There is only one highway to get to La Manzanilla from anywhere and that’s Highway 200.
For several years, this road has been under construction to upgrade it to a four-lane thoroughfare. Bulldozers, dump trucks, workers and the occasional rock slide have become normal sights for those who travel. Traffic can often be held up from ten minutes to an hour in these construction zones.
Our stretch of road from La Manz to Melaque has now become part of that development, and each trip is a roll of the dice as to how long it will take to get to your destination. On a recent drive home from Melaque, I was in a long line of traffic at a dead stop. But to my surprise it wasn’t the construction teams holding up traffic. It was a herd of cattle ambling along in the other lane.
Complete with vaqueros on horseback, swinging their lassos and singing to the cows to keep them calm as they travelled to greener pastures. After living in Mexico for ten years I’m happy to say that there are still things to see and ways of life that bring a smile to my face.
The highway isn’t the only construction that has been ongoing over the summer months. With funds and engineers from the federal government, the town has installed new pumps, and larger sewer pipes to carry our “black water” more efficiently out of town to the filtration plant in Los Ingenios, located just across the highway from us.
This upgrading to the infrastructure was a priority in the growth of our pueblo. Tourism is no longer just a winter escape for expats. Busloads of Mexican tourists from the larger inland cities such as Guadalajara and Mexico City roll into town weekly. With the additional tourist condos and local housing being built, and the prospect of more visitors coming daily from the Four Seasons Tamarindo resort once it opens (in 2021, according to its website), the sewers could not be neglected.
Crews worked seven days a week to complete this project in a timely manner, so as not to disrupt the local businesses any more that absolutely necessary.
The first meeting of the Writers Group was held on Saturday, November 16 at Martin’s Restaurant. Spearheaded by Ron Stock and Julie Cattan, this gathering is open to any and all authors in La Manzanilla. Each week the attendees read a portion of their written prose or poetry and receive appraisal from their fellow writers. The group also holds regular “story slams” and other invitational readings for the public throughout the winter season. Dates and times for these will be announced shortly.
Since its formal appearance this past April, our town ambulance has answered more than 17 emergency runs here in La Manzanilla and the surrounding area. From assisting with high-risk pregnancies, construction and vehicle accidents to drowning victims, Francisco, our delegado (town administrator), has been there to answer the call.
However, this is quickly becoming too much for just one man, and help is needed. Jeanne Crosby, who has spearheaded the campaign to purchase the ambulance called a meeting in the town to lay out a plan in regards to obtaining more staff.
First a board of directors will be needed, consisting of members from both the Mexican community and full time expats. This board would be responsible for making decisions on how the ambulance should run, how to raise funds, and arranging to have rotating volunteers to help with keeping the ambulance and its base clean.
Secondly, staffing with licensed medical personnel will be required. Crosby has already talked to Dr. David at our Central de Salud and he has agreed to ride with the ambulance on emergency runs when needed.
Crosby feels that it should be the responsibility of the doctor to provide this service. She is setting up an appointment with the chief of staff of the mayor of La Huerta to attempt to make this official.
Crosby has also been in touch with a former fireman and another gentleman who has submitted his paperwork to La Huerta to begin training. Crosby has also arranged for three qualified medical specialists to come at separate times to assist with training. They will also supply uniforms and medical equipment.
Last but not least in the action plan is funding. Crosby has already negotiated a contract with La Huerta to fund all maintenance needed to the ambulance itself. Of course, there will always be a need for funds to purchase medical supplies and pay a stipend to the drivers. She will be asking La Huerta for additional funding, but is also looking for more involvement from the Mexican community. Crosby has been a committed driving force in the “ambulance campaign” and we are grateful for all that she has accomplished.
• Dog Adoption Day: On Friday, November 29, Valentin Fernandez, La Manzanilla’s own “Dog Whisperer,” will be hosting a Dog Adoption Day. He will have nine healthy, loving dogs looking for a forever home. All the dogs have been spayed/neutered and are up to date with their vaccinations. They also have had basic training and are well behaved. They will be available for viewing (and adopting) from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., in front of Otra Vez Thrift Store and The Lab Cafe on Calle Playa Blanca.
If you are unable to adopt or foster, consider dropping a few pesos in the donation can to help with expenses. There is always a need for food and medicines.
• Friday, December 13: Holiday Fiesta! Lots of beautiful holiday decorations to bid on, while enjoying treats from Magnolia’s and The Lab. Located at Playa Blanca 18.
• Thursday, January 23: Activos Fun Run for the Community Gym. More details in upcoming Memos.