Babies and The Blues

By Brooke Gazer

Huatulco has some worthy non-profit organizations. Among those is Un Nuevo Amanecer, which helps children who suffer from a wide range of disabilities. With an eight-month grant from Beneficencia Pública, (part of the Federal Government), they have recently added a new proactive program to their already extensive list of services. Hospitals and midwives in our region can refer at-risk newborn infants to UNA, where they are evaluated and treated according their specific needs. These are babies who are at risk of developing a broad spectrum of physical and or intellectual impairments if left untreated.

Some of the risk factors include premature birth; low APGAR scores; oxygen deprivation during delivery; mothers with diabetes, high blood pressure or infections (especially urinary tract infections); and adolescent mothers or mothers of advanced age. In many cases, these babies can appear relatively normal at birth, but physical and or intellectual symptoms become apparent when they begin school. Early intervention can minimize or completely alleviate these developmental deficiencies.

A trained therapist at UNA will assess a newborn infant who has been referred due to one or more risk factors. Sometimes the problems are not apparent on the first visit and mothers are encouraged to return monthly during the first year. If a problem is identified, the infant begins therapy two or three times per week. Being proactive can prevent more serious issues and the prognosis for the child to develop normally is very good. With intervention after the age of three, the situation is far more complicated, making it unlikely that the child will develop to his or her full potential, either physically or mentally. Obviously, this program is an efficient use of time and money. It is encouraging to see such a practical and proactive approach, especially in a country where funds are limited.

The grant program is only for eight months. To be effective, treatment will be required for a much longer time, but it is a start. Flor Castillo, the administrator at UNA, estimated the cost of a one hour session to be between 200-250 pesos. Most beneficiaries are asked to pay a portion of the assessment and therapy. Depending on their situation this may be 100 pesos for the initial evaluation and up to about 50 pesos for each one hour therapy session. Many beneficiaries are living in extreme poverty, which contributed to the original risk factors. If mothers are unable pay anything, UNA waives any fees because intervention is imperative. Somehow, UNA manages to cover these costs.

In fact, two-thirds of all UNA’s operational budget is funded by donations and events held within the community. This is one of the many things that makes Huatulco the special place that it is. A major source of fund raising, which many of us are familiar with, is “Blues on the Beach”, held each January and February. These spectacular beach parties have become a regular, much anticipated attraction in Huatulco. The events of 2017 will be held Jan 12 and February 9 so mark your calendar now!

With Jimmy Z and Paul DesLauriers headlining on January 12, the event will certainly meet or exceed the high expectations of blues entertainment that 400-plus tourists, expats and Mexican nationals have come to enjoy.

The great blues diva Etta James referred to as to Jimmy Z as her “Hoochie Coochie Man”. Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics calls him “the best harmonica player in the world”. Due to his amazing ability with both the harmonica and the saxophone, Jimmy Z has been in high demand since the 1990s. The long list of artists that he has toured and or recorded with include Rod Stewart, Bon Jovi, Tom Petty, Dr. Dre, Barry White and Ziggy Marley.

As part of Canada’s guitar elite, Paul DesLauriers is considered one of Quebec’s overall best guitarists. In addition to being a master of both electric and acoustic guitar, he is also a powerful and expressive singer. In 1997, Paul formed his band “The Paul DesLauriers Band”, who have been nominated for and received too many Maple Blues and Lys Blues Awards to list here.

When Jimmy and Paul team up in Huatulco on January 12, it will be fortunate that it is an open air event; otherwise they might blow the roof off the venue with their combined energy – do not miss it!

Brooke Gazer operates Agua Azul la Villa, an ocean view B&B in Huatulco.

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