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Maya Monthly May 2017

May 18, 2017

Let’s Celebrate During May!


Dear Friends of the Maya,


Us “old time Catholics” used to celebrate May as “Month of Mary”. I still remember the song: “Oh Mary we crown thee with blossoms today” and I’ll bet that many of you could continue that song right to the end. It surprised me to find out that there is no special song for Mary in Mexico during May. Not even a May crowning. I think I know why.


There are so many fiestas during the month of May in Mexico that there wasn’t any room for Mary!


The fiestas started this year even before May. Fiesta de los Niños is supposed to be celebrated at the end of April. People weren’t happy that la fiesta de niños fell on a week day so they started on the last Friday in April but continued into May. May 1st is “May Day!” a national feast for workers and a holiday. Wow! Two feasts at the same time and a national holiday to boot.


Kids are really loved, really loved, in Mexico. No matter how poor, there has to be a fiesta for the kids. Our after-school programs in Sierra Papacal, Cosgaya, Noc-ac and San Antonio Hool have more than 100 kids participating. We had one big fiesta for all of the kids and I have a hunch each village celebrated another fiesta on their own. I was already in the States but the faces on these kids show how much they enjoyed the celebration. Thanks for making this possible.




One of the biggest feasts of the year, not just in the USA, but also Mexico is Fiesta de las Madres. Mother’s Day. That feast falls on May 10th every year (not the second Sunday in May as it does in the US). This is not a National Feast but it might as well be! Workers are supposed to work and students are supposed to go to school. What happens is that the workers go to work and then head home. Students go to school but so do their Mamas and everyone celebrates. We had a special celebration for all our youth and their Moms at our Facility in Cosgaya.



I cannot begin to tell you how special our mothers are. Since we have a high percentage of alcoholism among the men, the mothers are the way families stay together. The mothers make sure their kids go to school. Mothers make sure the food is ready, the house is clean, and there is enough food on the table to eat. Mothers keep smiling no matter what. The kids know this and their simple poems and loving hugs say it all: “Mama, thanks. Mama, I love you”. Yes! God love our Mothers!



May isn’t over yet. There is still another fiesta! This time it is Fiesta de las Maestras. Teacher’s Day!


Maria Eugenia Cruz Couoh, Nayeli Rubi Tzec Matu, Fanny Beatriz Dzul Cen, and Cintya Concepcion Sanchez Cen



We have four Maestras. Eugenia in Cosgaya, Rubi in Sierra Papacal, Fanny in Noc-ac and Cindy in San Antonio Hool. Each of them is Maya. Each of them comes from one of the villages. That means they had to overcome poverty in their homes, poor education at the local school, and long distances to get to schools for their degree. Each of them received a scholarship from Maya Indian Missions. Now, THEY are the teachers in our after-school programs. I’m happy to say because of them and the scholarships Maya Indian Missions continues to offer, our young people are able to continue their education and choose careers for the future.


We have more than 100 young adults who have received scholarships this year. More than 1000 young people have benefited so far from the help people like you have given. This week 43 young men and women asked to be added to this program. THANKS FOR MAKING THIS POSSIBLE.


LET’S CELEBRATE!!! Together let us make this world a better place!


Paz y amor,



Maya Monthly March/April 2017

Mar 29, 2017

March Madness


Dear Friends of the Maya,


A week ago, I was listening to the nightly news and the latest sports events. I was surprised at the coverage of College Basketball in the US. The commentator went on and on about March Madness.

I was a little disappointed ​since ​we rarely see College Basketball on TV here in Mexico and I would miss most of the March Madness coverage. Then I thought:





I was supposed to leave Merida on March 13th and head to Houston and then on to Trenton New Jersey where I was going to speak about our work with the Maya in three schools. I got to Houston fine, but March 13th was the day of the big storm on the east coast. I never got to New Jersey! I was sitting on the plane and it was ready to take off for Newark. I received one call and then another from the schools cancelling their programs. I said THIS is MADNESS – STAYING ON THE PLANE.


So I got off. I could just see myself driving to Trenton on Turnpikes that had been closed. Problem was there were no flights back to Merida…at least that is what they told me. Not for the rest of the week. Now THAT would be real Madness! I called some friends from Adrian who have lived in Houston a long time. They agreed to take me in. I got a reservation to return to Merida the next day.


Since I had returned to Merida earlier than expected, I was able to catch up on some work. One of those was getting back in touch with the electrician who was supposed to do some work on the house. I had given him an anticipo (down payment) and he had promised to come – two different times, but no show!


More Madness. So I showed up at his shop and asked his wife where he was. She didn’t know and I wasn’t happy. I explained that he had received the money and was supposed to do the work. She looked at me and asked: “Are you the priest?”. I said “yes” and added: “If Jose doesn’t show up soon, I will shoot him, and bury him over there in the cemetery with gusto”. That means joy! She looked at me seriously and responded: “I’ll help you!” His daughter added: “I’ll bring the flowers!” We all ended up laughing.


Jose is supposed to be fixing the electricity today. He hasn’t shown up yet. More​ March​ Madness!


March Madness is not only about basketball in the USA or Jose not showing up to fix the electricity. It’s about me trying to balance the books for Maya Indian Missions! We have two accounts in the USA and two accounts here in Mexico. The IRS insists that we account for every penny that you give and HACIENDA here in Mexico checks each peso we use. Talk about Madness. I had been putting it off! Time to get to work.


I was wishing more than once that the flight to Jersey​ had not been cancelled! But the books are balanced and reports are being sent to our accountants and treasury departments in USA and Mexico​.​


Some highlights. Thanks to you we took in about $145,000 last year. We spent about $26,000 dollars plus 2,131,533 pesos in Mexico.Yes, that’s a little over two million! (but pesos, not dollars!).​ Income and Expenses were almost even last year. ​If you would like a more detailed​ account I would be happy to send it. Just let me know.


I don’t know if ​we ​will always have more income than expenses. I do know we will try to continue all the programs we have begun. We just received news that 30 more young people are asking for scholarships next year. ​We will try to help.​



In spite of the chaos of March Madness I am very hopeful for the future. A long, long, time ago, about 600 A.D. the Maya built a special pyramid very near our villages. It’s called Dzibi ​l​chaltun and every March on the equinox , the sun rises and shines brightly through the center of that Pyramid. A sure sign that spring is here.


New Hope. New Life. New Love.

Maybe less Madness!


Paz y amor,



Maya Monthly March 2017

Mar 05, 2017

This is what Paradise is all about!


Dear Friends of the Maya,


If the news in Mexico is correct, the Groundhog saw his shadow on Feb 2nd and you are having a few more weeks of Winter up there in the North Country. Here in the Yucatan, we have been having wonderful weather: 90 degrees every day, no rain, and even low humidity. I am tempted to say it must be like this in paradise.


But I drove by a little village the other day called “Paradiso” and I would never want to live there for eternity. I think a rich Mexican bought the property several years ago, hoping to make even more money. “Paradiso” was supposed to be a gorgeous new, fancy development with lakes, golf courses and no kids to “spoil” the atmosphere of tranquility. The people knew right away that was no paradise. So, the signs remain but nada mas…nothing else.


Lots of visitors the last few weeks. Abby Hurst, Lia Johnston and Dave Sutherland from our Maya Board of Directors. Dave’s wife and friends from Michigan and Kentucky also managed to make it to this part of “paradise”. (Some of them cheated and went to Cancun first!). We visited Komchen, Sierra Papacal, Cosgaya, Noc-ac and San Antonio Hool. Our Board members took part in our weekly meeting here. They took pictures of our young kids in the After-School programs and our students who receive becas.


I was looking at those pictures and the thought came to me that this is what paradise is all about.Everyone smiling. Everyone helping one another. We don’t need to wait. We just need to look around and appreciate God’s love and presence in our midst. I’m including some of those pictures in this Maya Monthly. You can see even more at our Facebook page today and more coming soon. Look at them closely. Then you will know how much God loves us all!




Thanks for being part of this Paradise! Gracias.


Paz y amor,



Maya Monthly February 2017

Feb 17, 2017

Becoming more open and understanding to people throughout the world

Dear Friends of the Maya,


Greetings – Saludos


I have been in the USA for about three weeks and am heading to Mexico this coming week.


I cannot avoid the topic any longer.


On November 8th, I stayed up late, like most of you. I was in Mexico but had sent my absentee ballot in weeks ahead of the election. I went to bed wondering what would happen. I woke up no longer wondering, but afraid. I still am. Everywhere I go people ask: “what do you think? What is going to happen?” I wish I knew.


Jose likes to eat. He hopes to open a Mexican restaurant in USA

This issue of Maya Monthly is delayed because I had to think for a long time whether I should bring up the issue of Donald Trump’s election and how it might affect our lives. Some would say this is no place for politics. I don’t agree. Some would say, “That’s it. I am not sending any more donations to the Maya Missions.” If that is how you feel. So be It. But first, please read what I have to say.


For close to 30 years I have tried to share with you my experiences and life among the Maya. I think I have said more than once that I will never fully understand these wonderful people, and they will probably never understand me either. But if we love one another, and we do, then we can help one another build a better world.


That philosophy applies to more than me and the Maya. I realized after November 9th that I have not fully understood not just the Maya but in truth our world. I have a long way to go to feel the pain of others, to understand what makes them think and live and love. I hope that the wonderful experience I continue to have with the Maya and with Mexico will lead me to be more open, more understanding of people throughout this world.


I don’t know if I can do this, but I will try in the months ahead to share my experience in Mexico in such a way that it will help all who read this bulletin to feel the pain of a people who have been rejected by others for more than a thousand years. I hope I can help you readers experience the fears and concern of many Mexicans toward us Americans. They have grown to love us so much. I also hope we Americans can be more aware of the gifts we have lost by closing our borders and homes to others. May God Help us all.


Mauru, one of our Scholarship Students from Komchen, is now director of our After School Program in Cosgaya

Our Team in Merida – They are great and working to make our world great too!


I ask forgiveness of the people I know in the villages of the Yucatan, people who have been been unjustly categorized and condemned as rapists and terrorists, when I know they are so loving and peaceful. I hope the smiles on their faces, the hope in their hearts and the love they have for us, will transform each of us into people who are more loving, more open and more caring about others.




Paz y amor,



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