then!
Custom Canes for 20 Visually Impaired Meridanos
The Municipal DIF of Merida and the Lions Club Itzimna have worked together to provide 20 visually impaired individuals with custom fitted, aluminum walking canes. The idea first came to Carlos David Sosa Echeverría, a member of the Lions club, years ago when he saw visually impaired people with blistered fingers from trying to use a heavy one-size-fits-all walking cane. His design is fitted exactly to each user and costs only about $300 pesos to produce. Hopefully, the success of this first group of walking canes for the visually impaired will soon lead to every person needing one getting it. Many thanks to everyone involved in this project and especially to Carlos David Sosa Echeverría for following through on what turned out to be a very good idea.
When is Semana Santa in 2016?
In 2016, Easter Sunday is March 27. This means that Palm Sunday is March 20. Semana Santa (Holy Week) begins on Saturday, March 19, and runs through Easter Sunday. All schools will be closed during that time and so will a lot of government offices. Make sure you handle any business that cannot wait before Semana Santa begins. During Holy Week, please drive carefully, always on the lookout for pets and children. If you want to see a wonderful reenactment of the Easter story, go to Acanceh and watch the historical events unfold on the streets on Good Friday. You can read about the event and see a video here.
Looking for a Volunteer Vacation This Summer?
KO’OX BOON has a summer camp during the month of July. Counselor training is the last three days in June. The camp is located in the Municipality of Tekax, so you should enjoy shopping for shoes and pottery. For a full description of the camp and how to apply as a volunteer, visit their website: KO’OX BOON. Click on the name at the top of the page to see the rest of the site. We love the work they do and we’re sure that you will too.