“Magic mirror on the wall, who, now, is the fairest one of all?” asks the Queen in Snow White. When you looked in the mirror this morning, what did you see? A person who is planning a trip to the beach and another day of sloth and indolence with a beer and a book or one who is looking for a new experience and a chance to help people in PV?
We hope it was the latter because the International Friendship Club (IFC) has a deal for you. Every Tuesday and Wednesday morning at 10:30 buses leave the Sea Monkey on the Malecon at Aquiles Serdan and whisk you away to four spectacular homes, artfully decorated (all with mirrors) and built on craggy outcrops above the ocean or tucked away in behind walls that provide privacy and seclusion.
You could find yourself climbing up and down stairs and walking on cobbled streets, so please be careful and wear “sensible” shoes. Our docents are with you to give information, not triage!
Tickets on the luxury buses cost a miserly $600 pesos, which is cheap for most North Americans vacationing in PV, but goes a long, long way when used to buy medical supplies, school supplies or dental treatment for kids. All of the profits of the IFC from the Home Tours go to support these programs and charities.
Tickets are available in advance at www.toursforvallarta.com and at the IFC office (located above HSBC bank on Insurgentes by the river bridge).
Smile If You Still Have Teeth
By John Warren
Have you ever been to a blessing of a medical/dental clinic? Me neither. But I’m planning to do so on Tuesday 5th December and cross that one off my bucket list! If you’d like to come along then catch the bus to Boca de Tomatlan, about 40 minutes south of PV, and join the locals who will be at the new Dental Amistad for the blessing that will take place at noon, Mexican time. Opening ceremonies will take place from 12:30 to 1:00, there will be an open house for a couple of hours and then local dancers and other entertainment will start at 3:30ish.
This is a big deal for the villagers of Boca De Tomatlán and the surrounding coastal villages of Las Animas, Quimixto, Yelapa, Pizota, Mismaloya and Las Juntas/Los Veranios because, until now, they have had to take the bus into Puerto Vallarta for dental check-ups (they didn’t) and to fix that mother of all pains, the toothache.
About five years ago Christina Martell, a long-term resident of Boca De Tomatlán, decided that the children of that village should have regular dental check-ups and treatment available to them. She found a dentist in Puerto Vallarta, Gerardo Mijares Valles, who would provide free services to as many kids as Christina could bring into town on a Thursday afternoon. Christina put the word out in Boca and, very soon, she was transporting ten or a dozen kids in a vehicle designed for six, to the dentist for free check-ups and treatment followed by supper of pizza. The group was usually back in Boca before nightfall and then many of the kids had to make their way back to their coastal homes by the family’s boat or had to trudge back along jungle paths to their village. The International Friendship Club (IFC) has been supporting the student dental outreach program in PV for the last five years with a monthly donation of 2,500 pesos per month and it was such a popular service for parents and the kids that the idea for a medical/dental clinic in Boca was hatched.
Dental Amistad is housed in the new medical building in Boca de Tomatlán that was constructed in 2014-15 through a joint effort of the Sister City Santa Barbara, California, the local Club Rotario Puerto Vallarta Sur, the Ejido de Boca de Tomatlán/Mismaloya, using the SEDISOL 3-1 program of the government of Mexico. The rest of the building is used for new medical offices and has the village’s only ambulance. Again, this is a huge improvement to the health facilities available in the area where medical help has often been hours away.
All dental clinics need some pretty sophisticated and expensive equipment including a dental chair, lights, attachments, dental compressor, autoclave and x-ray machine. Christina tallied up the costs of this equipment and asked the IFC to fund the purchases, which they did. Some of the profits from the IFC Home Tours were used for this purpose.
Dental Amistad will be staffed with volunteer dentists from Puerto Vallarta, supervised by Dr. Francisco Rodrigues, who operates RODGUARD Dental Boutique in Puerto Vallarta, and has generously volunteered to oversee this new community dental effort. All dentists in Puerto Vallarta are being asked to consider donating four hours per month in community service to this important rural effort. What a win-win situation!
Donations of dental supplies, toothbrushes and toothpaste are needed by Dental Amistad to support its community dental outreach efforts in the remote pueblos of Cabo Corrientes. If you would like to donate these supplies, please purchase them and drop them off at the IFC offices located upstairs, above HSBC bank in el Centro at the corner of Insurgentes and Libertad. The office is open Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 1:30.
The major program of the International Friendship Club is its cleft palate program that provides free examination, assessment, surgery and ongoing care to the babies born with cleft palate or cleft lips in and around Puerto Vallarta. It has been doing this since 1986 by running the famous and popular IFC Home Tours. Over the last thirty years the club has grown to over 600 members, about 100 of which volunteer their time to run the Home Tours, liaise with the charities the club supports, deliver lectures, teach bridge and attend Spanish courses and social events. All of the profits are used to support the dental outreach program, the cleft palate program and about 20 other charities in this area. Please check out www.ifcvallarta.com and www.toursforvallarta.com