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IFC Invites you In John Warren

John Warren is in charge of Publicity for the International Friendship Club (IFC). His articles describe the programs and charities that IFC supports, the sources of income of IFC and the social experiences, lectures and classes that members can enjoy. During the summer John writes about Puerto Vallarta.

Against all odds


his lovely young lady is Geydy Bautista Díaz. She comes from an indigenous community in Jalisco’s Sierra Madre mountains where the poverty rate is three times higher than that of the non-indigenous population and where over one third of the children between the ages of six and fifteen work. Geydy, however, is in her fourth year of university in Tepic where she is studying logistics engineering and holds a 9.6 GPA. Amazing! Geydy and four other Huichol university students, named Isaías, Aquileo, Ángel and Herminio, recently received scholarships of $5,000 pesos each from the Huichol Scholarship Fund of the International Friendship Club (IFC) in Puerto Vallarta, to help support them in their university and college studies. The others are studying forest engineering, electromechanical engineering, financial administration and law. How these five students beat the odds and arrived at this point in their lives is a mystery that your humble scribe plans to unravel in the future.The Huichol, or Wixarika, like other Indigenous peoples in Mexico, are very poor. Their home communities in the mountains have

worse living conditions, educational and social services than those enjoyed by other Mexicans; and that’s saying something! Marriages are arranged by the parents when the children are very young. Huichol usually marry between the ages of fourteen and seventeen. Extended Huichol families live together in rancho settlements, consisting of individual houses built of stone or adobe and thatched with grass and each settlement has a communal kitchen and the family shrine, called a xiriki, which is dedicated to the ancestors of the rancho. The buildings surround a central patio. It’s a very simple and rural life. World-wide, Indigenous students face greater barriers to entering and completing college and university programs than others because they are poorer, tend to have access to inferior primary and secondary education, face more pressure to leave school and work, must leave isolated home communities to attend university in a culturally different community, and are required to study in a second language. So how does someone like Geydy or Isaías wind up studying logistic engineering and forestry engineering? It must take a huge amount of dedication and foresight to do that.

Brian McDougall, who is the IFC member driving this program, was asked why do these students want to change their lives so drastically? His answer is “I can’t answer that question for the five HSF students. However, based on a decade of work with indigenous students in Canada, I can tell you that a higher proportion of them, compared with non-indigenous students, are motivated by social concerns, instead of being focused solely on personal advancement. They often have ideas about how they can contribute to the survival and advancement of their communities. One of the five recipients, Isaias, asked for the names of the other recipients because he viewed them as potential members of a team who could cooperate to advance their communities. That’s a pretty good indicator of the mind-set many of these students will have.” In the future we hope to find out what role the university trained Huichol students are playing in their communities once they graduate. More specifically, what role do they play in defending the Huichol nation from the many threats it faces including resource extraction projects on their lands, ongoing disputes about their land with governments, companies and local ranchers, increasing presence of drug cartels in their territory and the loss of community members to cities because of a lack of employment opportunities. IFC’s mandate includes the enhancement of educational opportunities and these Huichol scholarships certainly fit into that goal. The success of helping these five young Huichol adults is possible only by the cooperation between IFC, Volcanes Community Project, Rotary Club Sur, all from Puerto Vallarta, and the Wixarika Research Centre in San Diego. More information on the Huichol Indians and the IFC Scholarship Fund and a discussion of the paradox in our expat community, where we experience the omnipresence of Huichol art and symbols, but know little about their history or current circumstances. This will be presented by Brian McDougall at IFC on 24th January. See http:// . If you would like to contribute to this scholarship program please follow this link and click “Donate to IFC Scholarship Fund”. You will be doing nothing less than changing a life and, maybe, a community. It will help a poor but gifted student beat the odds and make a difference to their world.

Dec. 27, 2018 - Jan 2, 2019

SPCA of Puerto Vallarta


ue to the holiday, we will not have a tour on Tuesday, January 1. We will get back on schedule for regularly scheduled tours beginning Thursday, January 3. If you are interested in visiting us at the sanctuary, our tours are each Tuesday and Thursday during high season. To reserve a spot on a tour, contact us at We appreciate any donations you can bring for our rescues and if going to the sanctuary, please feel free to bring treats for the staff as they truly appreciate it. Those items we ALWAYS need include: collars, harnesses and leashes; toys and more toys! both stuffed and hard plastic (no soft plastic as they can chew off pieces and swallow); large towels; blankets; sweaters and coats; post-surgical cones (both the cone shaped and donut inflatable ones). Our rescues are now fed a total raw diet so

please refrain from bringing any dog food or treats. The mission of SPCA de PV is to help fund and promote sterilization, adoption and healthcare efforts for companion animals in the Puerto Vallarta area, with the goal of eliminating the euthanasia of healthy and adoptable animals. To make donations via PayPal, select the “Donate” option on our Facebook page www.facebook. com/spcapv or on our website at You can drop off any donations for the SPCA at Hacienda San Angel located at Calle Miramar 336, above Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in El Centro. Get involved…rescue, adopt, foster, volunteer, donate or educate. You can learn more about the SPCA Puerto Vallarta by checking us out at or on Facebook.



his sweetheart has had a rough early start in life as evidenced by her scars. Dancer is between 1.5 and 2 years of age, a Labrador mix currently weighing almost 40 pounds. She is a survivor of distemper, which has left her with a slight tic in her back leg. But for all her early suffering, she has blossomed into a wonderfully sweet and loving companion animal. Dancer has a medium high energy level and is very playful

enjoying her canine friends. She is even okay with cats. But mostly she relishes any attention she gets from her people. This special girl has been spayed, dewormed and vaccinated and we are now looking for the most perfect home that will appreciate such a survivor. If you can look beyond her blemishes and would love to provide her a safe and loving forever home, contact us at for an application to adopt Dancer.

Profile for Vallarta Tribune

Issue 1134, December 27 - January 2 , 2018  

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico The Vallarta Tribune is the longest running free English language newspaper in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We publish w...

Issue 1134, December 27 - January 2 , 2018  

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico The Vallarta Tribune is the longest running free English language newspaper in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We publish w...