Our Earth is hurting…earthquakes, tsunami’s, animals falling from the sky and icebergs melting.
Do you ever sit and wonder where it all went wrong? I often wonder who is to blame and I get angry knowing that it was generations before us that started the snowball effect that has led our planet to be in such a state. I too take blame for my generations lack of interest in saving our planet, but proudly say I am an avid recycler, I plant trees and fruit seeds whenever I can (wherever I can!) and I refuse to eat Shrimp or Fish that is not in season (so to discourage poaching).
I take comfort in knowing the little I do really DOES make a difference and if everyone did the same as I (or more) then our planet would not be hurting so much.
March and April has seen much devastation already, with the shocking images we’ve seen come out of Japan.
The earthquake, followed by a huge Tsunami, hit the countries north populations on March 11th. The hardest hit city was Sendai, with the city being literally swept away in just under a few hours. It’s hard to imagine what being there would feel like…I mean, what would be going through the people’s minds? I just can’t imagine it!! What horror!
Well, all we could do was watch it unfold on tv and pray…hoping that those who survived would be rescued and those who did not would be found to give their families peace of mind.
Lela sat patiently, as she also watched it all unfold and so April will be dedicated to Japan. 100% of the donations will go to Japan to help families who have been left homeless and children that have lost their parents. The death toll as of Wednesday has reached a horrific 12,468 with thousands still missing. We hope we can raise a record number for these victims and help them in same way, even if it is by giving them a little hope.
On a lighter note, we’re proud to say we raised a whooping $1722 New Zealand Dollars which went to the Red Cross in Christchurch, NZ to help those who most needed it after the earthquake they went through.
We’ll have some more updates on which group will be used for Japan. There are so many charities helping out there and we want to make sure we pick one that has little, if any, admin costs, so that help is really reached to those who need it.
In the wake of the devastating earthquake which rocked New Zealand’s second largest city, Christchurch is left with the painstaking task of rebuilding a city which was hit hard by the 6.3 earthquake on Tues, 22 Feb, 2011.
Images and video footage of the earthquake bring back memories of the Chilean earthquake, with people looking around, not knowing who to turn to or what to do.
Having lived in New Zealand for a total of three years, it pained me to see the distress this earthquake has caused. Less than six months prior, the same city suffered from another earthquake and the town was only just beginning to rebuild itself and its confidence.
I spent time further south in a city called Dunedin, a gorgeous city, filled with beautiful views, kind people and a port which invites anyone and everyone to visit the charming town. I had been there with my then boyfriend, a New Zealander who had moved to Melbourne for new opportunities. We met, fell in love and it was time to meet his family. When we decided to move to Dunedin, we had left everything behind to start a new life. I had already left home and had also moved to Sydney. My life of adventure was well on its way! Looking for work was easy, I had plenty of hospitality experience, so I joined the team at ‘The Reef Seafood Restaurant’ where I was the supervisor. I grew to love Dunedin. It’s people, it’s streets and even it’s weather (picture Seattle rain and its skies times 10!!).
Well, jump forward a good 13-14 years and that relationship did not work out, although we still stay in touch. I had taken several trips to Christchurch. I am a secret wine buff (oops, secret’s out!) so I enjoyed taking road trips to wineries in and around the Christchurch area. Many of you have probably even tried some of the wines!!
As you can see from the map, there are many wine regions in New Zealand and Christchurch is a popular one in Canterbury.
I still get online and look for photos and video of the earthquake, as I find it hard to believe that many of the places that I have been through are destroyed. Reports indicate that aftershocks are still disrupting many parts of the city, delaying the return of up to 1/3 of its residents.
LELA has chosen Christchurch as her cause for the month of March, and we will be donating 100% of her donations to the Red Cross in Christchurch, as we know they have feet on the ground over there. We’d like to thank all donors as this cause holds a special place in my heart.
For those who are lucky enough to ever get to New Zealand, you’ll get to enjoy the beauty of its people, its food, its cities and its wine, because anyone who goes to New Zealand and DOESN’T try a glass of Sauvignon Blanc should be locked up! 😉
I’d also like to send all our hopes and prayers to victims of the Japan earthquake. We are working towards making Lela in April for Japan, but as our planet cries out for help, we cross our fingers that no more earthquakes shake our world and leave others in need.
Sending our love,
Pamela and all the Dancing Chefs
It’s always an honor to bring you the Lela totals every month. This month, Lela in Mazatlan chose Doctor’s Without Borders as their charity. With plenty of Christmas love, our guests collected a loving $474USD and the money was sent directly to DWB. Salsa and Salsa is always finding new causes and trying to give back to the community. We try to find something current in the news, where the help will really make a difference. So far, we have raised an amazing amount of donations from Lela…a whopping $4941USD!!!
2010 was such a fulfilling year for Lela.
She helped Haiti Victims by helping with medical supplies.
Lela donated to the Red Cross which went towards helping the families of the West Virginia Miners.
Chile received a donation to buy construction material to rebuild their school after the devastating earthquake.
Nashville Flood Victims got a helping hand through Hands on Nashville and Lela put smiles over there.
In June, Lela donated to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure campaign, helping millions of woman fight cancer and raise awareness. 2010 marked the 21st running of the series in D.C. The event raised over $4.5 million and it great to think we were a part of that!
Epilepsy was in the spotlight in July, through a charity named “Danny Did Organization“, an amazing group raising awareness and working on a cure for Epilepsy.
In Cozumel, Lela is on a mission to help start the process of getting a Blood Bank on the island. We’ve extended Lela’s cause in Cozumel for January and February to make more of an impact. For December, little Lela raised an amazing $625USD!!
Happy New Year to you all, and to another promising year for little Lela the Famous Donating Pig.
Wow! I can’t believe it’s taken me THIS long to write to you all about Cozumel!! Things have been a flurry of packing, unpacking, training, uniforms, new people, new friends, great new location, a new dancing chef partner and more!
I want to share all these moments with you all!
Since my departure from Mazatlan, I’ve gone through a whirlwind of changes in my life. From getting married in Vegas (more on that in a later post!), to packing up all my belongings in Mazatlan, to moving into a new place in Cozumel, to starting Salsa and Salsa in a brand new location…not bad for 4 weeks !
Cozumel is a magical place. I arrived late in the afternoon, after leaving Mazatlan at 5am (yep, that’s a 3am alarm clock!) with a stop-over in Mexico City and then Cancun. We caught a 10 minute taxi ride from the airport to our new home, a one bedroom apartment smack-bang in the centre of town, right on the ocean!
Dinner and a bottle of wine…ahhhhh…..Cozumel.
The following day was straight to it, meeting with Cruise people, hotel people and so much more! Our new dancing chef Judy was right there with me, and you’ll all get to meet her soon enough…she’ll also be writing here from time to time 😉
Training for the new Salsa Team was to begin the very next day, so I got right into OLE Mode, with Manuals, Questionaires and more. Training was a hoot! I want to share some pics with you from our training sessions. Our new Salsa Team are a fun, energetic and young team, that have proven to be quick learners and have all the enthusiasm we have looked for in our Dancing Chef culture.
I knew these guys were the “ones” when I rang that little bell for the first time and a roar of “OLE!” came from their smiling faces.
With training complete, we dared to invite hotel guests and friends to a “training show”, so our new team could practise and make perfect. A total success! I’m pleased to share with you the fact that we had nothing but good things said about the training show. Our guests left happy, yelling OLE and smiling and dancing down the stairs.
In the same week, Cozumel was filled with exciting events. Revolution Day (Nov 20th, 2010) surprised us with a glorious parade of young and old alike. We have a cute balcony overlooking the main street in Cozumel, so we happily sat there and watched the kids in their costumes. Here are a few pics of that day. So much color, so much music, and so much happiness – it’s all just so contagious, I love it!!
Iron Man Cozumel 2010 was also upon us here that week, so again, we spent time on the balcony cheering on men and woman who had already gone for the swim and bike portion of the race. The running was the last leg and their run was on the main street of town. I spent 1 hour on the computer and 1 hour on the balcony yelling words of encouragement “Keep on going!”, “Don’t give up!” and to the ladies “YOU GO GIRL!” (I got a few giggles from a few for that one!).
Thursday was our first official show, and we have seen a total of nearly 60 people in 3 days…not bad for a new tour 😉 We know that in a matter of a few weeks, word will spread and the popularity we are so blessed to have in Mazatlan, will quickly follow us here. We’re humbled by all the comments and words of encouragement we receive from guests and friends alike, thank you all.
This has been a challenge…a life changing, exciting and glorious challenge. But we’ve done it!
We’ll have Lela here too – for the first 3 months in Cozumel, Lela will be collecting donations to help build a Blood Bank here on the Island. There is no Blood Bank and locals are required to catch the ferry to Playa del Carmen, then bus it to Cancun…a trip and expense that most locals are unable to afford. With a Blood Bank here on the island, we can hopefully save some lives and make a difference to those who need a helping hand.
Keep an eye on those Lela pictures and reports…it’s going to be exciting to see what she will accomplish here!
Well, I think you are up to date now with Cozumel. We are waiting on Tripadvisor to list us in Cozumel to start our new challenge…we want to get to #1 in Cozumel too! Hehehe. 169 things to do in Cozumel…we may start at the bottom, but by-golly, we’ll get to the top, just you wait and see 😉
Head Chef Leonique made a cameo appearance this week at the Cozumel show…needless to say, we got a good injection of new energy there! Stay tuned for more fun Cozumel news!
Hope you all visit us in Cozumel soon!
Lela does it again. She found some relatives in West Virginia that needed some help! The month of August was dedicated to raising donations for an animal sanctuary named PIGS, A Sanctuary.
We had a lot of fun taking pictures and receiving donations from all our guests. You can find all the pictures for the month of August by <clicking here>.
Founded in 1992, PIGS is a place of refuge for abused, abandoned, neglected and unwanted animals. They specialize in the care of potbellied pigs and farm pigs, but shelter other farm and domestic animals as well. The Sanctuary currently provides a safe haven for approx. 400 animals, including pigs, horses, cats, dogs, goats and many other animals. Considering August was a slow month (our low season) we were pleasantly surprised when we opened little Lela up and found $213USD!! It’s amazing to think we got that from 8 shows!! Thank you to everyone. The folks at PIGS are very grateful for your loving generosity.
September’s Lela cause will be supporting the group SURVIVAL. For more information on the group please visit :
We did it! On Thursday we opened up our donating pig, Lela. Our Monthly ritual of opening little Lela has become an exciting part of our routine. Leonique and I play a guessing game, as to how much Lela has collected for the month. As you know, Lela was collecting for your Danny Did Foundation. Your uncle and Executive Director of the Foundation, Tom Stanton, has been a great help, thanks to him, we were able to make this happen. He sent us an article regarding SUDEP and Epilepsy, which I’m sure you would find interesting.
The NY Times published an article regarding the death of a young teenage boy (he was 19…) due to SUDEP. Just like yourself, he was taken at a young age. The article raises several alarming issues regarding the stigma of SUDEP, how it is considered controversial for a doctor to mention it to his patient unless the patient is a high-risk candidate, as it may ‘burden‘ the patient. Maybe if it was mandatory for doctor’s to mention it and make families aware of the issue, we might find less occurrences. The article is a good read and very informative and we have posted it below. Also, the resources page on the Danny Did website is a great source of information for those who need answers to their questions regarding Epilepsy.
We are doing what we can in raising awareness through social media and through our donations page and we hope that past guests and future guests will continue spreading the word. We hope the little we donate this month will help someone, somewhere and give them a little more hope than they had yesterday 🙂 Your smile gave us courage to speak up and tell people that something needs to be done.
Here is the link to the article on SUDEP : http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/27/health/27epil.html
We are so so happy to say we collected $305USD for the Danny Did Foundation. These donations were made by cruise passengers from the Mariner of the Seas and Carnival Splendor. We had a total of 8 ships this month, so considering the majority of the donations are $1’s or the occasional $5, that’s an amazing accomplishment.
We had so many passengers come up to us and shake our hands, telling us they had a brother, or sister, or friend with Epilepsy and that raising awareness was so so important. So thank you Danny…thank you for giving us the opportunity to touch so many people’s lives, thank you for being there and thank you for having found your way into our hearts.
Danny, we hope that wherever you are, you are smiling, laughing, playing and seeing what an effect your life has made on so many lives. You can see the happiness here, a collection of pictures of everyone who donated to Lela the donating Pig for the month of July.
TWO DANCING CHEFS
Pamela and Leonique
We are glad to announce we just donated a whopping $515 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Thanks to the hundreds of people to sent in donations via our Lela page online. You can click and visit the page anytime and see how much little Lela has collected so far and keep up to date on the new causes 🙂
July will be dedicated to collecting donations for the Danny Did Foundation, a non-profit organization that dedicates itself to the study, awareness and research of Epilepsy, in particular, Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP). DDF aggressively engages physicians and researchers in the fields of neurology and epileptology, meets with medical technology companies, and consults with epilepsy organizations.
We think it’s a great and amazing cause and we would like to show our support by making July our Epilepsy awareness month with Lela. All monies collected through Lela will go directly to the Danny Did Foundation (DDF) and hopefully the movement that exists on raising awareness of the illness. We hope you show your support too by visiting the Lela Page and making a small donation.
If you have a charity you are involved with closely, or have a suggestion to a cause that needs help, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know more 🙂
Sister Gabriella Vergara Ríos was kind enough to send us a photo too. In the picture, you see the head nun (centre), Sister Gabriella (holding the receipt from Western Union!) and a few of the students that were overjoyed to hear that a little pig from Mexico donated so much money. In fact, we sent a total of $336,582.39 CLP !! On top of that, the girls and the Sisters wanted to express how very very grateful they are to EVERYONE who donated to Lela for the Chile cause – and religious or not – God bless you (in their words) 😉
The money will go to helping repair the school which was badly damaged in the earthquake back in Feb (see past blog entry)
Again, we send a big big thank you to everyone and hope that Lela continues to help those around the world.
On another warming note – Mazatlan is heating up. Our weather is slowly but surely getting warmer and warmer, with the humidity settling in just nicely. For those planning on visiting soon, be sure to bring shorts, swimsuits and plenty of sunscreen, because Salsa and Salsa is about to get HOT HOT HOT!
Don’t forget to smile today 😉
Right, lets see, if it is unimaginable chances are I wont be able to wrap my mind around it. Why would I want to think about something unattainable, a feeling or thought out of my restricted boundaries, perhaps setting myself up for potential failure or remorse,sadness or grief?
What is unimaginable anyway? Is it that our oceans are dying and filling with oil, global warming that will sooner or later destroy lakes and streams and cover inhabited islands. Is it unimaginable to think that we have lost half of the rain forest in the last 20 years or that in 40 years there wont be any fish left swimming? It is unimaginable to me that people still sleep in gutters by the road side and have no food or families or a hand to the nearest shelter. That floods destroy everything a person has worked for their entire life. That earthquakes can level off the lives of good people minding their own business.
Okay! Then what is equally unimaginable is that a ceramic piggy bank, named Lela, sits with her painted smile and red cross on a chefs table during a cooking tour on a speck of land in the middle of nowhere called Mazatlan, Mexico.
For an unimaginable moment in time, Lela answers prayers for Haitian victims, she re-builds schools in Chile,provides medicine and care, food and shelter for those who have lost everything in West Virginia and Nashville. This little unimaginable piggy sits and waits daily for those who reach deep,to help the less fortunate.
Because she exists help arrives!
A woman stopped me once while I laying food and water next to a sleeping bum. She said,”why bother?” I continued with my service and wondered about that. It would be unimaginable not to help him. We never know where people come from or how they end up the way they do. If we begin to exist like Lela, if we connect rather than disconnect then I am sure about one thing, doing the unimaginable for someone else we can truly begin to let us dream about the unimaginable for ourselves.
Lets take off the armor and gloves and begin to massage love and compassion back into the thread of society. Regardless how little we have, our little is an unimaginable treasure for someone else.
This little piggy went to the market…this little piggy…
Our little Lela has come a very long way! For the month of April, we have collected a whopping $754.47USD!!
We really are amazed at the generosity that everyone has shown for our little pig. As Leonique says, it’s truly amazing that a little pig, in a little tour, in the middle of Mexico, can help and reach so many people…
April donations will be heading to victims of the earthquake in Chile, which occurred a little while ago. As most of you know, I was born in Chile and have most of my relatives there. I have seen first hand the devastation through the eyes of my family, and the internet, I have seen photos, news footage and youtube clips of horrific damage, homelessness, destruction and looting.
It will always touch my heart to see people pulling together in times of desperation. And the support came from all over the world. Not only did we have people donate at the show, we had people donating online, from as far as India and as close as the USA. So thank you to everyone for their donations. Lela will continue helping those who need her help!
We recently sent off the donations to the West Virginia Red Cross Chapter, to help the wives and families of the 27 men who lost their lives. Our prayers go out to all those involved. A total of $118USD was sent and collected in less than 1 week.
It’s always fun to be able to come up with a new and innovative way to help others. LELA really has been fun, with our Facebook Album #2, LELA has had her photo taken with more than 400 people, making her one of the most charitable pigs in Mazatlan!
GO LELA GO!
Changing subjects, we are now in May – Happy May Day to you all! We have finally got our Newsletter up and running, so expect us in your inbox within the next 24hrs, with lots of fun new stuff for you to remember us by!
Haven’t joined the newsletter yet? It’s easy, just go onto our website and on the top right, there is a box for Newsletter Sign Up. Takes 5 seconds 🙂
We have a fun and exciting giveaway, so be sure to check it out! Again, we thank everyone for their charitable donations and we hope the end of one month, brings change and a new sense of well being into the new month!