Interview: Ajijic Delegado Juan Ramón Flores looks at the needs of the community.
Delegado Juan Ramon Flores in is office. By Patrick O’Heffernan.
Patrick O’Heffernan. Ajijic. The Plaza and the Malecón are still closed, but the churches are open with sanitary guidelines, along with restaurants and stores throughout Ajijic. But hotels and galleries, if they are open, see little or no business. The economy has a long way to go before it is anything like normal, which means that many local families in Ajijic are still on the edge financially and need help. Ajijic Delegado Juan Ramon Flores sat down with Laguna this week to talk about them and what is being done for them
“In the past five weeks we have distributed 5000 dispensas throughout the area, using the money from Chapala”, he said, noting that there were not specific neighborhoods he concentrated on. He and his volunteers look at the conditions of families from week to week to know who to distribute despensas and other help to rather than designate specific neighborhoods because situations change with people.
He divides the city into halves and some volunteers work on one part and some on another part. “We are distributing over 200 despensas for Ajijic every week. Many people are out of work and need help”, he said, noting that there is no unemployment insurance in Mexico when asked about government assistance to the unemployed.
“I have ten volunteers – not employees – every week who help with the despensas ,” he said, “some are different people each week, some expat some Mexicans.” He continued that some people in Ajijic have friends in the United States who send money that is used to buy despensas.
“We all work together,” he said, “the cooperation is excellent, there are many good organizations helping.” He added that expats who want to get involved in helping should contact Héctor España, the Expat Liaison in Chapala.
When asked about plans for more opening he said that “The Malecon and the Plaza will be the last things to open. We wait for the word from the Jalisco government about when cases go down. Same with live music. It is their decision. “
He added that, except for important trips and volunteering , the people should stay safe at home and wear masks.