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Hello to our Friends in the US,
I hope you and your families are well. Greetings from Mexico.
I am writing to update you on the activities of YPM Mexico during this pandemic and to encourage and inform our sister churches that support us and want to hear from us and know how we are doing.
I want to remind you that our mission is directed to people, sectors and regions with limited resources, indigenous communities and vulnerable groups by age, sex or disability. This is in reference to health, education and spiritual aspects.
1. CEN FAMILY We are very well in health so far and we are all at home working — everyone at his or her responsibilities. Willy started his classes online and the school confirmed that his return to his school facility will be in January. This is a relief for us because we were initially told that Willy would start school this August, but now he won’t have to go to Merida until after the first of the year. Andre will start classes on August 24th and they will be virtual as well. Erly and I are very busy with the workers, the University, food programs for people in need, and meetings with pastors and community leaders. But at the end of the day we are satisfied to have done a little or much for our Mayan people. My family, Erly Willy and Andre are immensely grateful for your prayers, concern for us and financial support.
2. FOOD PROGRAM AND PANTRYWe didn’t expect the extension of this pandemic. I remember that we started with a simple 40-day lockdown and then we thought we would be back to normal. Hotel, restaurant and bar businesses closed but kept their workers at 50% of their wages during this time. But now we’ve already reached 150 days and businesses have laid off their workers; others have already filed for bankruptcy because there is no hope that they will able to reopen their business because the pandemic has been extended until December and may last into part of 2021. There doesn’t seem to be any set day when we will be back to normal. The food and pantry program has minimized this situation of need in the homes of the families of the 25 villages where we have shared at least three weeks of help. And the week that begins on August 17th we will begin the third round of help with a different strategy: we have called upon two leaders from each church of every denomination in Leona Vicario to take food to the homes of families in need. By doing this we will prevent having so many people going to the YPM Base and being exposed to contagion because of the lines they form to receive their food and provisions. I ask you to consider the possibility that we can offer two more rounds of food and provisions in the months of October and November so that in December it will not be so difficult for families get through Christmas.
3. IYPM UNIVERSITY Our educational project is one of the greatest achievements, the crown of our ministry that fulfills in a unique way the objectives for which the YPM association exists. Its importance lies in the ability to transform the whole environment of people who have access to education: person, family and community. And this project is so special that all programs that have been created, or will be created, are designed to contribute to the strengthening of the educational project that is the University and High School. We have an administrative staff and professional teachers of a very high academic level who are working to give the school a high level of education. Classes are being given virtually and so far all students are continuing their studies. Obviously 60% of the student population has trouble covering their monthly payments but we are nevertheless motivating them not to stop studying and try to pay as much as they possible can.
For the beginning of the school year in September, we have approximately 40 new students and we have implemented a new modality of study, DISTANCE LEARNING, that consists of having textbooks available in printable versions that can be delivered to those who do not have technological equipment or internet in their homes, or who cannot come to the campus of the university. These books are prepared by the academic staff and copyrights are being processed to be the exclusive use and property of the university. Another change that is being made in the administration for January 2021 is to hire full-time teachers who will advise students in the four categories, which will reduce the total costs by 30%. Currently we have teachers in each category, so if there are four categories there would be four teachers, and the proposal is that we have one teacher for the four modalities.
I also share with you that we have applied for licensing for Baccalaureate or High School, Bachelor’s Degrees, and Postgraduate Degrees to the SEQ (Secretary of Education of Quintana Roo) The applications have already been received with all the documentation and we are only waiting for the licenses to be issued to us. The degree programs are as follows: High School, with its mixed categories; Bachelor of Theology; Bachelor of Marketing and Commerce; Bachelor in Social Work and Bachelor in Accounting and Finance. Post-graduate degrees are Masters in Educational Technology and Masters in School Management. Currently the Rector of the university is Mr. Ricardo Tun and the Director is Lic. Hermilo Noh.
I propose that a fixed monthly or bi-monthly economic amount be allocated to continue the construction of the university and thus gradually move forward and not neglect the buildings already built.
4. WATER PURIFICATION PLANTWe are still working on the construction of the building that will house the water purification plant, and have already completed 80% of the total construction. We have contracted with the electrical company but they haven’t yet come to drop the line. The land already has a fence and in two weeks the gates will installed so that the property is secured. The building is secure and already has windows and doors. What’s missing? We still have to build the bases for the water tanks; build the tables/countertops; complete the floor of the building; complete the electrical installation, lighting, and electrical outlets; and paint the building. Everyday we are moving forward and if we need to be finished on any certain date we can do it without problem. I thank Rich Delano who is looking into the possibility of installing the system with the team of in-country staff of Living Waters for the World (LWW Yucatan Network) that supervises and serves the existing water plants in Mexico. This possibility seems to be closer and we will be very happy when it is installed, because we could help provide purified water to people who, in this pandemic, cannot buy clean water. We pray that this plan is possible.
5. PROPOSAL Due to the prolongation of the situation (Covid) and the massive layoffs of workers, our mission as an association finds opportunity for service by creating a program that would be called “LEARN A TRADE”.
This program would consist of offering workshops to train people in the trades of Electrician, Plumbing, Carpentry, Tailoring, Making and Weaving hammocks. Each workshop would have an instructor and ten students. We’d start with the workshops when we have the staff, tools and materials. The plan is that after they have taken the “Learn a Trade” training, we will continue to keep the team together to produce saleable materials that would allow them to make money to pay for their work. For example, if we train ten people for weaving hammocks, in a week we would have ten hammocks ready to sell and in a month we would have forty hammocks with a cost of 500 pesos per hammock, in total we would have an income of 20,000 pesos in a month. Each person would have a gain of about 1500 pesos and 500 to re-invest in material. The five workshops would have fifty people who would be benefiting from the project “Learn a Trade.” The idea of talking to you about this program is to see if there is a possibility that we might find financial support for it. The investment will consist of the instructor’s payment for the training time and materials that would be used in the workshop start-up, and subsequently with the finished work and the sale of products people will be able to obtain their own financial aid, a personal source of work and income with us through the follow-up plan that was created to keep them within the association. Would you think about and pray for this? in the meantime I will work on the whole project. Well, so far God has helped us and our hearts rest in Him who is our strength. If you ask us how we feel to be serving in this pandemic, the answer is with fear that we are exposed to being infected, that is the truth. But we take strength from God and take extreme care so that we do not get infected, yet God has the last Word.
Thank you for unconditionally loving my family, me and my Mayan people. You are the most special people God has given us for this special time, never doubt it.
God be with you.
Cancun Q. Roo Leona VicarioAugust 3, 2020