We had a great turn out! Full house and lots of generous people showed up for dinner! We started out with romantic music from the 50’s. Then our Flamenco show started while people dined on a special menu taken from our favorite menu items and chef specials.
It was a special treat for me to be able to host the 7 kids that are currently receiving a Pablo Bush Romero scholarship with a few of their mothers. They loved the show and had a great table right on the beach for dinner. We presented them to the guests so they could see where their donations will go.
We had many prices so lots of winners last night, but the real winners will be the kids that will benfit from the money raised!
This year the Superbowl fundraising event at Lolha Snack bar was earmarked for the Elementary School in the Akumal Pueblo. We had a great crowd made up of locals and visitors. The tables were all filled and the betting pool was sold out quickly! The sale of the commemorative 50th Anniversary of Akumal Superbowl T shirts went extremely well and we only had a few left to sell at time of printing.
The proceeds of the event netted r $22,286 pesos with some t shirts still to sell ! These funds will be added to the AKUMAL UNITED FUND of the Akumal Development Council.
Disbursement of the funds is twice a year and the Community Liaison Committee will be in constant communication with the Parent Teacher Association and the School Administration in order to determine the best way the funds can be utilized.
We thank everyone that attended this year! Everyone showed great interest in raising money for the school. We had a guest help us make announcements over the microphone and many of the winners of the pool donated their winnings back! Now that was generous!
As we celebrate our 15-year anniversary as a conservation organization and reflect on our goals for this year, we are pleased that we’ve achieved quite a lot, and understand that we still have more to do to make Akumal a truly ecological destination. Centro Ecológico Akumal (CEA) has been working hard to establish a community program to manage our incredible bays in a more sustainable way and to develop a strategy to improve ground-water quality.
Based on two years of water quality studies and participation in regional wastewater management events, we have been able to form alliances with the municipal and state water authorities to begin to address the serious issue of wastewater treatment in Akumal. We are now able to address details for improved sewage treatment along the coast, and thus for reduced contaminants reaching the sea and choking off the reef.
Likewise, CEA has been able to facilitate the creation of a Community-based Management Plan for Akumal’s bays, uniting such diverse actors as the local independent operators, dive shops and hotels, as well as outside tour operators. They all use the natural wealth of our bays, and are now working together to run and fund a program that seeks to balance economic benefit and environmental protection, with a focus on taking care of our resident sea turtles. Numerous workshops and meetings were held with all the actors, based on studies of both the sea turtles’ and human activities in the bay. We were able to get stakeholders to understand their impact on and responsibility for the wildlife found in Akumal Bay. The program is now operating and it serves as a great example of a local initiative for sustainable tourism. We are excited about the positive results in the bay as tours and boats accept new operating rules aimed at human safety and wildlife protection.
In addition, our ongoing sea turtle protection was also very successful, with almost 300 nests protected and over 26,000 hatchlings able to reach the sea this year. This good hatchling rate is due in grand part to the cooperation CEA received from hotels and tourists each night as turtles nested or nests hatched.
Our challenge now is to build on these positive results, to protect and manage better all of Akumal. As tourism development grows in the region, we must be ready to serve as a model of what CAN be done to lessen the destruction of this beautiful area—demonstrating ways to treat wastewater, to manage beaches and bays, and to unite people for our future. CEA still has more to do, getting the government to improve enforcement of existing environmental laws, working with the local community to integrate our efforts, and sharing our goals and experiences with the global community. We look forward to concrete achievements in regional wastewater treatment and bay protection for all of Akumal.
We are grateful for all of the support we have received from so many people throughout the year and we are certain that, with your help, we will be able to report greater achievements next year. If you have not yet joined CEA with a new or renewed membership, or made a donation, please consider doing so before the end of this tax year. Please click here to explore your tax-deductible donation options.
Please join us to make 2009 a year of restoration of this paradise: cleaner ground-water, growing corals, and healthy sea turtles.
We are very thankful for your donations and we wish you a peaceful holiday season.
Otoch Paal Montessori Community Center
o Otoch Paal makes high quality preschool and kindergarten (for children ages 20 months-6 years) available to low-income families in the Akumal community and surrounding areas.
o The school offers an authentic Montessori education based on the philosophy, teachings and methods of Maria Montessori. The schools’ guides (teachers) are all local women certified by the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI).
Photo: A student works with a leaf puzzle, which teaches him about form and color, as well as presenting a challenge for his reasoning and motor skills.
o Otoch Paal provides a grass-roots model of community participation for the families whose children attend the school, by allowing them to contribute labor in lieu of tuition payment and by encouraging active involvement by both parents in all aspects of their child’s educational experience.
o Promotes the cultural heritage of the region by providing Mayan language classes to students, using a construction style that replicates the traditional house (palapa) style of the region, and requiring children to use traditional garb (huipiles, ternos and guyaberas) for special school events.
Photo: Grandmothers of the students came to the school on Day of the Dead to make pibes, a regional dish of stuffed bread baked in earth ovens. The breads were on the altar the children helped construct for Hanal Pixan (Mayan for Day of the Dead).
Photo: Children wearing traditional Yucatec clothing during their annual Christmas Posada Celebration
Current school needs:
o Funds to replace one classroom roof. The grass roof must be replaced with a cement roof, in order to meet buildings requirements of the Mexican Secretary of Public Education. Needed: approximately $ 7500 US.
Photo: The grass roofs that need to be replaced. Funds have already been raised to replace one roof, but both must be converted to cement.
o New or used Montessori learning materials for the kindergarten classrooms/children’s house (ages 3-6). A second kindergarten classroom was opened this year, and it still lacks a full set of materials.
Photo: Montessori learning materials are of a unique design not found in most preschools, and children’s learning builds on the large variety of hands-on materials found in each classroom.
o Monetary donations in any amount to help cover school operating costs. As a non-profit organization, Otoch Paal does not generate sufficient funds to cover all its costs.
How to make a donation:
o Roof replacement: Members of the Foothills Rotary Club of Fort Collins, Colorado have received a challenge grant which will provide dollar-for-dollar matching funds for donations to replace the grass roof. If you are interested in contributing to this project, please contact Members of the Foothills Rotary Club: Ron Rockvam at firstname.lastname@example.org or Art Bavoso at email@example.com
o Montessori materials: If you would like more information about donating Montessori learning materials needed by the school, you may contact the school principal, Eleonor Bermudez Ferrer of Otoch Paal at: firstname.lastname@example.org
o General needs: If you would like to make a general donation to Otoch Paal, which will be used for the school’s most urgent current needs, you may do so through the Akumal United Fund Paypal account on this page.
Come Visit Otoch Paal in Akumal Pueblo:
Otoch Paal welcomes visitors who are interested in seeing how a Montessori Center operates. Classes are in session from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday. Visitors are asked to come between 9 and 10:30 a.m.
Directions: The school is located near the back of Akumal Pueblo, on the Northern edge of the town. It can be reached by following the Pueblo’s main street (avenida) to the fourth block on the right hand side of the street. After passing the secondary and kindergarten schools (which are on the main street), turn right at the corner where the kindergarten is located and continue to the next corner. Otoch Paal is next to the kindergarten and the entrance is at the far corner, near the town’s edge.
–We need new tables and chairs for the main library, the ones we have are old and falling apart. These would obviously have to be purchased locally. We are looking for 2 sturdy card- tables, either wood or durable plastic (the plastic furniture for outdoors simply won’t hold up with all the use they get in the library) and accompanying chairs.
–Used DVDs in English or Spanish
–Used computers with flat screens or CPUs. Maybe your business or school district has just upgraded their machines and is looking for a place to donate the old ones? Anything running Windows XP or higher would be a welcome addition, as most of our equipment is quite outdated.