Woke up: Zihuatanejo, Michoacan, Mexico
Went to sleep: Zihuatanejo, Michoacan, Mexico
Zihuatanejo 2015 Sail Fest
Part of our motivation to be in Zihuatanejo by February was to participate in the 14th annual “Z-Fest”, or Zihuatanejo Sail Fest. We had heard of this event from other cruisers along the way and thought it might be fun.
This annual fund raising event, which begins each year the Monday after the Super Bowl Sunday, has achieved international notoriety. Sail boats from Canada, the U.S., Europe and Central American flock to Zihuatanejo Bay early in November to begin preparation for the February event.
Of course, we had no idea what to expect but we came away quite impressed with the organization of and motivation for the festival.
On Monday, participants were welcomed at a Welcome Dance Party. On Tuesday they held a Live Auction. All of the items auctioned were donated by local businesses. On Wednesday, they organized a sail boat race with over 20 boats participating. Spectators “bet on” their favored boat to win. That evening, a benefit concert featured four popular local bands who again volunteered their time and talent.
On Thursday, I jumped on the bus for a school tour. This is where I came to understand the work that is being done by Sail Fest through its partner, Por Los Ninos (For the Children). Read more at www.porlosninos.com
Por Los Ninos is a Mexican non-profit dedicated to the improvement of education for rural indigenous Mexican children. One hundred percent of money raised by Sail Fest goes to Por Los Ninos, which is administered entirely by volunteers.
Prior to the work of the non-profit, thousands of rural children were attending school in ramshackle classrooms constructed by their parents from scrap wood and tar paper, if they had school available at all.
Por Los Ninos works with the local neighborhood. The parents of the children are required to prepare a line item budget for the project. This helps them to understand the enormity of the undertaking. The community is also required to commit a specified number of volunteer hours to help with construction. The Mexican government is fully on-board, therefore, permits and certification of the school is expedited. Por Los Ninos has attracted local construction trades to donate their services. For example, a local concrete company pours all the concrete for free and a building supply company donates the materials at cost.
Since 2002, the organization has raised over 6,000,000 pesos through Sail Fest, grants and private donations. Along with community involvement, this has enabled them to build 70 classrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and playgrounds at 24 schools.
Lorenzo Marbut, Administrator of Por Los Ninos, explained the hierarchy of projects: classrooms first, bathrooms second, cafeteria third, playground fourth and if there is money left, they build a fence around the whole thing. Seeing the accomplishments of Por Los Ninos and Sail Fest made me want to participate more fully next year.
Peter has a pet. We have a crab living in one of Penelope’s through hulls. Peter named him Crab. Each morning and evening Peter checks on him, talks with him and tries to get a picture. Apparently, Crab is very shy.