We are Thomas Fortel, based in St. Louis, MO, and Sarana Miller, based in Berkeley, CA, and we have been leading yoga retreats in Yelapa for many years.
September 30, a devastating flash flood hit the community of Yelapa. (Photo above of the flood waters that broke through the Southern side of the beach.) The river valley was flooded as was the areas around the river in town. There were some injuries and one death that we know of. Many people have been displaced by mud. The water treatment plant was flooded, and pipes in town are non-functional, so water has been an issue for everyone. They were without electricity for a week, but some electricity has been restored. 30 fishermen lost their boats, and thus their livelihoods, in the storm. The bridge up river was severely damaged and it's not clear if it can be repaired.
The storm is captured on Mexican television in this YouTube clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mjp6vic6SyA
The governor of Jalisco visited by helicopter and there have been estimates of damage in the millions of dollars. The community has received support from various sources, including drinking water, food, stoves, and other needed items.
Hotel Lagunita, where we gather for our annual retreats, was spared, being on the Northern side of the valley. We're grateful that our 2020 retreats are unaffected, and it's even more important than ever that we will be there this coming February to support the community and businesses there.
We are asking you to consider making a financial contribution to our Yelapa Flood Relief Fund. We have been in touch with our long-time friend Nereida Garcia, a Yelapa resident who used to work at Lagunita. She has been keeping us informed of the situation and she will be our point person to make specific purchases for those in need, rather than giving people cash. Specifically we'll be getting guidance from Nereida to help people buy needed appliances, mattresses, rebuilding supplies and contributions to fishermen in need of boat replacement. We are also in touch with Robin O'Brien, who ran the hardware store in town which was completely destroyed. We've known Robin and Nereida for years, visiting with each of them on our annual trips to Yelapa. Robin and Nereida are compiling a list of names of those in need and we will be working with them directly to allocate the resources. Once we've raised the money, we will withdraw the funds into Sarana's personal account and send them to via PayPay directly to Robin who will work with Nereida to distribute the money. We've already committed some of the funds to purchase water filters which are $40 each.
Our goal is to raise $10,000 from our yoga community. Many of us are in a position to make a dramatic impact on people's lives in Yelapa. We ask that you consider a $100 donation; a $200 donation; a $500 donation; a $1,000 donation. Whatever amount is meaningful to you. We feel so touched, year after year, by the community of Yelapa. We feel compelled to return their generous spirit and welcoming attitudes with financial support in this time of need.
SaranaYoga is opening the campaign with a gift of $1,000. Thank you for your support!
- Evy deAngelis
- Gail Levinson
- Thomas Fortel
- Rene Dobbins
- Laura Fenster