Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas Eve Day in Mexico

Christmas Eve Day: 
There is a strong NORTE wind blowing as I write to you about the most recent Xmas experiences in Mexico...  Gord is downstairs making his infamous peanut mound treats, the poppy seed bread is made, and the cabbage rolls are in the oven. 

Several nights ago, I walked with my friends from the village in the Posada: Two young people carry the statues of Joseph and Mary followed by villagers singing as we walked...or, in my case, 

We stopped at two designated homes where a song was sung asking for shelter and to which those inside turned us away. At the third home, the song is sung and those within, open the door telling us there is no room in the house leading the procession to the side garden where a stable stands ready to accept the statue of Joseph and Mary.  

This is followed by a joyful dance around the pinata which is smashed and candies thrown for children to gather..  This procession happens twice before Christmas Eve at which time a third procession carries the statues to the Stable in the town square where it is joined by the statue of the Baby Jesus brought by a woman ( dressed as Mary)  holding a real baby, on a donkey led by a man dressed as Joseph.  I will get to see this tonight right before Mass. 

Attending the Christmas Party at the local Primary School  is always a highlight of the Xmas season for me.. Without the snow it is difficult to get into the Xmas mood.. However, this changes once the concert begins. The program I volunteer with supports students at the school and also built a shelter on the grounds so we are always included in their events. 

The courtyard of the school was buzzing as everyone arrived. 

Last Minute Adjustments 

We are ready and excited 

 Many of us will remember being part of a nativity play at the Xmas Concert; perhaps  as "angels" or even more exciting.....Mary or Joseph!!!.

When my kids were young the powers that be had already decided no more nativity plays at the schools in Canada....

Our little local primary school has found a way to recognize the many faces of Xmas without exclusion.  


Las Pastorelas:  Dating back to colonial times, Shepherd Plays are light hearted stories about the shepherds adoration of the Christ child.  First they are visited by an angel announcing the birth.  As they try to make their way to Bethlehem they are plagued by a series of evils and misadventures provoked by the devil who does not want them to reach their destination. ( from Yucatan Today) 

Lots of Christmas trees, cards and ornaments made by the children out of recycled materials were on display.

 Yes, we are now in the Xmas Spirit and hope you enjoyed our sharing it with all of you.

Christmas Day is the same here as in Canada... Relatives come from far and near as friends and family spend the day together.  We will be sharing a quiet Christmas brunch with good friends treasuring the memories of Christmas past with family and friends in Canada!.

Dorothy and Gord 

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Most Important Feast of the Year

A photo says a thousand words.  As these depict, this is one of the most important celebrations for villages of Chuburná, Chelem, Flamboyanes as they celebrate together at the Chuburná Puerto.

During the Mass, the Padre greeted everyone including the expats ( extranjeros) in the crowd.... in his words " We are pleased you have joined us, not as extranjeros, but as brothers and sisters" ..  This certainly made us feel very welcome. 

 The children gather after MASS before joining the procession into Chuburná

Due to the windy cloudy weather, the statue of the Virgin was not taken out to the ocean where flowers would have been dropped as blessings for the fishermen.   

And so the Procession Begins, led by the two statues of the Virgin Mary; the first from Chuburná and the second from Chelem.

These are followed by many colorful, beautiful banners carried by villagers from the surrounding communities along with a statues of Jesus. 

The traditional dancing begins as the processions stops along the way 

No parade is complete without trumpets, horns and a mariachi band 

                    One more dance before the statues and banners enter the church.

The entry is marked by women throwing rose petals, noisy fireworks and mariachi music...
A short service in the church is followed by villagers presenting flowers and plants asking for the Virgin's blessings on their families and homes .

The fiesta continues in the square with local free food, plenty of refreshments and live music

The food is provided free by local groups from donations given to them by the villagers.. This way everyone has access to it regardless of financial situation..


Wednesday, 10 December 2014

November in the Yucatan.

HI to family and friends... It has been a long time since I sent you an update on life in Mexico..  Finally some Kodak Moments to share: 

Students looking good in their sports uniforms:
March and Perform on Dia de la Revolución

The holiday on November 20th celebrates the social upheaval of 1910 and that which emerged as the current form of government in Mexico. Much like the American Civil War shaped the modern United States, the Revolution of 1910-1920 shaped the following century of the fundamental direction of Mexico   

Student Parades always begin with the honor guard... the students with 
the highest marks. 


 Middle School 

A New Program: Adults studying for their high school education at the school in Chuburna . Great role models for their children. 


Mom and Tot's Program: EDUCACIÓN INICIAL ( the first education) 

Kindergarden:  Jardin de Ninós

Primary School: Primaria 


This year even the girls participated in pyramids
of dancing around with pom poms



NOTE:  the pyramids are created on the mats, helmets, knee pads... 
Teamwork and trusting your team mates:  Important life lessons!

Keep well everyone
Dorothy and Gord

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Time Flies When Having Fun!

Hi.... can't believe I haven't blogged since April.. Time goes too fast and we have been busy with 3 Joyful Projects for the children, families and students in Chuburna, hosting a fiesta for a local baseball club we enjoy being part of, sailing, gardening, installing water systems and travelling. . Hope you enjoy this brief look at the last 4 months of our life at the beach. 

TENT SHELTER for the Primary School Children 
 Not allowed to eat lunch in their classrooms children sat on the cement covered ground outside, on the outdoor stage; wherever they could find some shade.  

Fathers and grandfathers provided the labour. The Apoyo program paid for the materials, tent and refreshments. 


Workers Arrive 

The men mix the cement... No Machines here. 

Cement is carried by bucket from where it is mixed to where it is spread.  
No wonder Mayan men have such broad strong shoulders. 

Two weekends later:   Nuestro trabajo aquí ha terminado! Our work here is done! 


The cement is cured and ready to be sheltered. 
Who has the instructions?  I think Gord does!

The Cheering Section : wonderful women I volunteer with. 


Tables and chairs were provided by the school. Principal Martin tells us the tents are a hit as children clamber inside to eat their lunch, taking turns when all the seats are full.  He showed us photos on his phone - many smiles. 

May Beisbol Fiesta... We have been part of this team for 2 years enjoying the games on the weekends and being included in team related gatherings.  So it was time for us to reciprocate with an afternoon of swimming, eating and practicing our spanish!!!

The Pool was Never so Busy 
The Mamas Serve.....Never a Buffet Here.... No Helping Yourself

Gracias from the boys for hosting the fiesta. 

PS: They Won the Championship


EDUCACIÓN INICIAL ( the first education)

This government funded drop-in program is offered Mon, Wed, Thurs., Fri. from 4:00 - 7:00. Ten to 15 moms and their infants-3 year old children attend. 

Using some of the funds raised at last year's Fashion Show, we filled the almost empty room and shelves with 2 play carpets, snap together mats, large lego building blocks, puzzles, various stacking and matching toys, a CD player, art and crafts supplies, a play centre, water dispenser and lots of cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and paper cups.. 

Comfortable on new mats and carpets playing with new toys
The 2 teachers receive $1,000 pesos ( $80.00) a month from a government fund to pay for:
Rent:      400 pesos or about $32.00
Supplies  300 pesos or about $24.00 
Wages: 100 pesos or $8.00 a month 

Parents and children work on projects planned by the teachers 

Just like the good old days, dancing and singing along with children and moms to music played on the new CD player. 


Free Community Computer Centre

Our Apoyo Program, The World School, from Boston Massachusetts, and Principal Sergio from the Secundaria School, partnered to provide children and adults in Chuburna with a Free Computer Centre for school related studies only. 

For us, our children and grandchildren, access to computers is a given.  However, for the students of Chuburna this is not the case. Unlike our experience, there is not a computer or two in every home.. Even students in high school have limited access to a few computers at the school and often must pay for time at local internet cafes.  

 the space to be renovated between the two class rooms.
The World School is a charitable organization founded and run by students. 

Seven members of the school arrived at their own expense, mid-August, for 8 days.  They provided 37,000 pesos in funding towards the 70,000 peso renovation and 10 computers plus 6 laptops for the school classrooms. 

We  contributed 20,000 pesos of Fashion Show funds plus we raised  an additional 13,000 pesos.  

From this 

Gord and friend Roy did all the electrical including installing plugs, lights, and fans... 

 To This...... an amazing feeling to witness the students using the computers; many for the first time.  



ONE OF THREE WATER SYSTEMS GORD IS  INSTALLING ... keeps him busy and the extra pesos come in handy. 



NEED SURGERY???  you must provide your own blood donors.
Here is the hospital in Merida where Gord donated blood in response to a request by another expat for A- blood.  He was one 3 donors needed for the surgery.  Three hours later he had been tested, accepted and gave blood.  



We celebrated arriving in Mexico 2 years ago by taking a trip to Mexico City and Ajijic, Guadalajara...

Watch for our next Blog for the highlights....including the Bull Fight!!!

Hugs from the Beach ( Abrazos de la playa)
Dorothy and Gord