Monthly Archives: June 2016

June 30th, July 1st, July 4th….Then and Now

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June 30th, July 1st, July 4th….Then and Now

June 30th. Report card day. In my childhood I recall the feeling of two months of freedom once I clutched that all important envelope in my hands. We used to chant:

No more pencils, No more books, No more teacher’s dirty looks.

Decades later I recall taking my own children to school on June 30th to pick up their report cards. We used to go out for breakfast after with friends. Later on in the afternoon we’d head to Chuck E Cheese for pizza and games. And on the drive home we would witness lightning and hear the rumble of thunder and usually make it home safely into the garage before the worst of the storm hit.

I wonder what my kids are doing today back in Canada. I did some grocery shopping this morning and will be headed down to the pool shortly to cool off. Both temperatures and humidity are soaring in Mazatlan today.  

Tomorrow is July 1st, Canada Day. When my kids were younger, we used to go to Fort Whyte for the annual scavenger hunt. We’d often go to Assiniboine Park or The Forks to watch the fireworks at night. Sometimes we’d go to the Osborne Street or Corydon Street festivities.

And Monday is July 4th which brings back fond memories of going to the USA for parades and fireworks. This year I’ll be about two hours out of Mazatlan celebrating this holiday. A barbecue, games and a bonfire are part of the celebration.

Happy Canada Day! Happy 4th of July! Enjoy and stay safe.

 

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Fathers Day June 19, 2016

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Fathers Day June 19, 2016

This year Fathers Day falls on Sunday June 19th. Fathers Day has always been bittersweet for me as the last time I celebrated with my dad was forty years ago. Four decades ago. Yes, I’ve been without a father for most of my life.

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As a young child I recall making cards both at school and at home to honor this day. There was no hype for electronics as gifts in those days. Commercialization had not yet invaded this day. I know my dad treasured these handmade cards, and he enjoyed spending the day with his family. We would often barbecue with my Auntie Jan and Uncle Harry and my cousins. I have some great memories of these times.

 My dad was a self-made man who dropped out of school at age fourteen to run the family business when his own father became seriously ill. He supported his family and all three of his younger siblings were able to go to university due to his efforts. 

My dad  taught me how to skate, ride a bike and drive a car. He always found time to toss a ball around with me or push me on a swing. But more importantly, he instilled values in me that  I have passed on to my own children – the importance of education and development of a solid work ethic. 

Sadly my dad never lived to meet his grandchildren. And my children missed out on having a wonderful, loving grandfather in their lives. 

June 19th is also the anniversary of my mom’s death twenty years ago. So this Sunday is a double whammy for me. My children were fortunate in having a grandmother in their lives in their formative years, but we were all shocked and saddened when my mom passed away suddenly two months before my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah.

Here in Mexico, Fathers Day is not celebrated with the same relish and enthusiasm as Mothers Day. Commercialization is not as dominant as in the USA or Canada. If I were back in Canada, a visit to the cemetery would be an important part of my day. Instead, a virtual visit is in order as I have photos of the grave sites on my computer.

Happy Father’s Day to my dad, my hero in heaven!

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Mazatlan Health Fair

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Mazatlan Health Fair

On May 22nd a Health Fair was held at the Convention Center here in Mazatlan. Organized by the University of Durango, Vecinos Con Carinos was the main sponsor. As I am a member of Vecinos Con Carinos, I volunteered my time at this event. The goal of this event was to provide free consultations with health care professionals to people from the poorer areas of this city.

While it is true that there exists a free health care plan for all Mexican citizens, many people do not have access to Seguro Popular. Here in Mexico there are many home births which results in births not being registered. If a person is not registered, they are unable to access Seguro Popular. Also, many people are unable to afford the bus fare needed to take them to a facility. These people live in shanties or may be squatters. They have no running water nor do they have electricity. The children usually do not attend school. There is no money for uniforms or supplies required even in the public schools here.

One of the other volunteers also volunteers in an outreach program with La Vina. She recognized one of the ladies attending the Health Fair from one of the church’s programs. The woman told her that she had taken three buses to get to the Convention Center that day. She now had no money to return home. She wasn’t familiar with the city and hadn’t realized that three buses were needed to get to the Health Fair. The volunteer gave her the money so that she could return home. And that is only one story.

The majority of the health care professionals present that day were medical students, residents in their final year. Booths were set up with topics ranging from birth control to psychiatry. The most popular booth by far was gynecology, where women were given pelvic exams. What most of us take for granted as a part of our annual physical was something many of these women had never experienced in their lifetimes.

While it was encouraging to see so many people come to the Health Fair that day, I can’t help but think how many more people may have been helped had professionals gone out to the poorer areas instead of having the people come to the Convention Center. More comfortable in their own environment, and only a walk away instead of a tedious bus ride,  hundreds more could have been helped and perhaps even lives could have been saved. But overall, the event was a success.

The following are some of the photos I took that day:

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