I began writing this article and published it in April but there have been more changes with the passage of time so decided to do it again with the revisions.
This program has been in place since 2007 and is open to any interested folks coming to Progreso on any cruise ship who are interested in making a difference in the lives of people in Chicxulub.
The process begins with receiving an email from an interested person and the planning begins.
The groups tell me what they wish to do and have at least 4 choices:
1. About 3 hours and includes me meeting the group at the bus shuttle and travelling to Chicxulub, visiting Benito Juarez elementary school and doing a tour of the village;
2. Only pick-up of donation has me meeting the group at the bus shuttle and accepting their donations;
3. Delivery of donation either to me or a predetermined location in Progreso;
4. Includes a quick visit to the school and off to other activity.
Donations may include school supplies and/or other donations that are used in other programs with the Food Bank like Christmas wrap and wool for the knitting program.
On average, about 10-15 groups visit every year and mostly in Jan-Feb and March.
As this program grows, changes have been implemented.
With the shuttle service drop-off point being in 2 locations it is more of a challenge to know where the passengers are but most often I meet them at the Autoprogreso bus terminal. If you happen to end up at the other site, we can find one another as it is only a short walk to the other artisans’ market.
From this point on we are off on our adventure. We hop a local bus to take us to the Benito Juarez elementary school and begin the walking tour.
This walk takes about 45 minutes and we will end up at Mamma Mias restaurant for a cold drink and visit. At this time you can also go for a swim to cool off before returning to Progreso.
There is always the opportunity to take photos, get to know the village and meet some of the folks in the area.
- The visitors are sent a list of needed items that continues throughout the season and bring what they can.
- Our current needs are: • markers,• jigsaw puzzles,• white bond paper, • flash cards and • note books for writing composition.
- Special requests are made for Christmas wrapping paper, yarn for knitting winter items and popcan tabs for the tab purses we offer as a fundraiser for the program.
- When leaving the ship carry a backpack with your donation in it and no-one will take notice. Discretion goes a long way.
- Be sure you wear sunscreen, bring water and use good walking shoes. There will be time to shop later back in Progreso.
- Do a google search and learn about the Chicxulub Crater as you will be right in the centre of it.
I am always open to ideas to improve what we do so feel free to recommend any change.