Vecinos Con Carinos is an organization that supports schools and people who live in a poor area in Teacapan, about two hours drive south of Mazatlan. I am a member of this club and we held a fundraiser at Villa Loman, a beautiful home a few minutes north of Teacapan. Our hosts were Helen and Jerry Loman, also members of the group. Their home is spacious and the grounds are huge. And it is only a five minute walk down to the beach. Here are photos of the home and the view from the terrace.
Some of us stayed overnight in guest apartments, while others came out only for the day. Kathy and David Francone graciously gave me a ride down there in their new Winnebago which made it all the more enjoyable.
Upon our arrival at Villa Loman, Dave Parker had been busy barbecuing hot dogs for us. His wife Sue did an amazing job of organizing this fundraiser attended by some 23 people. Sue is very creative in terms of planning everything from activities to obtaining door prizes. She even designed trophies for the game winners. And what fun games they were!
A bean bag toss was the first game, followed by a potato race. There was also a putting green on the grounds for those who braved the broiling sun. A trivia quiz followed, Bingo games and then the raffle for the door prizes took place.
Helen Loman is a remarkable woman. At the tender age of 87, she provided and cooked all the food for our sumptuous dinner that evening. The menu included ribs, chicken, cole slaw, potato salad, corn on the cob and garlic bread. Helen lamented that she had forgotten to serve the baked beans she had lovingly prepared, so care packages were provided. The table was set beautifully with china and silver. Dessert followed with delicious homemade ice cream.
After dinner we sat around on the terrace and then some of us participated in a sing-along. Others began their drive home to Mazatlan. We were all exhausted by eleven and retired to our apartments.
The next morning we were treated to a wonderful breakfast of quiche, potatoes, fruit and the lightest and fluffiest biscuits I’ve ever tasted. Most of us were still full from the meal the night before and were overwhelmed by yet another feast.
All too soon, we said our good-byes and departed Villa Loman. On the way back to Mazatlan, we took a detour through the pueblo of Teacapan and explored the Malecon.
It was a fabulous way to celebrate the fourth of July. And the fundraiser itself was a huge success, raising approximately $8200 Mexican. It was indeed a Happy Fourth of July!
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.