"On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...."

This beloved traditional holiday song is the inspiration for our seasonal blog series, "12 Days/12 Ways", a promotional effort of goodwill we started last year to draw attention to 12 not-for-profit groups or charitable organizations in Playa del Carmen and along the Riviera Maya. So many people from around the world travel to the Riviera Maya during the holiday season. Many reach out to us via regional message boards and Facebook looking for a way to give back to the less fortunate residents in our local communities. 12 Days/12 Ways was started to help these generous, kind-hearted visitors find legitimate and worthy charitable organizations to support, addressing their particular needs for this holiday season.

For each of the 12 days of Christmas, the BuyPlaya Blog, better known as "Life's a Beach", will spotlight a charitable organization or giving opportunity. Some may already be familiar to locals and frequent travelers to this area. Others, perhaps those most in need of recognition and support, may be new to our readers. It is our hope to do this every year, with updated information and wish lists.

The "12 Day/12 Ways" list has not yet been completed for 2011. If you have a favorite charity that you feel belongs on this list, collect all of the information you can and I will be happy to consider your group for inclusion.


hekab Be AkumalHekab Be Library promotes literacy and learning opportunities among children and adults in Quintana Roo, Mexico, in order to meet their educational goals. Serving as a tool for educational, social and economic progress, we provide individuals and families with resources for scholastic advancement, helping improve people’s language and literacy skills, while promoting cultural preservation and awakening the desire to understand other customs and ways of thinking.

The Hekab Be Library acquaints young children with books, provides learning resources for school children, offers literacy and writing classes in the Spanish language for adults, offers classes in the English language for older children and adults, conducts programs in the Maya language, and offers classes in the Maya language.


How can YOU help?

Monetary Donations:

Just in time for the Holiday giving season, Hekab Be has received an exciting challenge grant! Every donation made before the end of the year will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $2000! We hope you will consider giving a little, as every bit counts. Monetary donations are necessary to keep all the wonderful library programs running.

To participate in this challenge, please visit the Hekab Be Blog and click on the Paypal DONATE button!


Buy a Hekab Be T-shirt:

Show your support of Hekab Be by buying and proudly wearing a t-shirt from the new Cafe Press Hekab Be T-shirt Store! T-shirts are available in men's and women's sizes. Cool tote bags are also available, perfect for hauling your beach reads and sunscreen! A variety of colorful and whimsical designs are offered.

Hekab Be Akumal
Photo by LocoGringo.com

Donate books and library supplies:

  • Books - All reading levels in SPANISH
  • Packs of solid colored craft foam sheets, used for arts and crafts projects
  • Colored pencils
  • Liquid white glue such as Elmer's
  • Water based/washable liquid paints such as Crayola kids paint (liter size or larger)
  • Construction paper
  • Laminating sheets, various sizes, but especially letter size
  • Child safe scissors with rounded points
  • 3 ring binders
  • Letter size clear plastic sleeves that can be used in a 3 ring binder
  • Thick or jumbo crayons
  • Play Doh (or generic brand)-- small size cans keep longer in this climate
  • Bead sets for making bracelets and necklaces
  • White-out or any brand of liquid corrector
  • Poster board, white or any color. Sam's and City Club in Playa del Carmen sell this in packs of 100-200 sheets
  • Various kinds of paper to use in art projects: tissue paper, crepe paper & shiny/foil paper in assorted colors
  • Blank white paper (8-1/2 x 11) such as copy paper or any standard paper sold in bulk

Hekab Be Akumal
Photo from the Akumalian

Here is a list of gifts that children who frequent the library said they would like to receive for Christmas this year. These are the gifts most requested, and of course, the library welcomes any kind of toy donations and assistance to give these special children a very Merry Christmas!

  • Hot wheels race tracks: Wolf Mountain, Car Wash
  • Barbies (Princess School Barbie)
  • Dolls: baby dolls, dolls w/ changeable hair, dolls that cry/talk, little mommy dolls
  • Large stuffed animals
  • Skateboards with child size helmet
  • Remote control cars
  • Tea Sets

If you are in Akumal, your donations can be left with Carlos at the library. Spanish language books for all reading levels are always welcomed! If you are not going to be in Akumal in time for Christmas but would like to send us some toys or books, email the library and they may be able to find someone who can bring it down: akumallibrary@gmail.com.

Your support is needed and appreciated in helping give the kids a Happy Holiday Party every year! If you would like to share in the joy of giving, please come to the Annual Hekab Be Christmas Party on Monday, December 19 at 3 p.m. There will be singing by the kids, a pinata, food and of course, Santa will be on hand handing out the gifts! Please come if you are in town!

Of course any and all donated toys will be cherished for sure! If you are looking for ideas, this is a list of other popular items, requested by the children in year's past.

  • Backpacks for boys and girls, including backpacks with wheels
  • Roller skates for kids 8 yrs and older
  • Soccer balls, volleyballs
  • Kids’ watches
  • Skateboards
  • Dress shoes for girls
  • Sneakers for boys and girls, soccer cleats for boys
  • Clothing for boys and girls
  • Toy cars (generally we ask that people give toys which don’t require batteries since families can’t afford to replace them)
  • Stuffed animals
  • Bags or small purses for middle school age girls
  • Chemistry sets for kids
  • Barbies or other similar dolls
  • Talking Dora the Explorer dolls
  • Puzzles
  • Board games (with instructions in Spanish or games that don’t require instruction)