By Moonyeen King
President of the Board for Tepehua
The Tepehua Community Center in Chapala wishes our volatile world peace for 2018. If we cannot have it politically, hopefully we will hold it in our homes, keep hope in the work that we do, and make this world a little better than we found it.
Looking back at 2017 in our corner of the world, change has been rapid in some of the barrios Lake-Side. We are lucky to be in a retirement area, lucky for us retirees because of the peace and happiness and help to be found here, as Lake-side is happy to have us, because we help bring about the change that is required. We bring work, hope and our years of training and expertise that does not go to waste here. It is sharing, and the Community Center of Tepehua intends to share our seven years of experience with other barrios. We can proudly say ‘we have been there and done that’, we can show the way.
The many organizations around Lake-Side have made a huge difference in helping to build a middle class, which 20 years ago was non-existent. The villages, deeply embedded in poverty, changed as the people became domestic helpers, gardeners, shop keepers needing more employees, contractors needing more builders, Local Government had more positions open. Services such as insurance agencies, nursing homes, home nursing care, taxes, immigration help, and veterinarians have all started in recent years because of the influx of migrants from the North and Europe.
Other Organizations like Rotary, Religious denominations, Masons, and Community organizations in general have all helped Lake-Side progress to a stronger society. Most of the services mentioned above were never needed by the local people, as they took care of their own and didn’t need assistance. Even if they did, there was none offered. So, although change seems slow coming, it has actually been quite rapid. Many Mexicans are opportunists - when they see a need, they get it covered and a business is born.
Tepehua Community Center has been reaching out, talking to other barrios, and we can help bring change by showing small communities how to self help. The barrio of Lazapotera, Poncitlan, sent representatives to Tepehua, with the help of a Chapala Church bus and the Tepehua van, looking for knowledge to start their own Community Center. They talked with our local leaders, asked questions, and it has been decided it is possible. We can share what we have to get them started. You only need a few strong people...you only need one person’s vision. The people will come.
The Tepehua Center honors all its volunteers, the change made is so visible. We look forward to an exciting 2018, with a gymnasium to get the boys and girls of the ‘hood off the streets. It helps start the bonding and group support.
Also, the New Water shed will be open in January and will sell potable water to the people at cost, to stop preventable deaths from water diseases, arsenic and lead.
Most of all, many thanks to the financial supporters who believed in us from day one. Without them, the rapid growth of the Center would not have been possible.
May Peace be in your heart, Health in your bodies, and Love in your souls.
MOONYEEN PATRICIA KING
Column: Profiling Tepehua
Settled in Mexico 13 years ago. The intention was to retire into the arts as a writer, poet and painter...that didn’t happen. Beneath the smiles of the peoples of Mexico there was such a great need for change, especially for the women and children of the barrios, Moonyeen has dedicated these years to change the face of this little corner of the world. The work done by the volunteers of the Tepehua Community Center is teaching that change is possible anywhere. Moonyeen was portrayed as “Woman of the Year,” also two Paul Harris Rotary awards for the work done at Tepehua. “Life in Mexico is very fulfilling. The Mexican people give so much more to us immigrants than we can possible return.