The little town that could
In the aftermath of a natural disaster such as Hurricane Patricia, there is shock, despair and a flow of tears that rival the world’s waterfalls. But life must and does go on.
Such is the case in La Manzanilla. Immediately after the hurricane hit, our message board came alive with offers to help the community. As donations came in, Viva La Manzanilla, a local group, and Operation Blessing, an international relief organization, immediately began rebuilding houses whose roofs had been torn off by the violent winds. As of this writing, 20 families have been able to return to their homes, and the work continues, as shelter is the top priority.
Volunteers loading material for more new roofs in La Manzanilla.
But the aid doesn’t stop there. Citizens from the interior towns of Mexico, such as Colima and Leon, are driving into town, their cars loaded with food, clothing and personal items. Winter residents are returning with extra suitcases also loaded with such. With relief aid and donations arriving daily in the town, those who have lost everything know that they have not been abandoned.
Many of the businesses that were damaged by Patricia are already repaired and open for business. The Helping Hands Bookstore, Bending Tree Yoga Studio, Pedro’s by the Sea, Palapa Joe’s and Felipe’s Compu-Cel Computer Store, just to name a few, have opened to welcome both residents and locals alike. Magnolia’s Kitchen & Drinks announced that they too will be open on November 16, with a new exciting menu and Hurricane specialty drink. The yearly seasonal events are still scheduled for the upcoming winter season. As each day passes, a smile appears on the face of another La Manzanillia resident, bringing with it hope and healing.
About five years ago, a small group of six talented scribes wintering in La Manzanilla met at Martin’s Restaurant to talk about writing, and to share their poetry and prose. The group has expanded over the years, growing to about 18 last season and tourists are always welcome to “drop in.”
The Writers Group also has a members’ reading at Casa Luz each year. Individuals read their works to the rest of the group, so that they can critique, advise and enjoy each other’s writings. Since the group has grown, there are discussions underway to perhaps move into the direction of a Writers Salon with story-slam and poetry-slam competitions open to the public.
The group’s first meeting this year will be November 14 at Palapa Joe’s. Members are encouraged to write about their feelings regarding Hurricane Patricia, and the current situation in the town.
Christmas Tree Fiesta
I love Christmas; I am a Christmas junkie. I take “Deck the Halls” to the extreme. That being said, it will not come as a surprise to hear that this is one of my favorite fundraisers. The 9th Annual La Manzanilla Christmas Tree Fiesta is held Friday, December 11, at Magnolia’s Kitchen & Drinks from 6 p.m. A silent auction for the trees is held from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
I literally mark the date on my calendar, and count down the days for this one. Everyone in town shows up for this event. The trees are created and donated by residents of La Manzanilla. The creativity in the designs of the trees and holiday decorations will bring back that wide-eyed wonderment of your childhood.
Viewing and bidding on the trees continues until 7:30 p.m., and the winners are announced at 8 p.m. Please be prepared to pay cash and take your tree home with you that evening. What a great way to get into the holiday spirit.
But it isn’t just the beauty of the trees that draws the crowds. Alex Mayberry and Leia Bowers outdo themselves each year with a steady stream of mouth-watering appetizers. Cost for this event for people not donating a tree is 80 pesos, and the proceeds this year go to Activos Gym, here in La Manzanilla. The gym has become a very popular activity among the local members of our community, and this fundraiser helps to keep membership costs at an affordable rate.
I would like to wish all my American friends a very happy Thanksgiving! May your day be stuffed (pardon the pun) with family, food and contentment. Don’t worry if your clothes are a little tighter than normal the next day. Come on down to La Manzanilla, we have a great beach to jog on, calm waters to swim in, and as mentioned, a very modern gym as well.