Message from Moonie – August 28, 2022
This is volunteering in its finest because they get no recognition, no plaques. If you would like to donate beans or money to help this group continue their unselfish act of kindness to those who through no fault of their own find themselves and their children hungry, whole sale bags of beans or rice are attainable for most of us, but are priceless for the poor.
Giving is a feel good thing!
You are invited to visit the Tepehua Treasures second hand store in Riberas, where all the profit goes up to Tepehua Center to use for educating the children and to keep the Maternal Health clinic in business. We would be grateful for your patronage.
At the thrift store, you can also view the work of the Tepehua Sewing ladies at your leisure. All of their products are made with talent and love.
While at the thift store, have a taste of the Tepehua Pure Water that is sold by the garrafon. (5 gallons) Should you want a tour of the Tepehua Distribution Center for potable water you will be able to see the Reverse Osmosis machines working. Every garrafon you buy supplies free water to those under the poverty line. Just make a tour request to Moonie. Pure water is your health, enjoy!!! You can sign up for free delivery at 40 pesos per 5 gallon. Delivery area is from the Plaza Bugambilias in Ajijic to Chapala. You will need your own garrafons to get started.
Message from Moonie – May 30, 2022
Over twenty years the Tepehua Community Center has gone from strength to strength, its progress a natural process of events created out of need. We started with a soup kitchen. Poverty breeds distrust, it took a while for the village to accept help off expats of Lakeside, to know we really didn’t want anything from them. It took two years to have round table talks as to what was needed and where we were going. The village told us the need and we listened. 70% of volunteers were expats, today 90% of the volunteers are local Mexicans including professionals like Doctors, Dentists, nurses, cleaners and teachers. We gave them the tools and they took them – and also ownership of the Community Center. After surviving the pandemic we now look at the existing problems that trouble the barrios, problems that trouble all Mexico. Lack of Sanitation, potable water, and affordable medical attention, that resulted in kidney failure in children and adults, and diabetes.
Donations from Rotary clubs North of the Border in the end of 2020, gave us our own reverse osmosis distribution station at the Tepehua Center. This enabled us to give drinking water free to those under the poverty line, especially those in the Maternal Health program, or selling it as low as 20 pesos a garrafon (5 gallon Plastic jug) We realized that without sustainability this could never be a constant source of potable water for the poor. In the last year we have branched out to the private sector, tripled our supply of new garrafon bottles, expanded our market to sell at 40 pesos. Widening this field we are able to still give free water to those who need it and we are now pushing a little further to cover all our overhead. Not to make a profit, though that is indeed a possibility and preferable, but to have a stable future without the need to find donations. But this year we still need a little help, mainly with the supporting maintenance for the truck which for the expansion is far too small. We have to make three runs sometimes to clean and refill and reload. A larger truck would make more money in less time, saving on man power, gasoline and wear and tear. Our private sector customers are pleased to know that every drink of clean water they take gives a person under the poverty line water free of charge. We are expanding this market, and the only thing that may rock the boat a little is the shortage of water Lakeside, which in turn forces the price of water up. Water itself is the highest part of the expenditure of the program. We are fortunate to have solar paneling for the electricity, which in itself helps this project because without which it would not be feasible.
The Medical and Dental unit of course needs support, as we have to compensate the professionals as most of them travel from Guadalajara so it is a matter or reimbursing their out of pocket travel and time. The Gynecological unit once a week is extremely successful…teaching women family planning, STD control, pre/postnatal care that is bringing down the maternal health mortality rate in the barrio. Even those who birth at home have care from the Center so chances of mother and child surviving without infection is extremely high!
Unsung heroes are those of the Private sector who give us donations in anonymity and allow us to support the programs that we need to support at that time. We can assure you all that this little Community Center and clinic for the people will go for many years to come, you have invested in the people wisely. We have the security of owning the land and the building, and although it is eljido land, as long as we pay the 100 pesos tax per annum, no-one can take this away from the people.
So, this journey that you have taken with us and all these years of support has made a difference not in hundreds of lives but thousands – this generation of children are all educated because Tepehua literally left no child behind, gave pride to the mothers and eased the burden of the men who tried their best but were thwarted by unequal playing fields.
The song goes ‘ If you help somebody as you pass along, then your living has not been in vain…’, this is a village of 7,000 people and they are taking it from here into the future…because of you.
For the Board of Tepehua
Memo from Moonie – March 8, 2022
Global view brings more challenges to the front stage…we have a war raging in Ukraine that no one can win, (there is never a winner in war.) Unbelievable weather challenges and political strife are everywhere. But the world is waking up.
At Lake Side we are feeling our oats too. The Community Center feels it is time – in anticipation of Spring, to have an April Fools Party at the Sunrise Restaurant in San Antonio from 2pm until 5pm. (1st April. Friday.) Free raffles, door prizes, costume prizes for the best fool. Live Music good food and comradeship. It is held in the garden, but if you would like to support the Center without the party, your meal ticket is redeemable for any day in April for your privacy and convenience. Not everyone feels ‘free’ yet. It is a way to support your passion at your own pace. The cost of entry is 450 pesos, this will support our kids for school, keep the free Medical Center open, food distribution and all the other programs the Tepehua Community Center shares with other barrios and people under the poverty line.
Social contact is essential for our school children and is part of their overall education, to learn to live and compromise with others and just as essential to adults. Social contact is something you do not miss until it is taken from you and a restlessness sets in…the need to touch.
Please try and come and call your friends. You can call me, Moonie 376-763-5126 or e-mail me for tickets that you can pick up at the door, or buy your ticket at the door or from the bar of the restaurant.
You will also find tickets at the Tepehua Treasures thrift shop in Riberas next to Computer Land. An area that is fast becoming the New Downtown.
Can we see you there? Share the love….
For the Board of Tepehua
Message from Moonie – December 14, 2021
We thought we would check in with you before this year checks out…just to say “thank you” Your support in this very troubled year has been greatly appreciated. At the same time this era has been a learning curve. In some things we are smarter, our food distribution is forever changed and the idea is to send food home to the family twice a month with the help of donations. When Government allows we will have children’s movies instead of a meal for the social side of our work, eliminating the waste and time of our volunteers in hot meals once a week.
The habitat project is also changing -instead of only helping to repair the homes, especially the roofs, we are trying to clear up the sanitation problem by dealing with one home at a time. It takes a little longer but many people can do the repair themselves if we supply the material so we can expand and move faster. We aim to furnish as many homes as possible with a toilet to stop the open defecation that is happening everywhere in the barrios. The danger of human and animal body waste is a real threat to our drinking water systems. The donations of used toilets in good condition has been remarkable. Who knew there would be so many toilets sitting in storage rooms because they are very difficult to throw away!!!
The health project of supplying potable water to the people is becoming sustainable after a year of business. That has also been a learning curve. The novices that learnt the trade by doing have created a great achievement that meets all the rules of the health department and more. Regardless of rough terrain they deliver the water to the people.
These three mentioned projects will be continued every year as ongoing, along with the education, that with the help of a sponsorship program sends children from first grade up through University to school. Not every student stays that extra mile. In spite of how early they drop out to work, they have that basic knowledge that will carry them through. A project that is the greatest tool against poverty there is. Politicians are taking note of thousands of voters, now with the ability to read and write without whom Government cannot function fairly.
We close the year with a small project, that of a miniature soccer field on an empty lot. Plastic turf and wire fencing, where the Dads play with their children and where stars could be born!
Your help has built a wide open world where anything is now possible. We open our arms to embrace the huge potential of 2022, and wish you the same anticipation that we share. All is good.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!!!
For the Board of Tepehua
Message from Moonie – September 30, 2021
“Hola” from Mexico to all of you who share our belief in the power of education – those who believe that it is only education that will eventually break the stronghold poverty has on so many millions.
Some of you have sponsored children in the past, some will in the present and some will in the future. The world depends on you to help change happen through education of the masses.
Mexico rejoices that the schools are open again. Education around the world has had a strangle hold on it due to the pandemic. It has been so hard for most of the students to keep up with their studies, as not all are living in home environments that encourage study. Many households also have no computer, so all are starting with unfair points on their report cards. We sincerely hope School Board members take this into account and judge by the child’s history and not 2020.
As we know the only weapon against poverty, corruption and injustice is education, and Tepehua stands witness that it works. Once ignored by the local politicians, Tepehua has become a barrio to be reckoned with as a village of 7,000 votes instead of 7,000 people living below the poverty line who couldn’t sign their name on a ballot sheet. New roads, repaired major artery roads, new solar lights, telephone wires and more electricity available, new home based tiendas, a bus route and police patrol, all are happening now in Tepehua. The change has come because of the last ten year effort of bringing education to the masses, because of your support the change happened. Be proud! We are!
The Tepehua Education team are getting re-organized for future semesters and have plans ready. If a student is lucky enough to get a sponsor, the sponsor will get reports every semester on their student. You can get as close to your student as you wish or stay anonymous but either way you will still get information on the grades. We apologize for being tardy with that in 2019 due to re-organizing, then came 2020…no chance to finish!
The costs of students are as follows: Two semesters per year.
Kindergarten. Per semester =1,950 pesos
Primerio. 1,255 pesos
Secondario 1,700 pesos
Preparatory 2,490 pesos
Technical 5,000 pesos
Conulep 2,900 pesos
These prices may differ a little.
The school system here states that it is free, education is the Government pays the teachers. But the burden of registration, books, boots, birth certificates are mandatory and the cost out of reach. the reach of the very people who need it the most. The opportunity to learn is a child’s right.
We Thank you for your past support, and hopefully your future support. If there is further information you need please contact Moonie and she will put you in the right direction.
For this semester we have 17 students going for further education, are we ever proud!? You bet we are! Some may come back and stay to make leaders of the village, and others will leave, where-ever they go the world will be a better place. We have a waiting list of bright eyed brains hoping for the dream…please help us make it happen.
For the Board of Tepehua and a brand New World!
Drop off for the blankets as always is the Tepehua Treasures store in Riberas. (Between It’s Kinda Bazaar and Zona Fitness) Hours are Tuesday through Friday noon until three. If this doesn’t work for you, e-mail Moonie, email@example.com.
Message from Moonie-October 15 2020
The year 2020 started off with the same problems as 2019 and the year before that, except in 2020 a pandemic was thrown in to see if anyone was awake. There was a brief pause as we surveyed the chaos.
We reviewed the needs of the Tepehua Community and because of Covid-19 restrictions had to look at the problems from a different angle. Our priorities changed. As labor, schools, stores, everything we took for granted closed down, people realized they were in trouble. It especially hit the poor in the barrios whose very survival existed on casual labor. Our Tepehua team realized we have been facing the same problems for fifteen years. Hunger, lack of potable water, education, sanitation and affordable health care. Time to fix it.
Affordable dental and health care became sustainable for the people by charging affordable prices in the Tepehua Clinic. All through the pandemic our medical unit has been open as an essential service. Donations are needed to keep things stocked on the pharmacy shelves especially in pediatric medicine.
We had our first suspected Covid-19 case and we are awaiting the test results. The clinic was immediately closed down for the rest of the day to be sterilized. The Tepehua medical volunteers acted swiftly and professionally. We are really proud of our volunteer doctors and nurses and those volunteers in the pharmacy.
The village of San Pedro, East of Chapala is in dire need of our help as they have a renal failure epidemic because of lack of potable water. They also have dengue fever, which should start easing up, the rainy season is at an end. Unfortunately they have several cases of Covid-19 with two people on oxygen. Without testing we cannot be sure what they are dying from at an average of one to three a day. This is particularly worrisome as all the villages are connected by bus, and not all the bus users wear a mask. . First respondents desperately need disposable gowns and masks as well as hair restraints like hats or shower caps.
Since March we closed down the food program as a social each week, and started despensas of food every Friday, making packages of basic foods for over 200 people or more every week, with the help of the private sector donations and local Rotary Clubs. The donations ran out and the service was recently dropped. We would like to restart, but so many other emergency priorities have taken its place.
Water. This is an essential too, but the Tepehua team has found a way to help in their corner of the world. The government will not be cleaning wells or controlling the spiraling water and milk prices any time soon. To combat the kidney disease that is killing so many barrio people, with the help of Rotary donations a program was set up to provide FREE water to those at risk, such as lactating mothers and pregnant women and as many others we could service. That program also had to come to an end when the money ran out. We have made it sustainable now with help from Rotary International we put in our own distribution center using reverse osmosis. A unit that can produce 300 garrafons daily. The water will be sold to local people (and other organizations that are helping local barrios) at a cheap affordable, controlled price.
Sustainability is so incredibly important and although charity is meant to put people back on their feet, it is not supposed to take away their independence…as the man said “….teach them how to fish.” Customers for the water must pay the cost it will take to maintain the station. A survey showed they are happy to do this for a constant supply of potable water. Thanks to Rotary International we were able to attach the reverse osmosis to solar panels for cheaper electricity which will help us keep the cost of the water down. Solar electricity was donated to us a few years ago…again thanks to the support of Rotary. We need donations for this program to purchase the garrafons to start the program Once a client has a garrafon (which will be free), to get a refill they must bring it with them.
In all this time the private sector was very supportive with donations and we were able to cover hidden costs all these projects presented to us… plus help the local women who needed special help financially through domestic disasters of one kind or another, especially medical help with pharmaceuticals or the bus to the local hospitals.
Education. We are always be looking for individual sponsors for young stars who need further education such as medical, lawyers, astronauts, all dreams are welcome. Especially to help pay to get the very young into the school system. Without money for registration, uniforms and books, education is denied to many. Schools are still closed at this time due to Covid-19. Meanwhile, for the few with access to computers education is still possible.
We urge you to help medical units like ours, or Poco a Poco, or the maternal health unit that is now branching out to family planning once again. Women in poverty are painfully aware they have to limit the family size if they are to survive the next few years. This program is free for any women who comes to the door. This is no longer just a case of “freedom of choice”, it is a necessity.
Please be vigilant. You are responsible for your life and those around you. As world leaders have found out, Covid-19 is affecting everyone, no matter their status. Please be your brothers keeper.
Yours in Rotary for the Tepehua Board
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President of the Board Moonyeen King writes an article about Tepehua monthly for the newspaper El Ojo del Lago. All of these articles are archived here.