The expat influence is once again evident as shown by St. Patrick’s Day celebrations this past week here in Mazatlan. My friends and I headed out to Casa Del Cameron in Sabalo in search of green beer. While we did not find green beer, we did find green tequila at 10 pesos a shot.
Casa Del Cameron is a popular gringo bar, kind of like a Cheers place. The beer is cheap and the food is reasonably priced. The ambiance is great and people are friendly. Occasionally there is live music as well and there’s a horseshoe pitch out back.
We were surprised by a mariachi band who strolled in to play a few tunes. It was a nice change from banda or rock and roll. When I lived in Guadalajara, my neighborhood was famous for mariachis as El Parian and Calle Independencia were close by.
I’m not a fan or corned beef and cabbage but a handful of restaurants were featuring that on their menus as well. We stuck to nachos.
Quite a few people wore green and servers came around with shamrocks to stick on our shirts. Here’s a shot of the guy at a table near us who went all out with his hat.
Good friends, green tequila and nachos. Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Mazatlan!
Saturday afternoon my friends and I went out to Rancho La Esperanza, located on the outskirts of Mazatlan just past El Castillo. This animal sanctuary is home to over 50 cats and 100 dogs. These animals have been rescued and neutered. Many have been abused and bear the emotional as well as the physical scars.
Lupita is a woman in her sixties who lives here at the ranch with all of these animals. She cares for them primarily by herself with help from three part-time employees and volunteers. The grounds are spacious and the animals have a lot of territory to roam around in, and cleaning up after them is a never ending job. Lupita feeds them and tends to their medical needs. And of course she offers them a great deal of TLC. She has managed this ranch for eight years now.
Mazatlan Animal Rescue is the organization that provides the majority of the funding to the ranch. Staffed by volunteers, bi-weekly garage sales are held over the snowbird season with 100% of the proceeds going directly to the ranch. Members of this group also rescue and neuter cats. While the feral ones are returned to their colonies, the others take up residence at the ranch, in the hopes that someday they may be adopted. The group also has a stand at the Organic Farmers Market in Plaza Zaragoza on Saturday mornings, where donations are gratefully accepted.
The cats all posed for photos, but they dogs were another matter. They were eager for attention so the few shots I did get are mostly from a distance. There is also a photo of blankets hanging out to dry on a fence. There were actually four fences full of blankets the day I was there. Lupita has only one washing machine and does these herself.
Providing a loving and caring home for these animals is Lupita’s passion. She is truly an angel for all these cats and dogs here in Mazatlan.
Volunteering has always played an important role in my life. Back in Winnipeg I was actively involved in volunteering my time to a variety of organizations from YBC to the YMCA and everything in between. I was a scorekeeper, an Akela, an aquafit instructor, a fundraiser, a music librarian and a Tball coach. I organized pre-school programs, chauffeured hundreds of students around, baked, cooked and taught ESL. And I know I’m still missing a few things from this list.
I’ve been living in Mazatlan for over nine months now and feeling truly blessed that I am able to volunteer here as well. This past weekend was amazing and I spent the entire time volunteering with two organizations.
On Saturday I arrived at La Vina at noon. Along with several others, we prepared food and packed coolers. We then headed out to San Antonio, a very impoverished colonia here in Mazatlan. Many families live in squatter shacks with no electricity or running water. Most children do not attend school and eagerly anticipate our Saturday activities. They help carry chairs and tables to our meeting area, which is basically rocky soil with a couple of tarps set up to shade us from the sun. Music is followed by a bible study for the older kids and coloring for the younger ones. Then we served them tacos, watermelon and cold water to drink. The children then helped take the tables and chairs back to the storage area and were rewarded with cookies.
On Sunday I arrived at Las Flores Resort to help with the Ducky Derby. I belong to an organization called Vecinos Con Carino, ( Neighbors Who Care). Funds raised at this event pay for school inscriptions for needy students. Attending school is optional, but many are unable to afford the necessary uniforms and supplies. Funds raised are also allocated to a program in Teacapan where medicine, diapers and clothing are provided. Children are left unsupervised all day while their parents go out to work. Many are ineligible for government healthcare as their births were never recorded. It was most gratifying to see the support from the community at this event, which also featured chicken shit bingo along with the actual duck race.
There is no end to the number of organizations here in Mazatlan that rely on the efforts of expats and snowbirds in order to run successful programs to assist the poor. I am actually astounded at the extent of the poverty here and am thankful that I am able to do my part in helping the less fortunate.