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La Manzanillo Memo – February 21, 2015

Lending Library Project

A few winter seasons ago Susan O’Riley discovered La Manzanilla for the first time. That first season was spent getting to know the village, the local nonprofits and community projects.  She thought La Manzanilla would be the perfect place to set-up a library.  She made plans to return the following winter and got the project underway.

Flash back to 1993, while teaching elementary school in the States, O’Riley organized a school trip to Guatemala to help create a lending library in a small mountain village.  Her students did all the fundraising required to pay for the trip as well as transport books to the village.  Thus was born the Rural Literacy Project (RLP).   Since then RLP has initiated 12 other libraries throughout Latin America and one in Tanzania. 

The current project is a partnership between RLP and La Manzanilla’s La Catalina Educational Foundation.  La Catalina is providing space in their community building for the lending library.  The building is also where they have art classes and seminars.  Books have come from multiple sources.  O’Riley has even carried books down over the past couple of years.  Through her partnership with the educational foundation she found a stash of books donated by the Mexican government to the secondary school.  Most of the books had been forgotten so she went to work salvaging what she could and bringing them to their new home at the Foundation.

At present O’Riley has rallied volunteers to help catalog the books and set-up systems for using the library, including the creation of library cards.  They plan to start inviting the kindergarten and elementary school teachers and their classes to visit the library. This will be La Manzanilla’s first library and a new experience for most of the children and many of the adults.  There are plans to implement story times as well.  Currently there are about 1,000 books being cataloged, half in Spanish and half in English.  She is prioritizing Spanish books and is always happy to accept donations of books. 

Family Fun Run/Walk

More than 100 people turned out Sunday, February 15, to run, walk or just cheer on participants during the second annual Family Fun Run/Walk hosted by Activos Estilo de Vida, La Manzanilla’s gym and fitness center.  

Gym staff warmed the crowd up with calisthenics and some snappy Zumba moves, as people arrived and collected their race packets and t-shirts.

For those who just wanted a nice stroll through the village there was a 2K.  For those who wanted a bit more exercise they had a 5K option.  There was also a 500-meter race for kids in the elementary school who had to hold the hand of an adult while running, a great ploy to drag the parents out early on a weekend morning.  

The finish line ribbon went back up as soon as someone passed through.  No matter when runners or walkers finished they could throw-up their arms and lunge toward the ribbon for a photo finish.  

Event organizers were pleased with the turn-out.  “The idea of a fitness event is really new to La Manzanilla,” said gym owner Gabriela Martinez Rodriguez.  “Our goal is get more people involved and thinking about health and fitness. This is a fun way to motivate people to take that first step toward a healthy lifestyle.”

Funds raised by the event will help Activos continue its mission of providing low-cost memberships to La Manzanilla’s full-time residents, continue to run a weekly physical education class at the primary school, foster healthy exercise and eating habits through classes and seminars, and give its resident teachers and staff the opportunities for personal development though continued training.

La Manzanilla Happenings

Old Pharts Baseball game to support La Manzanilla youth baseball is Saturday, February 28, 3 p.m. at the soccer field across the arroyo.  Old Pharts and young guns will team together for an entertaining afternoon of sport. There will be a 50/50 raffle as well.  Bring a chair and cold drinks and enjoy the show.   

Cisco’s Amigos Bingo and Silent Auction is Thursday, February 26, in Barra de Navidad at the beautiful Cabo Blanco Hotel. Cost is 150 pesos to enter and you get three cards. Bingo starts at 1 p.m. Final auction items go at 4 p.m.  Not in La Manzanilla but an event that supports our own annual free spay and neuter clinic.  

Casa Luz film series continues Sunday, February 22 with the documentary film “One Track Heart,” the story of Krishna Das a world renowned kirtan singer and spiritual teacher.  On March 1, see the documentary film “Loyalties,” a compelling film about the unlikely friendship between two women – Lily Sutton, an upper-class Englishwoman and Rosanne Ladouceur, a native woman who has been hired as housekeeper. Films start at 7:30 p.m.  Casa Luz is located at Boca Del Rio 75.  For additional information call 315-351-7029.

Careyes hosts several polo matches throughout the winter season.  March 4-8 enjoy polo at the beautiful Careyes polo grounds just 45-minute drive north of La Manzanilla. Take Highway 200 north past kilometer marker 40 – watch for the POLO sign on your left – games will start between 3:30 and 4 p.m.  Refreshments and light snacks are available field side or bring your own. Dress is resort casual and attendance is free.  For more details call 315-351-0320 or see their website www.careyes.com.mx.

Activo’s Gym continues a full schedule of Zumba, Cardio 100, Chi gong, belly dancing, mixed martial arts and yoga.  The gym is open 6:30-11:30 a.m. and again 4:30-9 p.m. weekdays and Saturday mornings, but closed on Sundays.  For an updated schedule see www.activoslamanzanilla.com.

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