This past month, the afternoon activities organized by Kaori, Lucy, and our dedicated young volunteers from Tulum and G.V.I. have included baking cookies at Turtle Bay cafe, painting flags for the Akumal Art Festival,, trick or treating, making masks of native animals, swimming and learning about aquatic animals at the beach, learning how to dunk a basketball, and playing Twister! Plus homework help and classes in math, Spanish, English, caring for the environment, and local history and geography.
We now have a group of over 50 children, plus parents, that walk across from the Pueblo to join the classes on a regular basis. It is heart-warming to see all the happy faces, both children and adults, filling the library with noise and laughter. Kaori has really stepped into her role as Director, and Hekab Be is regaining its place as the community center it was always intended to be.
Celebrating the Spooky Season with Halloween and Hanal Pixan
As a community of many cultures, we hold celebrations for Halloween, Dia de los Muertos and the local Maya Hanal Pixan here in Akumal. So as you can guess, the end of October and beginning of November is party season! The locals are celebrating not only the festivals to honor the dead, but also the end of the slow season as it gets colder up north. We’re also celebrating the return of many familiar faces in the ex-pat community as the part-time Akumalians head back south for the winter.
Last night we had a Halloween celebration with our very own haunted house, and 90 children attended! The Haunted House was really scary fun. Thank you to our High School volunteers who spent all last week making it!
We went trick or treating in costumes around Plaza Ukana and the businesses at the arch, and enjoyed delicious pasta from La Tavera. You can see from the photos that everyone had a spookily good time! Thank you Club Akumal Caribe, Lolha, Cueva de Pescador, La tienda de artesanías, Turtle Bay Cafe and and Hotel Las Casitas for welcoming us to trick or treat at their businesses.
We will be celebrating the traditional Maya festival of Hanal Pixan on Nov 1st with an altar, traditional pibes (chicken and corn masa steamed in banana leaves), pan de los muertos, and of course, hot chocolate. Look for photos on Facebook!
Making Flags for the Akumal Art Festival!
As part of our outreach into the community, Kaori has been working with Jennifer and Marti from the Akumal Art Festival to organize flag painting sessions. All the children from Hekab Be painted flags, as did all the children from the Akumal public schools, and Akumal’s Otoch Paal Montessori school. Over a thousand flags have been painted in preparation for November 9th through 11th, when they will decorate the streets of Akumal during the festival.
Baking Cookies at Turtle Bay Cafe
October started out with a trip to learn how to bake at Akumal’s favorite place for sweet treats – Turtle Bay Bakery and Cafe. Owner Jennifer Smith shared some of her trade secrets with the children, who worked together to make fresh mango cookies. Thanks Jen, the cookies were delicious!
New Socks for Everyone!
We get many wonderful donations from visitors who stop by Hekab Be, and we are always very grateful for everything you so generously gift to the children. This month we were surprised by a donation of over 30 pairs of cute socks! While we live in a tropical climate it can get chilly in the winter, and most houses have bare concrete floors and are not well sealed against cold north winds. So a pair of cozy socks for each child was a welcome and fun gift.
Please Help Us Keep Helping Others
Don’t forget to drop off donations of lightly used clothes, household items, and good condition toys for our fundraising sale in the middle of November. We are also starting to prepare for our Christmas party, and this year we’re organizing our gifts slightly differently. If you would like to make a difference in the lives of these children, you can see our wish list on the website, or contact Kaori directly through our Facebook page. You can find our Hekab Be Holiday wish list in a separate post.
Keeping Hekab Be open costs money, and some parts of the buildings are badly in need of repairs. If you wish to donate to help for ongoing operations expenses and maintenance, you can make a US tax-free donation via Paypal.