December is here, and while our friends up north are shivering down here in Akumal we’re enjoying the break from the heat. At Hekab be, the children started the holiday season with their traditional Paseo de Halloween (Halloween walk) visiting the restaurants and stores around the arch to “pedir Halloween” – the Mexican way of trick or treating. There were no tricks down here though, just some fun costumes and happy children.
We celebrated Day of the Dead in the traditional Yucatec way with an altar and by cooking (and eating!) pibes slow baked in a pit fire. Pibes are like giant tamales filled with chicken in a spicy red sauce. Delicious!
If you follow Hekab be on Instagram and Facebook you’ll know that Kaori has developed a very active group of local families who are helping her create a vibrant and activity community. They have built a traditional Mayan outdoor kitchen for the very popular cooking classes, and have planted a garden to grow their own vegetables to cook with.
The children were an important part of the recent Akumal Arts Festival, creating art to decorate the Pueblo and attending some of the free workshops given by the amazing international artists that came to Akumal. The children also made their own instruments and gave a rousing performance inspired by the group ‘Stomp’ at the opening night ceremony.
Can you help us sustain these wonderful programs?
While Kaori and her staff have the physical help from the Pueblo families, they are in desperate need of one thing: funding.
Unfortunately, the local ex-pat community has drifted away from supporting Hekab be for one reason or another and the US foundation no-longer is receiving the donations it once did. While visitor donations cover materials, the fund that covers operating costs for salaries (which are very low), water and electric bills, and building maintenance is almost dry.
In this holiday season, would you consider making a small donation to help out? You can stop by Hekab be (we have parking directly outside) and give it to Kaori, or send via Paypal directly to the US board.
The Holiday Wishlist
If you’d rather give in kind, Kaori has a wishlist for holiday gifts posted on the website.
There are many new families who have moved to the Akumal pueblo in the past year, and the majority of them are extremely poor.
These children need clothes! Many of them have never had a new outfit in their lives. So this year, as last, we have decided to give a combination of clothes, plus a small toy or game. This is much more practical and sustainable than gifting just toys.
Suggestions for toys are jump ropes, Lego, dexterity and memory games such as Jenga or match cards, large piece puzzles for small kids, creative craft kits, magic sets, and science experiment kits. All gifts are good, but games and activities that spark the imagination or teach a skill are best.
For outfits, the children need good quality practical everyday clothes (t-shirts, shorts, dresses) and swim suits and sun-protection shirts for their swim lessons at the beach every second Saturday.
To buy an outfit or toy, choose from the list of children by gender and age below, and drop it off either at Hekab be between the hours of noon and 6pm Monday to Friday. Or you can drop donations at Turtle Bay Café and at the Akumal Chomak General Store by the arch.
- Baby: 1 boy
- 2 years old: 2 boys
- 3 years old: 1 boy,
- 4 years old: 1 boy, 1 girl
- 5 years old: 2 boys, 2 girls
- 6 years old: 4 girls
- 7 years old: 1 boy, 1 girl
- 8 years old: 3 boys, 5 girls
- 10 years old: 1 boy, 3 girls
- 11 years old: 1 girl
If you have any questions, please contact Kaori Sueki via the Facebook page, or at firstname.lastname@example.org
THANK YOU and may you all have a joyful and blessed holiday season. Don’t forget that you are ALL invited to the holiday party! And please, if you haven’t been to Hekab be recently, stop by on your way down the beach road. It is a very different place these days, and we think you’ll be impressed by what you see.