Hurricane Dean: Playa Pals for Mahahual
Posted by Tony & Cheri on August 31, 2007
The relief effort goes on in Mahahual. So far, the “Playa Pals for Mahahual” (being the volunteers from Playa del Carmen who have been donating and fundraising through our paypal account, posting on the playa.info thread, and hauling items to Mahahual several times a week) have raised over $16,000.
Yesterday, we went down with four other trucks and many volunteers. The items we took were:
Unfortunately, in some ways the situation in Mahahual remains unchanged in the week since Hurricane Dean turned the lives of the Mahahualense upside down. As of yesterday, there were no professional relief agencies present. The Red Cross had indicated previously that it would start raising money and provide assistance in Mahahaul. So far that has not happened. The only assistance and relief Mahahual is receiving is from private donations and volunteers such as our little group.
It is good to see that the Mexican government is present with earthmoving machines to clear debris and haul it away. They have also brought in a number of chemical toilets.
We continue to raise money for Mahahual and ask everyone reading this to donate through our paypal account. On Saturday another convoy will be headed to Mahahual to take more materials and supplies.
On yesterday’s trip, after delivering the relief supplies, we made a couple of personal journeys through the devastated area along with our friend Heather. One was to deliver a bottle of tequila to Francisco, the volunteer chef at the community kitchen. Feeding a couple hundred familes each day, he has been working without rest since the hurricane passed through. He’s also working without pay. He was most appreciative.
We also took a large quantity of candy down and passed it out to the local children. We were rewarded with incredible smiles and laughter.
One example of the sad situation in Mahahual: A couple of days ago, our friend Claudia spent the night after making the trip down. There is one room in the Hotel Mahahual that is habitable, and it was offered to her. She protested, but the local family making the offer said that crocodiles have been coming out of the mangroves at night since the hurricane, and it was unsafe for her to sleep outside. She asked where they (a family of seven) would sleep. They told her, “Don’t worry, we’re used to it.” (!!!). This is one of the many reasons we continue to try and help this community.
Another convoy is going down on Saturday. We won’t be able to make that trip due to work at the hotel. However, we will returning to Mahahual early next week and will provide more information then, if not sooner. In the meantime, we continue to ask for any assistance that anyone can give us at this time.