Dear Friends of YPM,
Covid-19 continues to have a devastating impact around the world, including the region where the YPM base is located in Leona Vicario. As we all know, accurate counts of Covid-19 cases and deaths are elusive. But best estimates are that Mexico trails only Brazil and the United States in cases and deaths. And Covid-19 appears to be much more deadly in Mexico. As of mid-August, Mexico’s case count was 500,000 with over 50,000 reported fatalities. Sadly, the virus has hit our school community hard and two of our YPM Institute students have died.
The impacts of Covid-19 go beyond just the medical implications. Leona Vicario is located 25 miles from Cancun and many, if not most of the people from the area work in the tourist industry there. With the nearly complete shutdown of the tourist industry, the economic impact has been devastating as well.
As you know from our last newsletter, Wilian Cen, executive director of YPM proposed a project to address food insecurity issues in Leona Vicario due to job losses and minimal government aid. In response, many of you have stepped up and answered the call with generous donations and we are so grateful.
The program is ongoing and continues to evolve. One element has been the monthly distribution of essential provision bags, containing: 5 lbs Beans, 5 lbs Rice, 2 Bags of Pasta, 5 lbs of Maseca (corn flour), 2 liters of Bleach, Bar Soap and Detergent at a cost of about $15. The distributions have occurred at the YPM base camp and at least 12 other villages near Leona Vicario. Included in the distributions have been 60 Pastors from area churches as well as 30 workers associated with YPM and the school. Cooked meals were also distributed at the YPM Base every day for two weeks beginning on June 29, to people from the villages.
Wilian has brought in artisans and tradesmen to teach our local pastor friends new vocations and trades in order for them to live and support their families while their churches are shut down. The resilience of the Maya community is strong, even in the midst of hardship and we are grateful and hopeful for these faithful servants who have been working side by side with YPM in these communities.
Water Purification Plant
Through a generous partnership with First Presbyterian Church - San Antonio (FPC-SA) and Living Waters for the World, YPM will soon have a fully-functioning water purification system and business across the street from the base and the school. A team from FPC-SA was in Leona Vicario in February and worked on the construction of a building that will house the system. The original plan was to install the system in May but was postponed due to the impacts of the virus. FPC-SA is working with the in-country Living Waters Yucatan Network to have the system installed using local resources rather than the team from FPC-SA. While not the standard model for system installations, the important thing is to provide clean water, so our hope is to have the system operational by the end of the year.
Great News about the High School
A dream for over 10 years, YPM is now offering a high school education for area youth. We currently have 22 students enrolled in online high school classes, and plan for them to be on the physical campus in January. The education will be on the level of a US high school education - with English, arts, sports, and computer classes in addition to regular academic subjects. The students will attend classes year round for two years, and will be fully prepared for university when they graduate. Keep these young people in your prayers. It’s a difficult time to be a student, and many families are making great sacrifices for their kids’ futures. Here are a few of the new students:
Prayers and Support Still Needed
Please pray for safety, stamina, and encouragement for Wilian and his wife Erly as they continue to work on the frontlines during this time of danger. We are fortunate to have such dedicated partners working in the Yucatan.
The grocery staples disbursement will continue as long as needed and as long as we are able to send funds. Thank you for your continued support during this troubling time.
With love and well wishes to you and your families, The YPM Board