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Valley Presbyterian Church
945 Portola Road - Portola Valley, CA 94028

Tekax 2012 Trip Information

This page is for us by those traveling to Tekax in Feb 2012 for the second LWW follow-up trip.

Health Topics

The CDC website and your doctor must to be the ultimate authority on what you need (in the way of immunizations) to travel to the Yucatán:  http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/, as I cannot give that advice to any of you. 

For us, it was recommended that we be up to date on our tetanus and have the typically advised immunizations:  the annual flu shot and the age-based inoculations for shingles (over 60) and pneumonia (over 65).  Prior to the first trip, we were encouraged to get a Hepatitis A vaccination, and we did that and are still immune.

Water and food are always a concern when visiting Mexico both in Merida and Tekax.  Your health is not only a concern to you - it affects the trip experience for the others on the trip with you.  If you get sick, it will disrupt the trip for all of us (finding you a doctor, getting you to a hospital or home early).  No one been ill on a Tekax trip since the first 2.  We have learned from our experiences.  Here are our rules:

  • Never drink water from the tap.  We insist that everyone drink bottled water from a sealed, purchased bottle, or get their water from the church's LWW supply (they have a 5-gal dispenser at the church for refilling water bottles.  Please bring your own water bottle for this purpose (or you can refill a plastic bottle if you're comfortable with that). 
  • Avoid getting water in your mouth when showering, and use bottled water for brushing your teeth. 
  • Never use ice in your drinks (you can't be sure that it's from a safe source)
  • In Tekax, our hermanas from Monte de Sión will cook all our meals.  They know how to cook for us.  We do not eat anywhere else in Tekax.  In Merida, we eat at restaurants (lunch and dinner on our last day, Monday).
  • Avoid fresh vegetables (they probably have been rinsed in tap water).  Only eat cooked vegetables. 
  • Do not eat "street food".
  • In Tekax, do not swim in the hotel pool, if it is filled.  The hotel pool at the Gobernador seems to be safe and could be used on the last day, if you wish.
  • Do not try to clean your bathroom at the Hotel Peraza.  We have found that the germs don't seem to like to be disturbed.  If you don't bother them, they won't bother you.  (Seriously, the bathrooms have been remodeled since our first trips and appear cleaner than before.)
  • Bring along some traveler's diarrhea medication such as immodium, and if you're worried about a more severe case, have your doctor write you a prescription for Cipro and fill it before leaving.  Some of us plan to bring some Cipro with us for an emergency.  It should only be used for a severe illness.

Social Topics

  • Never put toilet paper into the toilet.  Plumbing is bad, and the toilet may overflow.  There is always a trash can next to the toilet for paper.
  • Out of deference to our hosts, we do not drink alcohol while in Tekax.
  • We dress modestly.  If it is hot, men and women can wear shorts, but we try not to wear them too short.  If it is not hot, jeans or crops are preferable.  Skirts are fine, and we used to encourage skirts/dresses for the church service (Saturday night), but recently we noticed that our hermanas wore pants to church, so we can too.
  • You may want to bring a Bible to follow along during the church service.

 

What to take

  • Clothing
  • Casual clothes, jeans, lightweight pants, shirts/t-shirts that you'll be comfortable in when temperatures are around 80.  We will not be doing any work, so no need for work clothes.  We will not be dressing up, so no need for fancy clothes.  The dressiest we'll be will be in church, and perhaps at dinner the last night in Merida.
  • Sandals if you like
  • Hat (for the sun)
  • Sunscreen, bug repellent
  • Women - scarf or wrap for cool evenings
  • Flip flops for the shower
  • Washcloths, if you use them
  • Baggies to put wet/damp things into
  • Old towel or grocery bags for the floor after shower
  • Extra towel (theirs are a bit thin, but better than they used to be)
  • Bible, if you have a lightweight one

 

Other things to bring

  • Snacks to share in the airport or in the evenings
  • Water bottle
  • Note cards to leave thank you notes
  • Water bottle
  • Medicines, bandaids (blisters, cuts)

 

Money topics

  • The exchange rate is about 13.5 pesos to the dollar.  There is always a fee to convert cash, and banks charge a foreign transaction fee as well (on ATM withdrawals and credit cards too).
  • Bring a credit card, and notify your credit card company that you will be in Mexico
  • Bring your ATM card (make sure you have a 4 digit PIN), and notify your bank that you will be in Mexico
  • Bring some USD, various bills, including 1's and 5's.  This comes in handy in case you run out of pesos and need to tip housekeeping, etc.
  • You will be responsible for paying for the Hotel Gobernador in Merida on your own.  It will be 660 pesos per room.
  • Please get pesos in Merida so you can give me 1000 pesos when we leave Merida to pay for the Peraza.  I need to return the deposit that the church made for us (4200 pesos).
  • Other things you will need cash for are lunch and dinner in Merida, breakfast at the airport, and any souvenirs that you may want to buy.

 

Trip Schedule

 

The exact daily schedule for our time in Tekax will be up in the air until we coordinate with our friends there.  However, we have several things we must accomplish and several things we'd like to accomplish, and not every activity requires every person:

 

  • We must examine the water system and look at the maintenance logs.  They must run through a production cycle for us.  We must watch the bottling process.  They have told us that they want to do some of the system maintenance activities while we are there.
  • They must present their business result to us.  Last year they put together a Powerpoint presentation for us, and they are doing that again.
  • They must describe any Health/Hygiene training that they accomplished last year.
  • We wish to hold a Health/Hygiene training at the church for the kids (ages 5-12).  We think we might do this in place of their Sunday School time (Sunday morning, around 9 or 10).  Alternatively, we might do this Saturday.
  • We want to visit Marlene's English school where she teaches English to the kids (as an after school program).  We were thinking of doing a Health/Hygiene module at the school with them, in English.
  • We want to visit several homes of the people of the church.  These social visits give us, the Americans, the wonderful experience of better understanding how (at least "where") the people in Tekax live, and the people we visit seem honored to have us there.  The people we visit don't speak English, so Dee and Sam will lead these groups and translate for us.
  • We want to make sure our new travelers have an opportunity to see as much of the area as possible.  We will ask if Miguel is available to take us to his furniture factory and his farm/orchard and perhaps to the local ruins and caves, if we have time.

 

Here is a tentative and sparse schedule:

Wednesday, Feb 1

 

Meet at the SFO United Ticket Counter at 8:30 AM (except for Sam and Dee) with your passport. We are ticketed individually, but let's try to check in at the same time in case we need to rebalance things in any checked luggage (such as the toothbrushes and toothpaste we are taking for the kids).  We will fly to Houston, where we'll meet up with Sam and Dee.  We have about 2 hours between our flights, and we can grab a quick bite in Houston.  It looks like there is no food on our flight to Merida, and it will be too late to eat once we get there, so please eat before the flight.

 

We arrive in Merida around 9:20.  After going through immigration, there will be a red light / green light exercise to determine which bags will be opened.  At the airport, we will arrange 3 cabs to take us to the Hotel Gobernador.  I will pay for this and other normal ground transportation from the Mission account.

 

Gian has reserved our rooms using his credit card, but when checking in, each "room" should give their own credit card.  This will be your expense.  Please notify your credit card company that you will be traveling in Mexico for this time.

 

Thursday, Feb 2

 

Breakfast is included in the room charge.  Miguel and others will be in Merida around 10 to collect us, but he is usually early, so we should meet in the lobby with our luggage by 9:30. I will ask Miguel to give us time to visit an ATM/bank so we can each get some pesos.

 

**Please** I need each "single" person to give me 1000 pesos  (and each couple to give me 1200 pesos) to pay for our rooms at the Peraza. I want to reimburse the Tekax church account the 50% deposit they made for us as soon as we arrive in Tekax.  Please notify your bank that you will be in Mexico for this time.

We will be driven in 3 cars by our Monte de Sión hermanos to Tekax.  The trip will take less than 2 hours.  They will drop us at the Hotel Peraza where we'll check in, freshen up, and walk to the church for lunch (prepared by the women of the church).  The afternoon will consist of greeting our friends, introducing the newbies, and discussing the schedule for the remainder of the visit. 

 

At some point we will return to the Peraza to unpack and rest (if you want).  We will return to the church for dinner.

 

Evening: TBD, but we may ask them to give us the business status and talk about health training

 

**Each evening, after we return from the church (or other evening activities) we well meet at the Peraza for 30-60 minutes of devotion, debrief, and sharing from the day, and coordination of the next day's activites.  This is an important component of our mission trip.  I will nominally schedule this for each evening between 9 and 10.

 

Friday, Feb 3

8:00 Breakfast at the church

They will probably demonstrate the system operation and do their system maintenance this day

Lunch at the church

We will try to visit Marlene's school this day.

Social visits

Evening: TBD

**9-10  Devotion, debrief, and sharing

 

Saturday, Feb 4

8:00 Breakfast at the church

 

Continue system maintenance, if necessary

Lunch at the church

 

Social visits

Dinner at the church

 

Evening (7:30) worship service

**9-10  Devotion, debrief, and sharing

 

 

Sunday, Feb 5

8:00 Breakfast at the church

Hopefully we will do the health training for the kids in the morning at the church

Lunch at the church

Social visits, finish any other activities

Dinner at the church

**9-10  Devotion, debrief, and sharing

 

Monday, Feb 6

8:00 Breakfast at the church

Back to the Peraza to pack and load the luggage

We will be driven back to Merida in 3 cars

Eat lunch on own (or in groups) in Merida and sightseeing.  Dee enjoys leading groups through the museums.  There is shopping too.

 

Dinner as a group somewhere in Merida around 7, including sharing and debrief

 

Tuesday, Feb 7

No breakfast at hotel.  We must be at the airport by 6:30.  Cabs will pick us up at 6AM.

After checking in, there will be time to grab something quick to eat.  Save some pesos for this.

 

 

 

 

 

Tekax picture
 

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