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La Manzanilla Memo - January 18, 2020

Life rings

This past summer we had a tragic drowning of a young man in La Manzanilla.  He was a construction worker for the Four Seasons resort and was enjoying his Sunday at the beach.  The ocean waters were churning more than usual because of the recent storms in the area.

The victim, not being a local resident, was not a strong swimmer, nor did he realize how powerful the ocean waters can be.  There are no lifeguards on the beach except at Christmas and Easter, and his companions were unable to save his life.


After this dreadful event occurred there was a lot of discussion on our local message board on how to make our beach safer. One of the most promising suggestions was that life rings should be placed in the beach restaurants.  Sadly, the discussions soon faded away, and no life rings appeared.

Well I’m happy to report that will soon change.  One of the volunteers at Otra Vez, the community thrift store in La Manzanilla, didn’t forget about the drowning.  She took it upon herself to do some research on obtaining the life rings. Her father will be bringing down three bright orange rings, each with a 30-inch diameter and its own buoys when he visits in mid March, just in time for Semana Santa.

The staff at Otra Vez agreed that profits from the store sales would pay for them. Probable locations would be Pedro’s By the Sea, Bahia Azul and Quinta Valentina’s restaurants. This would space them out pretty evenly along the shore line for quick access should there be a need.

Student Sponsorship

Last Wednesday evening La Catalina Foundation held its annual Meet & Greet School Sponsorship Event.

Prior to the arrival of sponsors, university, high school and middle school students spent an entertaining and informative hour listening to and discussing “university life.” Many of the university attendees provided first-hand accounts of dealing with the challenges of being away from family and community for the first time, meeting new friends, taking responsibility for punctuality and homework, learning to cook, and their struggles to make funds last for the semester.


Forty of the sponsored students and their families were able to spend time with their sponsors. For some of the students it was the first time meeting; for others it was a reunion with their patrons of many years.

Donaldo Ponto, the director of the Foundation, gave a brief report on the function of the foundation. Art program and English-language organizer Maria Chavarin explained the additional classes offered to the students by volunteer artists Annie Olson, Rennie Holley and Ron Stock. Julie Catton, one of the founders of La Catalina and its former director, joined Joanne Kipp, a board member and Amistad Canada Project chair, to speak of the availability of tax deductible receipts to donors through the La Catalina Foundation USA and Amistad Canada organizations.

Contact Donaldo Ponto at 317-873-7820 if you would like further information regarding sponsorship of students.

Art news

We certainly have plenty of art here in La Manzanilla and we are proud to display it.

• It all starts with the monthly Art Crawl.  The first Tuesday of each month, new pieces of La Manz’s local artists are displayed in various locations throughout the town. This month’s theme is “La Manzanilla, the Wild Side.” Enjoy a leisurely stroll around the town taking in all the creative exhibits, which include paintings, mosaics, mixed media, recycled art and paper mache.  There is sure to be something that catches your eye.

• Efren Gonzalez held his annual exhibit this past Friday at Galeria de Arte, bringing with him his latest paintings from his home studio in Ajijjic. It is always a delight to not only view his works, but to chat with him as well. Although he has achieved international prominence, he remains well grounded and modest. He always speaks of the inspiration and support given to him from his wife and children. Gonzalez will be travelling to Ontario, Canada this May for art conventions and classes. Yes, even the masters still take classes.


Then in July, he and his family will visit France again.  Gonzalez said that it was a visit to the Louvre Museum in Paris, a dream come true for him, that strengthened his resolve to always paint. If you missed his reception, you can still view the beauty of his work at the Galeria de Arte this month.

Doggy Bingo

Last Thursday afternoon, Palapa Joe’s Restaurant was transformed into a Bingo Hall for the benefit of Cisco’s Amigos upcoming free Spay and Neuter Clinic.

It didn’t take long for the tables to be filled with participants excitedly scanning their cards for each number called out by Jose (Ginger) Rodgers. Nine games were played and the lucky “bingoers” selected their prizes from the winners’ table.  Along with the games, there was a silent auction for items donated by local artists and residents, and a raffle for a homemade apple pie, donated by The Frozen Buddhas Comfort Food Shop.

Thanks to Willy Mason for the use of his establishment, and all the volunteers who worked the event. Their support was greatly appreciated by Cisco’s Amigos. The proceeds from the bingo will greatly help with the clinic, which will be held in La Manzanilla Sunday, January 19 through Tuesday, January 21.

Still to come

Bocci Dinner & Dance, Tuesday, January 21, at Bahia Azul Restaurant.

Polo Tournament, Saturday, January 25. Email susanstovall@careyes for more information.

The Bocci Ball Tournament is happening in February. We will update on the time and place soon.



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