Four Ways Trees Add Value to Your Property

BY THE DAVEY TREE COMPANY

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), in 2020, 52 percent of buyers 30 to 39 years and 88 percent of buyers 29 years and younger were first-time home buyers. Homeownership is a big investment; and when you decide to sell your property, making a profit is the number one priority.

For first-time and long-time homeowners alike, there is an easy way to add value to your home now. This Arbor Day, April 22, celebrate by adding trees to your landscape.

It’s no secret that landscaping increases property values, but according to The United States Forest Service, landscapes with mature trees may increase value by 20 percent.

“Simply add trees and take your landscape design to the next level,” says Joshua Fritz, a certified arborist and District Manager at Hartney Greymont, a Davey company. “Besides increasing property values and creating a more desirable street on which to live, the benefits of trees are endless.”

Studies show trees improve health, lower anxiety, produce more sociable neighborhoods and more.

A certified arborist can provide a free consultation to discuss how a well-maintained landscape will pay off for years to come.

4 Ways Trees Add Value to Your Property:

A lifetime of beauty. A mature tree can have an appraised value of between $1,000 and $10,000, according to the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers. It takes years for trees to reach mature size, so plant now and enjoy the trees’ benefits until it’s time to sell.

Seeing green. Money magazine estimated that while kitchen or bathroom remodeling can bring a recovery value up to 125 percent, landscaping can bring up to a 200 percent return at selling time. Keep your yard in tip-top shape with the help of an arborist who can tell you how to properly maintain your trees.

Add visual interest. Many trees are valued for their hardiness, durability, adaptability, and overall desirability for sturdiness, low maintenance, or attractiveness. According to Better Homes and Gardens, Japanese maples and dwarf conifers are among the most highly valued trees. Talk to an arborist who can identify the best and most valuable trees for your landscape.

Cool shade. To see a return on investment before you sell, plant trees to reduce heating and cooling costs. Trees are known for shade and reducing energy bills. The American Power Association estimates that effective landscaping can reduce a home cooling bill by as much as 50 percent a year. In fact, areas without cooling shade trees can become “heat islands” with temperatures reaching 12 degrees higher than surrounding areas. Trees planted on the north and northwest sides of your property create a wall against cold winter winds and cut heating costs by up to 30 percent a year.

Want to add value and natural beauty to your landscape? Contact an arborist in your region by visiting www.davey.com

This article was originally published on Associaonline.com and is republished with permission.

Pastor and Wife Propose Bill of Rights for Domestic Workers

BY RICK GORDON

Pastor Rick Gordon and his wife, Paloma Palacios, of Los Cabos, created this Bill of Rights pledge to protect Domestic Workers (cleaning ladies and nannies) throughout Mexico. They modeled the below Bill of Rights from the inerrant Word of God and the Declaration of Human rights created by the United Nations in 1948.

If you employ one or more domestic workers, we recommend following this Bill of Rights:

1. Pay your worker at least a minimum wage of $213 pesos (minimum wage in México) for an 8hr day. But we would like to pledge to pay at least $300 pesos for a day’s work.

2. Provide lunch for any employee working an 8hr day, including a 45 min break

3. Pay overtime at a minimum of $50 pesos per hour for any shift longer than 8hrs. Including live-in cleaning ladies and nannies. 

4. Provide a day and a half of rest per week (unless programed in a different way by the parts). If your employee agrees to work on that day, they shall be paid double the minimum wage.

5. Give at least 6 paid days off after one year of work if they are working a minimum of 40 hours per week. If the employee elects to not take time off a bonus of the equivalent of one week’s salary should be paid. This, according to article 76 of the Mexican Constitution where it says that all workers that have been serving more than a year, will enjoy a period of paid vacations, that should not be less than 6 working days, and every year will increase two working days all the way to 12 days for every year of services provided. 

6. If your Family is traveling and you have a full-time domestic worker that has been employed for more than 1 year; that time can be used as their paid vacation time. Yet, if you are traveling for more than 1-week, your domestic employee needs to be compensated at their daily minimum wage. 

7. Provide transportation from the bus stop and back if the employee must walk more than 10 minutes to your residence.

8. We also suggest you consider paying social security for any full-time domestic worker who you’ve employed for more than 2 years. This will enable your employee’s health benefits for them and their family. You can facilitate this by contacting: http://www.imss.gob.mx/personas-trabajadoras-hogar 

9. Offer a written notice to the employee about your policies on sick leave, vacation, personal leave, holidays and hours of work. As well as provide your employee with a written notice that lists the regular and overtime rates of pay and the regular payday.

10. Always treat each other with respect and kindness.

We hope that you make the pledge to uphold these rights and help us spread this message. Please visit our Facebook page at “The Surfing Pastor” and gives us a thumbs up and please repost this pledge on your social media. Together we can make a difference and protect the human rights of all domestic workers in México. ,

Visiting Guanajuato

BY RICARDO GARCIA CHAVEZ

First point, closest to the Airport.

In planning holidays, we chose a point where we could take a domestic flight from Cabo and enjoy cultural diversity, gastronomy, architecture and fun. We chose Silao Guanajuato airport and started by visiting the cubilete hill just 27 kilometers away from the airport, whose attraction is the church that has a Christ right on the top of the mountain.

Typical dish in Guanajuato

The next point is Guanajuato city where we find its colonial architectural beauty as a symbol of the Bajío area. There, it is a must to eat some delicious “Guacamayas,” which are hard pork chicharrón inside a bolillo bread (similar to a baguette but smaller), accompanied by pickle bowls, avocado, tree sauce and pico de gallo which is green, white and red salad made with serrano chili, onion and tomato.

View from the top to the city

We took pictures of the monument to the “Pípila” Juan José de los Reyes Martínez who, in the taking of the gran alhondiga, played an important part in the struggle for the independence of Mexico. He carried a stone on his back to be able to cross without being shot by bullets.

Guanajuato City downtown

Then go down to the famous underground tunnels that cross the city. Also visit the market with its extensive assortment of jackets, footwear, bags and leather goods, and then the obligatory visit to the famous mummies of Guanajuato, perform collejoneadas with the students, visit the University of Guanajuato, the Juárez theater and finish in the alley of the kiss, a famously romantic place. 

To enjoy each place, it is recommended to stay all day long in each one. The best hotel offer is in Guanajuato, so you can stay there, rent a car and drive around the nearby cities recommended here.

The historical Dolores Hidalgo

The next obligatory stop is Dolores Hidalgo, the birthplace of Mexico’s independence and where the priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla carried the banner of the Virgin of Guadalupe and gave the call of freedom and independence in 1810. It is also the place where the famous Mexican composer, José Alfredo Jiménez, was born. There is a museum very close to the church of Dolores and in the municipal pantheon is his iconic tomb.

Celaya and his Painter

One of the reasons we wanted to go to Guanajuato is for one of my favorite painters, Octavio Ocampo, whose birthplace is Celaya. The municipal palace welcomes us with these magnificent works painted by him. It is a beautiful town with restaurants, art galleries and museums within walking distance in downtown.

To finish with honors, we visited San Miguel de Allende. San Miguel de Allende is historically and culturally famous and a safe place to travel. It’s a favorite destination for tourists, with regional and international gastronomy, boutique hotels, art galleries and art stores, the iconic church with gothic design, arts and crafts stores, and traditional food restaurants. It’s a calm place with the perfect climate to walk around.

Enjoy Mexico!

Destination La Misión

BY MARTINA DOBESH

10,000 years ago, the first people walked along this coastal area, now known as Baja California. Before it was named La Misión, the Kumiai Indians lived here. Today it is known as part of the old mission trail and the old road runs between two mountains with a lush estuary at its center. This area remains delightfully underdeveloped, allowing the historic essence to be felt. With the increased popularity of Baja California cities, often La Misión is passed by as a weekend retreat. However, it is because of its very nature that La Misión makes for a quiet and relaxing weekend retreat with many more points of interest than one might have as a first impression.

There were no boundaries or borders, only vast untouched land. Here the Kumeyaay (Kumiai) lived for thousands of years. Nature provided everything they needed and the people honored all that was given. They were hunter gatherers and learned fishing later. They sang their stories which were passed down for thousands of years. These first people left a very small footprint upon the land, a few arrow heads and pottery shards, but one recent find near Playa La Misión unearth a wealth of information about a people who lived 800 years ago at the edge of the sparkling sea. The archeological dig in 2010 unearthed a young woman. They said that she was a holy woman and carried a sacred pipe. Those who unearthed her called her Mujer de Humo or the Woman of Smoke. Still today, there are annual ceremonies where the Kumiai sing their sacred songs and all people are welcomed to visit.

Then came the Dominican missionaries and they began to name things. Misión San Miguel was established in March of 1787 in the valley near the San Juan Bautista stream, also known as the Guadalupe River. Their reports told of the lush grazing land, fresh water, an abundance of wild life and migrating birds. Nature provided abundantly for the first settlers to this valley. Today, there are only 3 adobe sections remaining of the old mission and they are protected with coats of adobe wash. While there is little to see, one can imagine how beautiful it must have been when the stream ran filled with fresh water and food was plentiful. Today, there is an agribusiness with fields of organic vegetables grow seasoning. The fortunate community is furnished with fresh produce right from the farm.

Development has been limited by nature herself. What was once a flowing river has become an estuary which feeds into the Pacific and can be seen from the toll road and is visited by migrating birds. In fact, it is a very important migratory channel along the coast and “250 species of birds utilize the estuary and adjacent uplands,” reports Richard Erickson, biologist and ornithology specialist. The best months to visit for optimum photo opportunities are September and November, but birds are always a special attraction year-round. La Misión residents are bird enthusiasts have their camera’s ready. Some very important photos have come out of this love for the flying ones: Great Blue Heron, Osprey fishing hawk, white egrets, Red Tail hawks, white pelicans and all manner of ducks and shore birds, and on occasion a very rare sighting has occurred. The local community has a watchful eye and is asking the Mexican government to consider it as a protected area. Near the edge of the estuary is Las Palmas campground with dense palm trees and a swimming pool. It is quiet off season; however, it is impossible to get a site during the summer months.

OK, pull on your boots, put on your Stetson and get ready for a unique horse lover experience. For those travelers that really want to have an experience of early Baja, the best way is by horseback and there are several wonderful opportunities. Visitors have a choice of riding on the beach or across the valley and into the hills. Marty Harriman has developed a very special ride into the back country where people can spend the night off the grid in comfy tents and enjoy a night fire, looking up into a night sky, seldom seen in the cities.

La Misión had a scare when the Walking Dead took over the town. Fear the Walking Dead, a popular TV series was filmed here, utilizing the small pueblo of Alisitos and the restaurant, Magañas. The dusty pueblo made for perfect settings of a post-apocalypse town ravaged by ghouls. Magañas is a local hang out with lively bar, good drinks and the biggest burritos stuffed full to overflowing. It is the real deal and still welcomes horseback riders to stop by and tie up at the old hitching post. It was unnerving for some local residents to see the decaying dead dragging one foot behind them, heading in for a beer. Puerta del Valle is a small complex with a delightful coffee shop for your favorite espresso. Acher’s Pizza features authentic thin crust pizza and Chef Uriel studied in Italy to perfect his craft. Dmytri’s Original La Fonda is over 80 years old now and is just down the road for its famous patio dining. Only a short drive north, there is the iconic Splash for delicious Mexican seafood with an astounding array of seating choices.

The ever-popular Airbnb is well represented in La Misión. Many of the places are nested on the bluff overlooking the estuary. With a cup of steaming coffee, the quiet morning greets you. The sparkling Pacific meets the estuary and lazy vultures catch a morning thermal, while long-legged white egrets stealthily sneaks up on a fish. Other options for lodging line the beach at Playa La Misión and a step out the door starts you on a morning walk on the beach. A few of these locations offer morning yoga on the patio and tours into the wine country which is only 20 minutes away. In fact, La Misión is the gateway to the Guadalupe Valley by way of the old highway 1, which is a lovely scenic drive. You can plan a day trip for wine tasting and return for a quiet evening on the coast in a snug Airbnb.

After an invigorating day of adventurous horseback riding or touring, you can indulge in a massage or pedicure at Spacifico Spa, where master esthetician massage therapist, Antonio Salceda knows how to put you right again.

I’ll bet that the quiet wonder of nature will have you on the patio watching a flaming sunset that happens during the fall and winter months. La Misión is a destination for all seasons, but the best months are off season, September through April, for the skies are clear of coastal fog, inland temperatures are cooler and the beaches belong to you.

Compañeros, Rising!

Back in the 1980s, a group in Ensenada came together to try and form something few had seen at the time—a Mexican charitable organization (Asociacion Civil) with both Mexicans and Gringos participating that could really make a significant difference in people’s lives. What is now known as the Compañeros de Baja Norte, A.C. was formally organized 28 years ago on October 7th, 1992, and they have helped scores of local charities and hundreds of students for almost 30 years. But today, faced with the deadly twin headwinds of the worst Mexican recession since the great depression and the impacts of lockdowns from COVID-19, the organization is struggling to survive, and indeed was inactive for most of 2020. 

 

“I told the membership last summer that the Club itself was at risk,” said Compañeros VP Katrina Tinnaco . “It was vital that we start talking about the future and how we could get there. Our membership was fearful. We were at real risk of shutting down the Club.”

 

But to get to that future, the organization needed to consider it’s past—a long and proud tradition that started in the 1980’s, when members of the Dixon & Salisbury families, among others, formed this Club—a place where expats and locals could get together, socialize, and use the proceeds from these events to support local orphanages and old folks homes, many other charities, and give scholarships to 30 students twice a year. They began to construct a clubhouse building (complete with a hall seating 100+, and full kitchen/bar), and after a legal dispute was settled, the group formerly known as the Amigos de Ensenada became the Compañeros. Soon after that, they bought the empty lot next door to use for parking. By the early 1990s, the Club was in full swing, with monthly events, rummage sales, raffles, music, dances, a bridge club, and more, and an expanding list of grateful recipients.

Companeros Clubhouse distanced setup

 

“The Compañeros has always been a welcoming place for new Ensenada residents and longtime locals,” noted Jim O’Brien, a Club member every step of the way, since settling in Ensenada 34 years ago in 1986. “We have a great mix of members, have always been open to the LGBTQ community, and especially welcoming new area residents. We’ve had presidents that have been both Mexican and Gringos, women and men. But over the years, it’s been harder to get younger people involved.” With multiple employees, and their clubhouse building lying empty while still incurring all of the fixed costs associated with them, the Compañeros cash began to dwindle to record lows.

 

Fortunately, some younger members stepped up to help. Treasurer Meghan Magrann in 2019 had gone through the involved process of converting the group’s books to Quickbooks, allowing for better accounting, analysis, and support. “Addressing the basics of internal controls helped us get a better idea of where the club was at and revealed other opportunities as well,” noted Magrann. “But that analysis only took us so far—we needed a clear vision for the future and the will to pursue it.”

 

Enter new leadership. Members of the existing leadership council approached Mark Tuniewicz, a member who had led the turnaround of the Ensenada Expats facebook group and doubled its size, created the popular Ensenada Karaoke Club, volunteered for the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana, is an active member of Ensenada’s Spanish language Calafia Gardening Club, and was a former Lion’s Club member, among other charitable endeavors. Tuniewicz got right to work last fall organizing and was named president in 2021.

Mark Tuniewicz and wife Kate Mensch at a Companeros event in 2019


This year, the Club began to create and publicize new events, including a rebranded series of monthly “First Friday” happy hours, which have taken place both in-person and virtually, depending on the COVID traffic light. They have also created the new Ensenada Succulent Society, a “club within the Club,” which meets the first Saturday of each month in Ensenada. Other “sub-clubs” are expected.

 

The organization began working last fall to do a deep clean/sanitization of its facility, followed by a change in layout from banquet-style tables to smaller, distanced tables for 2-4 people each and implemented a mask mandate to enter the building. In October, they performed a “soft opening” of a happy hour event with just 15 people and changed the way people pay for food and drink to eliminate the long entrance lines sometimes found at their events. The combination of cleaning and process changes was intended to reassure the membership that the Club was taking action to protect their health. 

 

While other, similar groups have either suspended all activities due to the pandemic (including large social groups like the Punta Banda Yacht Club, with 200 members, or the Sociedad de Amigos, with 100+), or significantly scaled back their activities (like Rosarito’s United Society of Baja California, with 156 members), the Compañeros have innovated by moving to a program of “To-Go” meals for special occasions, selling out 50 dinners for Thanksgiving 2020, and anticipate a similar reaction for their 2021 Valentine’s Day dinner to-go as well. “Our events have always been known for great food, and these To-Go” events present a real value, people really love them, and you get high-quality food, professionally prepared,” said Club Secretary Mary Jane Boone, who has often led efforts in the kitchen.

Meghan Magrann fills in as bartender at Companeros

The Compañeros is preparing to develop additional new activities driven by investments in outdoor seating (there’s none today), indoor televisions (also none today), and other needed capital improvements. To support this vision, club leadership recently approved the “Compañeros 2021 Capital Campaign,” seeking to raise a modest USD 5,000 to cover these needs. 

 

Tuniewicz noted: “We’ve got seating plans used by the U.S. Parks Service—they build their rustic wood seating to last decades, and so will we. T.V.’s and a sound system will give us a lot more flexibility in terms of the types of events we can hold post-pandemic, be it a sports event, happy hour, or Karaoke. We’ll make these forward-looking investments this year and be ready to go when it’s time again for in-person events.”   

 

“For us to continue our work for the next three decades, we need your help now!” noted 89-year old member Tillie Foster. And if you’ve met Tillie, previously profiled on these pages as the “Baja Queen”, you know she can be very persuasive. 

 

While there’s lots of optimism, the reality is your donations are needed *now* to help the Club survive and thrive. You can contribute to the 2021 Compañeros Capital Campaign via Paypal, using the email address [email protected]. And thanks for helping us start the next 30 years of the Compañeros Rising!

Beyond Humanity

Some people believe that God created the world in 6 days, and on the 7th day He rested.  Resolving their beliefs (that the world is only 5,000 years old) with the reality that skeletal remains of creatures from millions of years ago continue to be excavated by geologists and other scientists is an ongoing struggle: Science vs. Faith.

Others believe that humanity has evolved slowly over centuries, hence, “evolutionists.”

People’s beliefs give them the strength to continue in their struggle to survive, to improve, to make the world a better place for all. Faith, after all, is an important factor of daily life for billions of people in every country on the planet. It provides hope where there may otherwise be despair.

There has always been the notion that human beings could live in a utopian society, where everyone is highly developed intellectually, physically strong and healthy, and spiritually centered.

The Greek philosopher Plato, 2,400 years ago, envisioned a government of philosophical wise men; unfortunately, his vision would only work if the population ruled by his “wise” men were transformed into equally intellectually superior beings.

Since then, numerous attempts to establish a “New World Order” have been made by individuals as well as coalitions of national governments.

One of the most recent and blatantly sinister attempts at making the world perfect for the “beautiful people” (i.e., privileged billionaires and their families) was an act by Betsy DeVos, appointed by Donald Trump to be his education secretary.

On her first day in office, she shut down the White House website for handicapped children. She later attempted to defund the Special Olympics, but Trump’s advisors nixed that idea as too controversial.

Former President Barack Obama, following the completion of his two terms in office, gave a speech in Berlin in which he reminded everyone that globalization is a fact of life in this century. The city of Berlin was a perfect backdrop to his message, because it was a city once divided by a wall separating blood relatives from each other because of two opposing ideologies.

He said that nuclear proliferation must cease, and in fact that nuclear weapons worldwide be abolished; that development of environmentally renewable and sustainable technologies must be encouraged; that all humanity is one family sharing a common home, regardless of race, color or creed. His message resonated with the hope that citizens of all nations work together as a family, and that only by doing so can the human race survive; the challenges facing humanity at this point in its evolution are too great for one nation, or even one coalition of nations, to resolve.

Tragically, Obama’s successor, one Donald J Trump, entered the White House following Obama’s two terms. “America first” was one of his many chants. He was racist, xenophobic, and cruel; everything he did encouraged racism and violence. Rather than uniting the USA, he caused division among the people to such a degree that friendships and marriages were adversely affected. He insulted the intelligence network of the US on the world stage. He fell in lockstep with Vladimir Putin of Russia, former KGB agent, whose predecessor had claimed, “We cannot defeat you militarily, so we will destroy you from within.”

He alienated every free country with whom the US had previously enjoyed close alliances.

Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, members of all religious faiths must recognize that with the exception of extremists and radical fundamentalists, all religions basically teach compassion, generosity, forgiveness, universal love, and respect for others.

How many times before Trump and his white supremacists had others attempted to establish a “New World Order”?

Adolph Hitler wanted to rule the world, and no one but blond-haired, blue-eyed Arayans would be allowed to survive.

Under the leadership of Josef Stalin, Winston Churchill, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, twenty-six nations agreed in January 1942 to the initiative of establishing a United Nations Organization, which came into existence on October 24, 1945. Since its inception, the United Nations and its branches, such as the World Bank Group and the World Health Organization, have prepared the countries of the world to comply with the goals that were announced at its foundation.

Claiming that its purposes were to establish international peace and security, to develop friendly relations among nations, and to work for social progress, better living standards, and human rights for all conceals its agenda of establishing a world government with executive powers having the authority to control human development through population control.

The establishment of UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1942 made that clear.

This branch of the UN has encouraged the use of eugenics to rid the population of the world of mentally weak, physically unfit, and morally deficient people.

Since its inception, such people as the writers H.G. Wells and G.B. Shaw, US president Theodore Roosevelt, and British prime minister Winston Churchill as well as the economist Irving Fisher and the family-planning pioneers Margaret Sanger and Bill Gates Sr., the father of Bill Gates, Microsoft cofounder and head of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, have supported the need to vastly reduce the quantity of human beings, and improve the quality of the race through scientific methods managed by benevolent governmental dictatorships.

In 1968, pollution, global warming, water shortages, and famines were listed as the most opportune items to be blamed on humanity with the implication that human population must be reduced in order for the human race to survive.

An initiative called the 2030 Agenda was adopted by all United Nations member states (including Mexico, which was one of the 51 founding members in 1945) in 2015. It launched its blueprint for global change, the key concept of which is “sustainable development” that includes population control as a crucial instrument.

With a worldwide pandemic raging, the stage is set for advancement of the concept popularly known as “The New World Order.” A universal vaccine, manufactured by Big Pharma and distributed by the WHO (World Health Organization), may not be as successful as vaccines usually are.

Why? Because by definition, vaccines introduce into one’s body the actual virus or disease that is being treated. The viral germs introduced are greatly weakened, and the body’s immune system immediately begins to develop antibodies to kill the virus. Then, if the individual is exposed to the virus at a later date, the immune system will already have a defense mechanism by which to kill the virus.

But Covid-19 is a rapidly mutating virus.

And much like the common flu virus, which famously mutates many times over a season, it may react to a vaccine by making the patient sick (although doctors are quick to point out that without the virus, the sickness would probably have been much worse).

Too many people are becoming lax in their observance of the most effective, safest and surest means of preventing infection by the disease in the first place: Avoiding crowds, practicing social distancing, wearing a mask, wearing gloves in public places, and washing hands frequently.

It’s getting scary out there. Please be kind and respectful of each other.

Women Campaign to Improve the Community

Fundacion de Amazonas was founded about 6 years ago, and its original goal was to provide shelter and employment opportunities for battered women.

The project was established by Nataly Valdos, who named the organization “Amazonas” as recognition for the fact that historically, women have shown strength, resolve, and capability in situations where such characteristics were beneficial.

Working with women in the community to acquire the resources necessary to initiate and expand the program from a concept to a reality, Nataly found several people eager to assist her in achieving her goal.

What better time than October to recognize the altruistic efforts of Nataly and women like her, because this month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. BCAM is an annual global campaign by major breast cancer charities, all of which seek to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure.

It also stresses the importance of annual screening to detect the presence of the disease early, thus allowing treatment to occur before the situation becomes a major crisis.

Nataly is a cancer survivor herself; she’s 58 years old, and has been undergoing cancer treatment for the last 4 years.

In keeping with the moniker “Amazonas,” Nataly has shown her strength and resolve in maintaining the program to provide opportunities for women to find work that gives them a sense of accomplishment and simultaneously satisfies a need in the community of which they are a part. She refuses to let her own difficulties deter her from providing the essential service that is so meaningful to her, and so helpful to others.

Nataly met a friend through the Ensenada chapter of Companeros Asociacion Civil, a local partnership of people who meet to focus on, and attempt to resolve, issues within the community.

Together, they envisioned an opportunity for women to work by learning to use sewing machines to manufacture clothing and accessories which they could then sell as a means of supporting themselves.

Nataly and her friend, along with other women who joined their cause, solicited funds from the community to purchase the machines, along with the materials and accessories necessary to begin their projects and to embark upon a newly found sense of worthiness and independence.

These women, who had suffered physical and sexual abuse, neglect, domestic violence, and financial insecurity were now able to support themselves in a manner which gave them a sense of pride and accomplishment, while at the same time teaching them a new skill and fulfilling a need within their community.

Initially, the idea was to simply make clothes and sell them.

Eventually, the ladies realized that besides engaging in a sort of “retail” activity, they could assist other members of the community by providing clothing to children in orphanages and schools.

In that way, they themselves became benefactors, graduating from people in need to people now in a position to help others in need.

Their work has been gratefully received by the children, who look sharp and feel proud in wearing garments that are clean, new and stylish, clothing which was made specifically for them.

As with any charity during the Covid-19 crisis, Nataly and her organization needs donations and volunteers to continue the community service which she and her friends so unselfishly provide.

Please search for her timeline on Facebook under “Fundacion Amazonas de Ensenada” and offer whatever help you can to make life a little better for these women, who in turn make life better for struggling children and others in need.

Thank you for your support!

Bomberos Need Your Help

Baja is deep into its annual fire season, and as in every year in recent history, brave firefighters are in need of help from the public. The first major fundraising event of the year, Valle en la Playa, was held in the gardens of Castillos del Mar Hotel and Resort in September, with all funds going to help Rosarito’s firefighters through the Pro Firefighters Board. This was a “must-attend” meeting, even with respect to Covid-19 social distancing. Thanks to event organizer Martha Dominguez for granting me last-minute press coverage as a representative of this periodical.

Valle en la Playa 2020 was held with COVID safety elements firmly in place: tables, widely spaced, had seating reduced from 10 or 12 guests per table in past events to six; servers and guests were temperature-tested and hand-sanitized prior to entry, and masks were worn by all when not seated at tables.

Valle de Guadalupe wineries in attendance were La Cetto, Al Ximia, Corona del Valle, Santo Tomas, and Vinos de Casa Emiliana, aka “VE.” The Rosarito Tourism Board was also set up to announce that Rosarito is still open for visitors from the North as well as other Mexican cities. “We want to create a different impression of Rosarito,” declared Paul Corona, Emcee of the event. “We are more than Papas and Beer.”

Small monthly events, to be held at different venues, are planned to continue to raise money for the Rosarito Fire Department. Three-course meals, following pandemic safety protocols, will be held at various Rosarito establishments, with proceeds going to local firefighters.

Proceeds from the evening’s tickets were donated to the Pro Fire Fighters Board towards the purchase of a special drone with a thermal camera to allow firefighters to view and better plan their firefighting efforts before entering dangerous areas.

Rosarito proper is not the only area needing to help their Bomberos. La Mision firefighters, who serve areas such as Santa Anita and Alisito, are community volunteers that spend much of their own money on uniforms, firefighting equipment and gasoline. Fire boots have been set up as collection jars at Del Valle Café, Shorty’s vet shop (across from Magana’s), Splash, and Kraken, to gather funds to go toward gasoline and other necessities. Please throw a handful of pesos in them when you visit. The firefighters will be there for you when the need arises.

Currently the firefighters of La Mision are renting space in a nearby building, but a new fire station is being designed by students at the University of Ensenada as a permanent installation. Future plans include training by certified trainers in Baja. These newly trained firefighters will return and train others.

The La Mision Rotary is very active in helping out the firefighters in the extreme southern area of Rosarito, and the “doorway” to the Valle de Guadalupe. Of number one importance is money for gasoline for the fire engines, trucks and support vehicles. Also needed are four Scott air tanks with straps, Indian (or like-brand) collapsible backpack sprayers, as much of the firefighting is “gorilla” style. Also needed are firefighter gloves, suspenders, and boots of varying sizes.

Several Rotarians have contacts that can help with the purchases, so cash donations are of utmost importance. If you have contacts that could help firefighters, please contact Sunny Crowley at [email protected] The official Bomberos Facebook page is www.facebook.com/groups/507783403257151.

We can all help our local firefighters when called upon through social media to purchase cases of water, or help make sandwiches to be delivered to firefighters on the line.

Jorge Salgado Ponce, "Gratitud" short film director.

Mexican Short Film Nominated for Iranian Film Festival’s Prize

Every year the organization committee of the Resistance International Film Festival (RIFF) questions and explores different aspects of social responsibility and adds new categories to the competition program. This year its definition is expanded to include dealing with the invisible threats such as viruses. A new section called  “Health Defenders” is added to the festival’s program to document and show health workers fighting the COVID-19 and thus sacrificing their lives on the path of protecting society’s health.

This festival for now is the only cinema event dedicating the biggest part of its program to this pandemic, and the organizers hope that it would help to gather different experiences in one place, and also to promote a further documentation of the recent events as it would become crucial evidence for the future generations.

Jorge Salgado Ponce, "Gratitud" short film director.
Jorge Salgado Ponce, “Gratitud” short film director.

Organizers of the festival announced that filmmakers from the United States, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Britain, France, India, Turkey, Iraq, Germany, Pakistan, Portugal, Russia, Malaysia, Mexico have already submitted more than 300 films to compete in this section of the festival and thus to express their gratitude to the health defenders from all around the world.

Mexican short film “Gratitude” directed by Jorge Salgado Ponce submitted for this section has been nominated for the festival’s prize and received favorable reviews from the festival’s jury.

The 3 minute film, that is based on real events, movingly portrays the dedication and passion that health workers in Mexico put into their work, but also the ignorance that they sometimes have to fight against in the streets.

You can view the movie online, right here:

RIFF’s carefully curated program as well has earned this festival recognition from viewers and industry professionals alike. American filmmakers such as Michael Moore, Oliver Stone as well as many other artists from more than 100 different countries have participated with their documentaries and films in this festival. Also, many renowned international guests and exceptional filmmakers have come directly to present their films and interact with viewers, including, David Barsamian, Scott Frank, Rafael Lara, Darnell Stephen Summers, Yvonne Anne Ridley, Jasmin Durakovic, Robert Hofferer, Diana Kamal-al Din, Rashed Radwan, Yousef Wehbi, Ahmed Boulane, Basil al-Khatib, Saddam Wahidi Melika, Zairi Alper Akdeniz, Thomas Hayes, Daz Chandler and many others.

Resistance International Film Festival is divided in two parts that will be held on separate dates. The first part that includes “Health Defenders” section and is currently underway in Tehran has started on September 21st and the second part dedicated for the “Main Competition” is scheduled for November 21st-27th.

This year the event will go online due to a spike in the coronavirus cases in the country.

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