Clean Up, Carnival, And Our First Organic Art Market

Have you seen the signs on the recycling boxes by the colectivo stop on the highway? They were made by the children of Hekab Be! We helped the Pueblo community and snorkel cooperatives to clean trash from the path between the highway and the beach, and have been painting wooden signs and setting up boxes to separate trash for recycling.

painting cal
Painting trees with ‘cal’

We’re busy cleaning up, not just along the beach road, but inside the library as well. Elizabeth is teaching classes on organic gardening, and the children have transformed plastic buckets into pretty pots to grow their own mini gardens. They also painted tree trunks with ‘cal’ (powdered white lime and water), and learned how the natural material repelled bugs that harm the trees.

As well as the children’s efforts, a group of adult volunteers have been busy cleaning the bodega and sorting and shelving our English fiction collection. We have slimmed down the collection on the shelves, but we have many books for sale at just ten pesos each.

One major triumph this month was receiving the official permit from the Tulum municipality giving us rights to the parking area directly outside the library. This had been a long time in the works, and Elizabeth deserves public recognition for finally making it happen. Thank you Ely! Next up is installing a chain, cleaning the area, and clearly marking it as parking for Hekab Be use only. If you are coming to the library, we will have a small sign for you to display in your car so the police know you are visiting us and not on the beach! 🙂

Celebrating Carnival and the Organic Art Market!

The children celebrated carnival on Friday February 16th with costumes and dancing, and attendees at the Organic Art Market the next day enjoyed a repeat performance of some of the dances. Everyone was invited to join in, and we had a great time pretending to be cowboys and line-dancing along with the children. YeeHaw! It was a lot of fun, and good exercise! This video shows the children dancing. If you were at the sale and have photos or video of the sale, please post them on our facebook page. We’d love to see them!


If you missed last month’s market, we’re doing it again THIS SATURDAY MARCH 3rd 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Organic Art Market was such a success that we have decided to make it a regular event for the first Saturday of every month. This means that the next one is coming up THIS SATURDAY March 3rd from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

In addition to unique art work and handmade products we will have organic produce, natural therapies such as ear-candling and chair massage, and delicious local food and drink. Vendors who would like to join us for either the April 7th or May 5th markets, please message us through the Facebook page: 

Welcome Jocelyn and Mauro!

We have two new volunteers who will be assisting Ely and Kaori each afternoon. Jocelyn and Mauro are both studying Hotel Administration in Tulum, and are coming to Hekab Be as part of their work-study and community outreach program. Mauro knows Hekab Be well, as he grew up in Akumal and came to classes at the library when he was a child. Jocelyn has experience working at a Mexican library, and so is going to help catalog our extensive book collection.

Mauro and a new friend
Jocelyn and children display a bucket they just painted

Please come by the library to visit us, and to see the ongoing changes. We are open to the entire Akumal community from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and welcome everyone to come in and get away from the heat and dust of the beach road. Volunteers are welcome to join in the afternoon classes or help with clean-up, and the office is always open with free wifi and a place to sit and relax.

A New Year Brings New People

It’s been a busy start to 2018 at Hekab Be, with a change-over in staff bringing new ideas and new energy to the library.

A New Director …

Replacing Emilia as Director is Kaori Sueki, who has been working with the children as an assistant since last summer.

Kaori with Children
Kaori Sueki with two of her students

Kaori was born in Japan, but has lived in both Nicaragua and the USA. She has been a resident of Akumal for the past two years. She holds a Bachelor of Design Management from Nagoya University of Arts, with specialist certification in teaching.

As well as being an experienced teacher and artist, Kaori is fluent in Japanese, Spanish, and English. She is in charge of coordinating the library’s educational program, and welcomes visitors and residents of Akumal to come and join in with the library’s afternoon classes.

And a New Administrator …

We are also welcoming Elizabeth Bautista, known as Ely, who has taken on the role of library administrator.

Elizabeth Bautista busy getting the library’s administrative files in order

Ely is a Mexican national, and holds a degree in Environmental Technology Engineering. She recently moved to Akumal from Campeche, where she was in charge of coordinating training and development activities for the staff of Consultoría CONCES, S. C.

Although she has been on staff for less than a month, Ely has already made some wonderful changes, including sorting through and re-organizing the office filing system and book collection. She is in the library from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. Ely has studied English, but is a little rusty so she needs to practice. Please stop by and say hello to help her out!

Although Kaori and Elizabeth have jointly taken over the reins of day-to-day operations, we’re happy that both Emilia and Jake will continue to be involved with the library as volunteers. Emilia will continue to help out with special events, and Jake will be teaching art and helping with special projects.

There have also been some changes in the US non-profit Board of Directors, with Nicky Lawson, David Kustra, and Betsy Amy-Vogt joining to replace members who had to step down due to family and work commitments.

Hekab Be Needs You!

While we are blessed with a team of dedicated volunteers, we still have room for more! We have opportunities for teaching the children, assisting Elizabeth with the book collection, and we’d love a volunteer who would be willing to help out with simple handyman projects such as patching concrete and painting. If you are interested in becoming involved please email via the library Facebook page: or just stop by the library anytime during opening hours: Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Our 2018 To Do List

On our wishlist for 2018 is to complete the renovation of the classrooms; clear, clean and repair our current bodega as a room for community use, and separate the current single bathroom into one for girls and one for boys. Last year we were able to install new doors and front windows for the classrooms thanks to a donation from a group of visitors from the Hard Rock Hotel, but the rear windows are still the older style wooden shutters that do not do a good job of keeping the rain and dust out, some of the older concrete is starting to crack and flake, and the walls need a new coat of paint.

One project that was undertaken and completed this month, was clearing the lot in front of the library and re-painting the building façade to be more visible from the road. Can you see us as you drive past? Taking charge of this was Agustin, an artist who has painted murals with school children in communities throughout Mexico, Central and South America. The finished work is a collaboration work of art painted by Agustin and the children of Akumal in a true group project.

Staff and students pose with Agustin in front of the completed mural. Thanks Agustin!


Plans for the future include starting a garden for the children to learn about growing vegetables, and we have an art show and book sale planned for Feb 17th at the library. We are hoping to have as many local artists as possible join us for this event. Cost will be $100 MX per space, with 100% of funds raised going directly to support Hekab Be. Artists will be able to show and sell their work. We welcome everyone who creates hand-made, original works of art whether they are life-size portraits or artisanal bars of soap. Please contact us via the Facebook group to reserve your space.

We’re looking forward to a wonderful and productive February, so stop by and say hello and see what is happening.


Posada Navideña at Hekab Be

A big thank you goes out to everyone who made this day possible. Emilia for organising the day. All our employees for putting in the extra hours to make it such a special day. Betsy and Jennifer at Turtle Bay Cafe for doing all the shopping for gifts. All the parents and volunteers who helped wrap the presents and serve food. Lol-Ha, La Taverna, La Buena Vida, La cueva, Secrets Akumal and Turtle Bay for donating mountains of food, drink and cake. And last but most certainly not least Bart for braving the warm weather to come down as Santa Claus. It was an awesome afternoon and we can’t thank you all enough for your continued support. It means so much to us and the children of Akumal that we can all come together to make events like this happen.

Please be sure to subscribe to our new youtube channel and Like, Comment and Share.


Feliz Navidad! Christmas Party on the 15th December

You are invited to join us for our Christmas party on Friday 15th December from 3 – 6pm. The children have been practicing a dance and song to perform on the day and other traditional dances will be performed by local artists as well. Come and enjoy the show and eat the tasty food that will be donated by our lovely friends over at The Taverna restaurant, Lol- Ha and La Buena Vida. And also cake and cookies will be donated by the wonderful team over at Turtle Bay Cafe and Bakery. With refreshments being donated by our awesome supporters over at Secrets Akumal.

We are still collecting presents and we need a lot as we expect up to 100 kids to be here to receive a present from Santa. ( Yes that’s right Santa is braving the heat of the Caribbean to give out presents! ) You can see our Christmas wish list Here.

And for those that are too far away to give a gift, you can also donate money for us to go and buy gifts. Just follow our Paypal link Here and request you donation that your donation is to be spent on gifts in the notes box when you go to donate.

Feliz Navidad!



“Janal Pixan” Our Day of the Dead fiesta!

“Janal Pixan” is Mayan for “food of the Souls” otherwise known as Day of the Dead or Dia de Los Muertos in Spanish. Please join us for this great celebration of the dead here at Hekab Be on the 2nd November 2017 from 10am till 6pm we will be offering food aplenty to go on the altar as an offering to the dead. This is one of the most celebrated holidays in Mexico but is usually celebrated on a night so we thought it would be best to help the kids celebrate by throwing our celebration throughout the day.

The Christmas Wish List is Live!

Hola Todos! Hi Everyone!

Our Christmas wish has just been posted up on the website so if you are coming down to Akumal soon and wish to make a child very happy at Christmas then please take a look at the list of toys that the kids have asked for from good ol’ saint nick. You can find the list right here… wishlist!

Of course, we are still in need of our usual school supplies which are all listed on there also.

Many Thanks

Hekab Be Team x

Mexican Independence Day.

Viva México!

This Friday the 15th September we are to have a Independence Day fiesta.

From 3:30 – 5:30pm we will be celebrating with the kids with plenty Mexican delights. Music, food and soft drinks, with the whole place decorated with hand crafted decorations by the kids at Hekab Be and our wonderful Teaching Director Emila.

If you are in the area and would like to drop by for some delicious homemade tacos with cochinita pibil and a cup of Horchata, then please come and join us in our celebration!

Many thanks and Viva Mexico!

Hekab Be x

The Summer Program Was A Success!

So we have come to the end of the 2017 Summer Program, it was such a great few weeks! We would like to thank everyone involved from the teachers and volunteers to all the people who donated supplies and funds and all the people that like and share and spread the word of what we do here at Hekab Be! All the kids are now back at school after receiving their back to school goody bags collected together from all you wonderful supporters of Hekab Be. All of the school supplies you have donated over the last year have made sure that all the kids at the summer program didn’t go without the things they desperately needed for the start of the new school year. Now we start all over again collecting funds and donations for next year! So if you would like to donate anything to the library please pop by or alternatively you can donate via PayPal as we rely on cash donations to run our daily operations for the after school classes that run all year round!

Thank you to all you amazing supporters of Hekab Be! X

The Summer Program has begun!

Hi, all you wonderful supporters of Hekab Be! The summer program has begun and the kids are having lots of fun! Each day we have been focusing on different famous artists and creators. On day one we studied the famous Mexican poet Octavio Paz and the kids created their own books, poems, and pictures inspired by his work. On day 2 we worked on Hellen Keller, an American Author who was both deaf and blind. The kids painted portraits and we tried doing activities without the use of our eyes which, they learned, is very difficult! On to day 3 today and we are looking at Mother Teresa. We showed our love for her work by painting our faces with rainbows and choreographing a dance to a song about love and hope.

A Big Thank You!

We want to thank all the members of the DDT ” It’s a Love Thang” group for kindly donating a mountain of school supplies and raising the funds to pay for our desperately needed new doors and windows. Without people like this, we wouldn’t be able to keep doing what we do here at Hekab Be so for this we are eternally grateful. If you would like to know how you can help us then please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you!