A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!

Rosana

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Expedia is my favorite place to book airfare, and they handle hotels, car rentals, cruises, etc. I like the organization of the site for figuring out what flights I want. Click on the suitcase to take a look.

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Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

Jan 9, 2009 — The other day, I took the Red Cross bus into Guadalajara to go shopping. It’s not a bus that belongs to the Red Cross, but it’s one that they arrange for. Every month, a bus goes to Galerias Plaza, and other times a bus may go to Plaza Mexico or to Tlaquepaque. It’s a win-win: we Lakesiders get a pleasant outing without having to (shudder!) drive in Guadalajara, and the Red Cross gets half of our 100-peso ticket cost. That’s under $8 US, at current exchange rates. I’ve done it quite a few times now.

This time, after getting my shopping done at Plaza Mexico and the large Office Max next door, I sat down at Starbucks with Jane Pifer, whose husband Norm has been the President of the Cruz Roja International Volunteers until recently, when Charlie Klestadt took over. Norm and Jane continue to be very much involved. I had chatted with them on the Tlaquepaque trip before Christmas and asked them then if I could do a video interview for this blog. They said sure, but Starbucks turned out to be too noisy, and we couldn’t think of anyplace quieter, so I just chatted with Jane for a while.

The Cruz Roja operates all over Mexico, and the Chapala one covers about half of Lake Chapala’s shoreline, including all the areas heavily populated with foreigners. You can see a map and find out a lot more about this great organization at http://www.cruzrojalakeside.com/

In the US, and in many parts of the world, when we think of the Red Cross, we think of disaster relief. That is part of the work here, but the Cruz Roja is best known for its ambulance services and the clinic it runs in Chapala, fully staffed 24/7. Many a life, both Mexican and foreign, has been saved by these services. Living as I do on the western end of the north shore of the lake, some ways from their clinic, I’ve been happy to see the ambulance that is just a few minutes’ drive from our home. I’d better not forget to mention the only Jaws of Life in the area is the Cruz Roja one.

They do everything without government funding, Jane explained to me. The volunteers work hard at fundraising. You can now make a donation via PayPal which is tax deductible in both the US and Canada… that took a look of work to put in place. You can do it from the link above.

Besides PayPal, fundraising includes:

  • A month when young Mexicans enthusiastically wave cans at crossroads to collect money from everyone
  • Donations made by local businesses
  • The bus trips
  • A fashion show which has been taken to a new level by volunteer Ceci Girling, who has a background in fashion and has worked with Guadalajara and Lakeside designers to make it incredibly elegant, professional, and fun

The Cruz Roja also receives funds from the annual Regalorama thrift sale at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Riberas del Pilar. That event, early in December, is a must-go on my calendar. Used books in English! Nice clothing! And I always spend freely, knowing that my pesos are going to such worthy causes.

The Cruz Roja Chapala only charges for certain aspects of ambulance transport, like transferring a patient to a hospital in Guadalajara. The medical care is free. Patients are told what the costs are, and most of them make donations that cover the cost or exceed it, but they are not required to.

Jane told me a lot more. There is always a need for volunteers, so if you live Lakeside, you might like to look over their website, which has information for volunteers. Whether or not you live in this area, if you have even a few bucks you would like to give to a great cause, you too might like to go take a look. That link again is:

http://www.cruzrojalakeside.com/
Comments from the old blog:

*At January 10, 2009 7:21 AM, Bob Mrotek said…

One of the reasons that Mexico is such a nice place to live and has such a bright future is the Americans and Canadians who make it their home and are always willing to pitch in and help. May God bless all of you. The little seeds of kindness and compassion that you are sowing along with your wonderful Mexican counterparts will surely bear fruit.

*At January 11, 2009 2:10 PM, Calypso said…

I NEVER pass a Red Cross collection without contributing to their donation cans – They are prominent and a great service to our community here in Xico, Veracruz.

*At January 12, 2009 4:22 PM, Paul and Robyn said…

Have been reading your blog for a couple of months now. I like hearing what is happening south of the border when I am not down there. If you want you can check out my blog at www.casalagarto.blogspot.com

*At January 12, 2009 9:06 PM, Islagringo said…

The Red Cross in Mexico is indeed a fantastic organization. Run like one should be run. After Hurricane Wilma, they had helicopters loaded with water and other supplies on this island within hours and it never stopped. They even came door to door with “goodie” bags. Like Calypso, I always donate to them.

The gringo population here is very supportive and also sponsors many fundraisers for them. Thank you for this nice article.

*At January 14, 2009 6:48 PM, Rosana Hart said…

Paul and Robyn, I did look at your blog. Hope you can find yourselves here more! We too came from–brrr!–Colorado.

*At January 17, 2009 9:20 PM, Blogger Kadmiel said…

this is a great blog on mexico im going to add you to my blog roll if you don;t mind :) but giving is a little bit of hapiness for someone else even if your not able to give a lot sometimes just a little goes along way

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