Dinner with Friends

Mole Poblano

Mexican fiestas are as colorful as a summer garden, and the crowd of joyful dancers, twirling in their billowing skirts, looks like a flock of exotic birds about to take flight. Then suddenly they turn and follow the aroma of spicy foods wafting through the plaza. The culture of Mexico is complex – a mix of indigenous and European customs – that varies as much as the weather.

But despite all the country’s richness, a substantial segment of the population lives in some degree of poverty, and many families have dire needs. This can be a challenging aspect of relocating to Mexico – newcomers want to help, but they feel they don’t understand the culture or language well enough to be effective.

However, they soon discover that the international community has formed a host of non-profits that compliment the efforts of public associations. They all work together to meet the pressing needs of the population. All of these groups welcome volunteers. Several, such as the IWC Scholarship Program, Telchac Education and the Progreso Apoyo Program, help young people with their schooling expenses. As well, there are food banks, homes for seniors, and crisis centers for women and children. Mentoring groups, reading, music and art and animal rights groups also exist, and there is an English-language Rotary Club.

One of the most active groups is Yucatan Giving Outreach (YGO) A.C. This is a registered not-for-profit foundation that supplies essential support and services at many of Yucatan’s orphanages, shelters for the elderly and women, soup kitchens, and rehabilitation centers in Merida and across the state.

As you can imagine, YGO’s efforts bumped up to hyper-drive at the start of the COVID Pandemic. Volunteers collected and distributed tens of thousands of food bags, sanitary products, clothing, and other essential supplies.

YGO also strives to meet the needs of the state’s migrants and displaced persons. Fundraising is a constant challenge, but some out-of-the-box brainstorming gave birth to an innovative and fun idea for bringing in much-needed money.

Dinner with Friends

A score of YGO supporters was contacted and asked to host dinners in their homes. They were further asked to invite friends who were ready to “sing for their supper” by making a cash donation. The proceeds would go to YGO.

Our home was a Dinner with Friends venue – 20 people joined us for “Mole Poblano” – and our friends Susana and Carlos helped us with the cooking and organization for the dinner. Jorge and I have an authentic Mole pot and not many of our guests had ever seen such a huge one!

All ready for our friends

On Saturday, October 15th, the day of the dinners, the weather was what my mother used to call, “iffy”, and just 15 minutes before the guests were due, our power went out! But thankfully, after 10 anxious minutes, the electricity was back on, and light drizzle of rain fizzled out.

Jorge and I had a lot of fun planning and preparing the evening. We served a spicy-chocolate Mole and side dishes of Fried Plantains, Saffron Rice and Guacamole. Wine and Tequila were enjoyed by most guests, and I saw lots of them looking around to see if there might be seconds of the Coconut Pudding dessert. For quite a few of them, this was their first time trying this signature meal from the state of Puebla.

The many fundraising events, parties, and concerts held in Merida and the beach communities are a lot of fun, and it is satisfying to know that spending a pleasant evening helps others. A win-win situation indeed.

Here are a few photos of “Dinner with Friends” at our home. Maybe you’ll join us next year?

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Published by Changes in our Lives

I am originally from Canada but have lived in Mexico since 1976. My husband is from Merida, Yucatan and we raised our family here. We both worked for many years at Tecnologia Turistica Total (TTT), the tourism, language and multimedia college we founded for local and international students. Now retired, we enjoy spending time with family and friends, My other interests include reading, painting, cooking and travel.

11 thoughts on “Dinner with Friends

    1. Thank you for your compliments Alex, but the big heart award goes to the leader of this group, Kimi Suki. She and her husband work so hard to bring in new volunteers and find more donations. They have a true vocation to help others. I find their kindness is contageous, and so do the others who follow Kimi’s call.

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  1. It’s such a good idea and so successful. Well worth all the work which goes into it. It’s wonderful to hear of this community endeavour in a large city. Saturna Island residents hold a large lamb BBQ or roast a pig outdoors on a spit when they need money for a community project. They are a population of about 400. Galiano Island raised $450,000 one summer in the 1990s to purchase land from a logging company for a park – much of it from selling home-made muffins to and accepting donations from tourists on the ferries. Population fewer than 900 in those days. Much, much more difficult to organize in urban areas. Well done, everyone!

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    1. Hello Auntie Alice… yes the “Dinner with Friends” was asuccessful event but really it didn’tinvolve the greater city of Merida. It mostly happened within the modestly sized international residents’ community.

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      1. Yes, I hope I can come for this season. Have to see a dermatologist 01 November and will see from the results of this. I usually fly Westjet but fares have gone through the roof with an increase of 50 percent Aarrgh and boo hiss. Time will tell and missing my Merida friends and cold weather starting here.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. That olla is certainly the real deal and yes, Yucatecans love Mole. Susi and I had so much fun making it… you’d have been in your glory… roasting chiles… shredding vegetables… grinding spices. One of the all-day marathons we love!

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