Por Los Ninos and Covid Situation in Zihua June 2021 Report
New Dates for Sailfest February 21 to 27th 2022
We are now in green on the stoplight system for Covid, people 40 and up have been or are in the process of being vaccinated. Protocols are still in place. Handwashing stations are in place around the city as are sanitizing stations at the entrance to the beaches.
The translation is to reactivate the economy it is necessary to keep wearing wear your face mask in the green light. Don´t let your guard down.
Ixtapa is enjoying an occupation rate of around 68% on the weekends but Zihua is only at 37% so even though people are back to work it is thin times for those depending on tips to survive. Typically many businesses close this time of year and this year is no different. School is out at the beginning of July so that should bring more tourists.
This year we opted not to continue with any further construction and concentrate on students whose parents would normally be able to help support their children’s education. University students still need to pay their fees as will all students at startup on the 6th of September when schools reopen to in-person classes. For many families even if they are working they simply can’t afford what they could before Covid. A volunteer told me many of the 15-year-old boys in her community will not be returning to school this year, they have had to go to work to help support their families. It seems criminal to me. Prices of food are up a little over 20%, gas is at an all-time high of 22 pesos per liter so we expect bus fares to go up next. All of this in a country where the minimum wage is 150 pesos per day or 7.00 roughly in USD and 5.00 in CDN.
We always have requested to help bright young students who just want to be able to study. This week was no different. A young gal 20, graduated from high school at the top of her class. Her dream was to become an accountant but the university was just not in the budget for her single Mom. She works part-time at the Mega Soriana as a cashier and volunteers in the Por Los Ninos accountant’s office. Thanks to two generous donations from one of our Canadian supporters who donated his COVID grant funds, and another anonymous sponsor she can now attend university. She enrolled. An exciting time for her and for us. I love it when governments hand out funds and we benefit from it!
There are many students who need a second or third sponsor to be able to make ends meet this year. Scholarships are 350 USD per year, which gives them just over 500 pesos per month, in reality, they all need between 1000 and 2000 pesos which equates to just under 50 USD and 70 CDN depending on the exchange rate. If they have to pay for transportation it is even more than that. If you would like to help a student realize their dream it isn´t that difficult and there is no long-term commitment, even a one-time donation helps. 11 of our 43 students are struggling to make ends meet now. When someone other than Mom or Dad takes an interest in them they feel even more obligated to do well and they do. Your donation changes their lives, the lives of their families, and the community. www.porlosninos.com
Students can learn under a tree if necessary, this year proved that with students studying anywhere they could get an internet connection. I am thrilled with the marks this term. Our lowest mark was 82%, that student has little extra support and has to work to support himself at school so less time to study. Most were in the 90% plus range with several with near-perfect marks.
Our Music in my Zihua program is continuing with Juanito Zihua with students from 3 years and up. Developing young minds and having fun while doing it. Juanito is an amazing teacher, they learn discipline and the love of music. 1 hour a day, 3 hours a week all for 10 pesos a class.
Over the past 20 years, we have built, renovated, and repaired more than 135 classrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, and playgrounds. I think we are in pretty good shape however I am expecting to receive a ton of requests for repairs to schools that have been closed for over a year now. Bathrooms in particular. Maintenance is not paid for by the government, the ´parents are expected to pay all maintenance costs. This year that simply won´t happen and we don´t have the funds to help either until after Sailfest. We might have to change our tune from learning under a tree to peeing under a tree. I will be pressuring the government for help on this one. We fed their people for over a year and are still doing it.
We still have two community kitchens operational, one near Centenario that is still providing on average 1200 meals per week and we have families at Casa Para Niños who are still not back to work and many who are just working part-time. These are some of the poorest families in Zihua. Doña Amy is happy she is cooking for the crowd again, feeding the students and families at school. The good news is we are down to about 25 requests for food hampers a week.
The Malecon is nearly finished and the waterfront looks completely different. The fisherman even have storage units under the basketball court. No more tarped canopies for shade in the restaurants they have palapa roofs now, this is the beginning of Restaurante Arcadia or the Office for Por Los Ninos.
Jorge Sanchez won the election, he is the first mayor to win a second term. We will look forward to lots more improvements in our little piece of paradise.
People are complaining that accommodation is difficult to find this winter, everything is getting booked up. Hopefully, that means we have a good season this year. We are waiting for going the big announcement of the new regulations for travel this week, and changes in border crossing regulations. We hope it is good news. We are looking forward to returning to normal whatever that is. One of our biggest supporters, Amuletto Boutique Hotel was just named in the top 10% of hotels worldwide, not bad for little old Zihuatanejo!