— from Betsy Amy-Vogt of Hekab Be Library
We have had a lot of changes recently at Hekab Be Biblioteca. In case you’ve never noticed us, we are the Akumal library and community center located opposite the first parking lot on the entrance road. Hekab Be means ‘Open Road’ in Maya, and that is what we aim to provide – – an open road for the children of Akumal to progress toward a better future. As well as providing free after-school classes for children, we are open to the entire community of Akumal and offer a place to get out of the sun (we have free Wi-Fi!) and a large selection of books for children and adults in both English and Spanish.
Our long-term director, Emilia May, left last December, to be replaced by Kaori Sueki of Akumal. We are also welcoming Elizabeth Bautista as library administrator. She is in the library from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily and enjoys practicing her English, so stop by and say hello!
There have also been some changes in the US non-profit Board of Directors, with Nicky Lawson, David Kustra, and myself, Betsy Amy-Vogt, replacing members who have stepped down. Emilia is will continue to be involved with the library — she’s been involved since the very beginning. Jake ‘Klone’ has also stepped down as an employee, but will still be involved in art classes and special projects for the children.
Hekab Be is blessed to have a core group of dedicated volunteers and donors, but many long-time supporters have recently moved out of Akumal so we really need more hands to help. If you are interested in becoming part of the Hekab Be volunteer team, please email via the Hekab Be Facebook page or just stop by and chat with Kaori and Ely anytime during opening hours: Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. We have opportunities for teaching the children, assisting Elizabeth with the book collection and office administration, and we’d love a volunteer who would be willing to help out with simple repairs and maintenance project.
One wonderful project completed in January was clearing the empty lot in front of the library, and re-painting the building façade to be more visible from the road. Taking charge of this was Agustin, a traveling artist who has painted murals with school children in communities throughout Mexico, Central, and South America. The finished work is a collaborative work of art painted by Agustin and the children in a true group project. The mural is not only a beautiful addition to the library, but was a fun and educational project for the kids. Thanks Agustin!
On our wish list for 2018 is to complete the renovation of the classrooms, clear, clean and repair our current bodega as a room for community use, and separate the current single bathroom into one for girls and one for boys. Last year we were able to install new doors and front windows for the classrooms thanks to a donation from a group of visitors from the Hard Rock Hotel, but the rear windows are still the older style wooden shutters that do not do a good job of keeping the rain and dust out, some of the older concrete is starting to crack and flake, and the walls need a new coat of paint.
Projects for February include starting a garden for the children to learn about growing vegetables, finishing sorting through the books, and cleaning and re-painting our third classroom for use as a community meeting room.
On February 17th we have scheduled an art show and book sale at the library. We are hoping to have as many local artists as possible join us for this event. Cost will be $100 mx per space, with 100% of funds raised going directly to support Hekab Be. Artists will be able to show and sell their work. We welcome everyone who creates hand-made, original works of art whether they are life-size portraits or artisan bars of soap. Please contact us via the Facebook group (see above) to reserve your space.
If you would like to donate to help out with these projects, you can make a US tax-deductible donation via PayPal via the Hekab Be website. We also have wish lists for supplies and activities, so please help out if you can. Our funds are currently at the lowest they have been for several years, so even a $5 or $10 donation will go a long way to help. Thank you!