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La Manzanilla Memo - January 04, 2020

Events ahead

Monday, January 6: Spoken Word Open Mic Night, Casa Luz 7-9 p.m.  All are welcome.  Donation at the door.

January 7-9: Art Crawl, Galeria #10, La Playa Blanca (above Ada’s Boutique) 4-8 p.m. The theme is “La Manzanilla The Wild Side.”

January 7-9: Efren Gonzalez Drawing Workshop (first time ever!).  Located at Galeria de La Manzanilla, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

pg29aThursday, January 9: Cisco’s Bingo, Palapa Joe’s, 1 p.m.

Friday, January 10: Meet the Artist with Efren Gonzalez, Galeria de La Manzanilla, 4-7 p.m.

January 19-21: Cisco’s Amigos Free Spay & Neuter Clinic, Ejido Auditorium.

Helping Hands help out

On a warm August evening in 2004, California resident Stephanie Wunner experienced an “aha” moment, which was destined to change the lives of many people.

She had spent the day packing and organizing for her drive down the coast to her winter home in La Manzanilla.  Wanting to unwind from the day’s schedule, she decided to sit and continue reading a novel that had kept her attention for a few evenings.  As the last line was read and she closed the book Wunner asked herself, “Now what do I do with this?”  That’s when the “aha” moment occurred.

Why not take the book to Mexico and sell it?  In fact why not take more books to sell?  So she called three of her friends and explained the plan.  They too thought it was a great idea, and soon Wunner had 80 books donated to bring down with her.  Once in La Manzanilla and partnered up with friend and full time resident Barbara Vooys, the hunt was on for a small shop.

Soon, a Mexican family turned a small casita into a store front for them, charging a very reasonable rent.

Helping Hands Bookstore was born in October 2004.  Jose (Ginger) Rodgers joined the team the following year, bringing down a trunk full of books with her each year ever since.  Saralyn Fenwick began to volunteer in 2006, also bringing books with her each season. Other expats were soon dropping off bags of books to stock the shelves.

The Bookstore soon needed a larger location and moved to Playa Blanca within a few years of its opening.   Their inventory has also grown through the years to include Spanish books for local residents to enjoy, and a good number of French books as well.  Along with books of every genre, Helping Hands also sell reading glasses, DVDs, CDs and paper mache art created by Marco, an artist from La Huerta.

pg29bThis non-profit organization is open seven days a week in high season and at least two days a week in low season.  It is staffed entirely with volunteers.  The proceeds of the sales, after rent, are used to help with the education of the children in the town. Working with the La Catalina Foundation’s Scholarship Program, ten students are sponsored each year to continue their education by finishing high school, and continuing into college.  This year the Book Store had its first college graduate!   

Students who receive sponsorship are from economically-challenged families, and must have a GPA of eight or higher and and do some community work around the pueblo.

But Helping Hands doesn’t stop with just the Scholarship Program.  If there is someone in need of medical aid, suffers a loss from a natural disaster, or is elderly and alone, Helping Hands is there.  Now in its 16th year it is so much more than just a book store, it is the hub of our community.

Eileen’s cooking classes

Can’t boil water?   Never had the time to learn to cook?  Are you in a cooking rut?   

If you answered yes to any one of those questions, there is a solution right here in La Manzanilla.  Enrol in a cooking class with Eileen Zack, and treat your palette to a bounty of international cuisine, that you create.

Eileen has been cooking professionally for over 50 years. Before retiring in Mexico she founded the catering firm of Pease Porridge Hot and the Annapolis School of Cooking.  Her years of experience and love of cooking make the class fun as well as instructional.

Each month she plans a different luncheon from the recipes she has obtained while travelling the globe.  Classes are small, usually from six to eight students, and they are “hands on” with the students working together to prepare the meal.  With these smaller classes each student receives individual instructions and attention from Eileen.

Once the meal has been prepared the students along with Eileen adjourn to the breezy front terrace of the casa to enjoy a luscious luncheon.

Classes begin at 11 a.m. and last about two hours.  They are located at Calle Playa Blanca #316.  Cost is 350 pesos, and includes a print out of all the recipes used in class, luncheon and beverages.  To view this season’s class schedules visit eileenslamanzailla.com.

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