Thirty years ago, in October 1984, the International Women’s Club of Merida (IWC) got off to a rousing start. There were 22 women present in the annex of the American Consulate, on the corner of Avenida Colón & Paseo de Montejo. And there were 22 different ideas about the direction the new group should take.
I am sure that over the course of these past three decades, every idea those women had – has been realized – and so have at least 100 more.
I would venture to say that many initiatives in our international community have an IWC member (or former member) at the helm. Many of those women “got their feet wet” through the IWC. They networked within the group, and then struck out on their own. Success stories indeed.
Some of those associations and businesses are tremendously important resources in Yucatan. An IWC woman started the Merida English Library, and another is the State delegate for the Red Cross. Another got the Slow Food market up and going. Others have established art galleries, literary reviews, restaurants, schools, B & Bs, shops, animal advocacy agencies, and children’s after school programs. The women help at the Salvation Army shelter, elder homes, and with young women’s scholarship programs. The club raised the funds to build a kitchen and laundry facility at the Cancer hospital, and have been involved in many other worthy causes that I can’t even remember right now.
However, the IWC isn’t all about community work – we have a lot of fun too. We dance together at Carnaval, we travel, we hear interesting speakers and attend musical nights. We also cook together and learn new skills.
The club has gone through many highs and lows, but one thing remains constant – the women are there for one another. When a member is ill, or has tragedy in her life, others step up to help.
Of course, there are always differences of opinion and personality clashes – but that seems to be inevitable when you fill a room with dynamic females.
Thursday morning, about 40 club members met at the Hyatt Hotel for a delicious celebratory breakfast – and on Saturday October 25th – the monthly meeting will be held at TTT: Calle 57 No. 492 Enter 56 & 58, Centro.
We’ll get started at 9:30 am, and all English-speaking women are welcome. I am often asked “how much English” is necessary to be a member of the IWC. And I always give the same answer – “The ability to smile in the language is enough.”
When our current president, Lisa Johansson de Ballote, spoke to the press this morning, she said, “I am so proud to be a long-time member of the International Women’s Club.”
And I have to say – “So am I Lisa – so am I.”