Monthly Archives: November 2011

Pain, Perspective and Pardon

Yesterday, following my post about the lamentable situation at the Merida English Language Library, I received many positive comments and emails. I also received a few from those who worry this will fracture our community,

The members of the library placed their trust in the Board, and we expected them to act in our Library’s best interests. Now that the trust has been broken by ONE of them, it is understandable that we as a collective unit will look for a place to lay blame.

But, we need to remember that MELL’s Board are all VOLUNTEERS. In good faith, they stepped up to the plate and offered their time to serve as officers.

Think too of the Library’s volunteers who are not on the Board… those selfless people who show up every time they are supposed to, and work hard at keeping the Library running smoothly.

All these people work free of charge for us. They are between a rock and a hard place and I believe they deserve all our support.

Anyone who has served in a voluntary position of any organization knows how frustrating and thankless that job can be. You put in your best efforts and often your reward is criticism. But you feel a sense of camaraderie with your fellow Board members and you accept the slights because you feel you are doing a good thing…

When your trust in one of your comrades is broken, and you discover you have been duped, you feel terrible and you accept the blame. You are ready to take the rap. But there is no need for that.

We need to remember that the fraud was committed by ONE person. That person was on MELL’s Board. He has accepted responsibility and is looking for a way to repair the damage he caused. He did a stupid thing – indeed he did. But by carrying a grudge, we will only succeed in making our own lives harder. Actually many of MELL’s volunteers and members feel compassion for our betrayer’s weakness… I do too, and can’t help but think, “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

For about a year and a half, there has been disaccord in the international community. Many of us have felt confused and hurt by the actions and accusations of a person with an axe to grind. And now… we have the MELL situation to contend with… Already I have heard some ask, “What is happening to our little place in paradise?”

But stop and think… paradise doesn’t come without a price. I believe the international community, as a whole, has an opportunity here. We have an opportunity to be better than we think we are. We have the opportunity to show that we do not have to resort to gossip and name calling. We can lick our wounds and move on…

Next week we will celebrate Thanksgiving and we do all have so much to be thankful for… let’s reflect on that and remember:

“This too shall pass.”

*** Read Mitch Keenan’s letter in the Comments section of yesterday’s post

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Merida English Language Library

‘Want a good beach book? Do you have a question that has you stymied or has your computer fizzled out and you need to check your email… There’s a one-stop place in Merida where all this can be taken care of…

The Merida English Language Library (MELL) is the international community’s “Command Central.” Modeled after the traditional neighborhood libraries, it’s where many newcomers to Merida meet their first friends, and those who have been here for a while are able to keep up with what’s going on in our community. It has an informal and relaxed atmosphere, very much in keeping with the tempo of the city we live in.

MELL has a collection of 17,000 volumes, ranging from bestselling novels to research tomes on Maya History. The      reading room and the internet are two well-used services at the library.  Newspapers and magazines, DVDs and audio books are some of the other story formats MELL provides.

Once a month, the volunteers host “MELLO Nights,” a cash bar cocktail party where many of us have begun excellent friendships. Several English-language AA meetings are held at the library each week. Other groups such as very popular Book Group and the newly formed Writers’ Circle also use the library as their meeting place.

Talks by special speakers are featured on Saturday mornings, and the MELL sponsored weekly home tours are popular with tourists and locals alike.

The Library is staffed by dedicated volunteers and supported by low annual membership dues. Fund raising events like the Chili Cook Off are held to raise funds. It takes a lot of selfless effort to keep the library afloat… and sometimes even that is not enough.

All individuals and organizations are targets for foul play, and apparently, MELL has been victimized by an opportunist.  Library Operations Committee member Lorna Gail Dalin has offered to be on hand every Friday morning to speak with concerned members about this.

Yes, our library is in a jam. It seems there is no longer the cash reserve that was thought to exist. All concerned are working hard to resolve the predicament. It is in our best interest to not lend ourselves to rumor or hearsay.

MELL needs an influx of money to carry on and to do the upgrading and improvements it has planned. It seems to me that bemoaning our fate is not the solution – pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps (or sandal straps) is the more effective move. The season of giving is right around the corner.  At this time of year, many organizations appeal to their friends for donations.  Lorna Gail tells me that if every member could find it in their hearts to give 500 pesos, the problem would be resolved…  Jorge and I will be taking our contribution over to MELL, and I hope there will be many others who do likewise.

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Poor form…

Let me tell you a little story… it may not be one that will make friends and influence people but it’s heartfelt. I hope you’ll read read through to the end…

Governor Ivonne Ortega wrote a comment on my blog. She said she liked it and she hoped others would appreciate it. She made me feel good about myself… After all, she IS the governor, the maximum authority in our state. I decided to write a comment on her blog (that’s what bloggers do…  write on mine… I write on yours.) When I went online and typed “Ivonne Ortega” into the search box, I felt ashamed…

To see the vilification, disregard, insults, and slander made me ill. I am NOT a Pri-ista. My politics support the         candidate, not the party. Ms. Ortega needed to belong to a party to get elected… she had an agenda… she did what she had to do. And she’s not the first.

Ana Rosa Payan, another loyal-to-her-principals female politician has more in common with Ivonne Ortega than either suspect. They are both TOO smart and you know what… no one can handle a smart, gutsy woman.

Just do a Google search for women who have won prestigious awards, who have excelled in their professions, who have proven their worth in any field. You’ll find twenty men listed for every woman. It is the way of the world…

Ms. Payan and Governor Ortega (they have opposite political loyalties) have touched people not just bankers, clergy and pseudo-intellectuals. Look at the pictures… I don’t know about you, but I see appreciation and respect in the eyes of those everyday people being embraced by Ms. Ortega and Ms. Payan. I know the detractors will say those pictures were specially selected – of course they were! Is the picture you have on your piano top your least flattering?

The things that have been written about both these women are vulgar. If there’s one thing that demeans a person, it is bad taste and poor form. Could it be that much of the disregard for these women has it’s origin in… ahem… social background? Who are these usurping women… they who come from humble roots and presume to lead?

We complain there is no leadership. We say we have no role models… could that be because our brains are mired in “the good old days” and our heads are stuck in the sand?

I am not saying one cannot make their political or personal views known, but making comments about a public figure’s     family background, physical attributes and so on are not necessary. I know this too is the way of the world, but that doesn’t make it right.

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