Carol and Mike Mager are folks we’re blessed to call friends. When we met we learned we had many friends and interests in common including that they vacationed at Chris’s brother’s resort. Over the years Carol worked for both Chris and I and Mike helped us with computer issues. Creating multiple bonds of friendship it was delightful when during our first year in La Cruz they emailed saying they’d like to come and spend five weeks in our little village… trying something that wasn’t a resort like they were used to. That was February 2010 and they’ve returned for as long as five months but have now settled on three months a year – January to March.
Usually driving here, they enjoy having a car to show their visitors the things they love in the area. From Richmond, BC, Canada, they explained, “We love getting away from damp dreary days on the West Coast! We love the weather, the friends we have made, the much slower pace of life and a break from responsibilities at home.”
They enjoy the music in La Cruz and try to go to a few concerts or performances each year. “To date Duende is our favourite!” As in their northern home, Carol and Mike enjoy cooking here, “We take advantage of the fresh seafood market that is so close.” Seared tuna and garlic shrimp are our favourites and Carol makes a “mean” Vera Cruz style plate with Perico. Chicken fajitas and arrachera are next on their list of faves.
Venturing out to Tacos on the Street tops the list for them and their visitors who often want to return! They also enjoy Octopus Garden, Masala, La Peska, and Falconi’s.
Giving to other is in their genes and they’ve become involved with the Familias de la Esperanza (Families of Hope) working with children and families who live in shanties near the old Puerto Vallarta dump.
The organizations priorities are health, education and nutrition and they have been active since 1996. Familias de la Esperanza has a child sponsorship program, which ensures that the poorest of the poor have the funds necessary to clothe and provide schools supplies for the “free” education that is mandated in México. They also provide meals for up to 150 children twice a day, daycare for little ones who are not school age, homework and after school care and clubs to keep the children focused on education.
Friends from home worked with this ministry in Mazatlán and helped Carol and Mike connect here in Vallarta. Carol does some report writing, other communications, and greets visitors in the storefront at the Paradise Mall in Nuevo Vallarta, encouraging visitors to go on tours of the facility to better see the work that is being done. Mike has created a database to ensure that each child who is sponsored has a current record of the school they attend, family, sponsorship, and clothing sizes. For more information about this organization see the website www.familiasdelaesperanza.org
Speaking “poquito Español” the quality of English in La Cruz has improved and has certainly made life easier for Carol and Mike but they aren’t as motivated to learn Spanish now. “We can ask simple questions and follow basic directions so we get by. Google translate also helps!”
Their favorite quote? “We are fortunate to have “family who are friends and friends who are family.”
If they had a magic wand, they’d wish for the future of La Cruz “We hope that La Cruz never becomes too big or too commercial. One of the best things about living here each winter is that it’s still a small fishing village. The streets are cobblestoned and uneven; the locals work hard and live outside much of the time. There is no doubt that we are in Mexico when we are here! Those are some of the reasons we keep returning!”