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.

Baja on The List Of The First States To Have COVID-19 Vaccine

Baja California already has the blessing of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to be one of the nine States obtaining the first doses of the covid-19 vaccine (part of the phase 3 clinic trials).

This was stated recently by Governor Bonilla, who said, “I have been in contact with Chancellor Marcelo Ebrard, I mentioned my interest in making Baja one of the benefited States, because of the high mobility that we have, and he said, I’ll talk to the President…, and today I talked to him. He told me: I have authorization from the President to send the vaccine.”

Governor Bonilla also stated that he had talked to Alonso Perez Rico, head of the health department for Baja, in order to follow protocol and define the order of priority for applying the vaccine, giving priority to healthcare workers who are in the first line of defense against COVID-19.

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