Loading images...
For information about and services offered by Pelican Free Press sponsors, please click icons below to reach their individual web pages. The Pelican free Press is made possible by the support of these sponsors. Please keep that in mind.Thank you

Please Patronize our Sponsors

Red Cross

Mexico's first responder

Mexico’s first responder






December 25, 2014


Some Spanish you might be able to use: Send an ambulance please –Por favor, mande una ambulancia; My name is- Mi nombre es; My address is – Mi domicilio es; My phone number is – Mi numero de telefono es; I am very sick – Estoy muy enferma; My wife/husband had a heart attack – Mi esposa tuvo un ataque cardiac!; I fell and I am hurt – Me cai y estoy herido!

Plans for 2015:

If you received this email, then you are one of 16 extraordinary people who have helped our local Red Cross Clinic across the highway in some way… and also expressed interest in wanting to “remain in the loop” regarding what’s happening over there.  If you would prefer not to receive these updates, just let me know and I will remove you from the list.

Doctor Branda, the current resident doctor at our local clinic, completes her one year requirement for “Public Service” in January and another new doctor (don’t know who yet) will arrive to take her place. As most of you already know, medical school graduates in Mexico are required to perform one year of Public Service before they can be certified to practice.  The easiest way to satisfy that requirement is to serve one year with the Mexican Red Cross. During the course of this year two old doors at the clinic were replaced with much sturdier aluminum ones, there were some donations of equipment, a new security wall was added along the back and side of the building to improve security, and the building was painted.

The new Playa del Carmen Red Cross Hospital (Puerto’s clinic is a satellite operation of this one) was built this year and to help equip this new facility, four Rotary Clubs (one from Playa del Carmen and three from the USA) partnered on a project to provide a semi-truckload of medical equipment and supplies.  After a year in the works, the shipment finally arrived on December 14th, just in time for Christmas.  There was enough equipment on board to literally fill the hospital, with some pieces targeted to specific needs here in Puerto.  The problem being, where do you put it in this tiny building?   There is an answer, which brings us to the beginnings of a new “Friends of the Red Cross challenge.”

Projects to consider for 2015:

  1. There is a move afoot to alter the floor plan of the clinic.  The thought being, to switch the doctor’s little examination room with the much larger patient waiting room.  We would need to create a new entrance to the small room, which would then become the waiting room, and convert the larger room into an expanded examination room.  One couple has already expressed interest in pursuing that project.  If others would like to help, please let us know.  We will probably wait until after the holidays, and the arrival of the new doctor, before moving forward with this idea.


  1. The recently constructed security wall needs masonry finishing work and painting, but this is not seen as a priority.

Merry Christmas to all,

John Schwandke

[email protected]

Cell.  984-100-6200


July, 2013

Greetings Dear Friends of the Red Cross,  

I received a wonderful email from our good friend Dr. Nadine Rendon, the physician on duty at the new Red Cross Clinic in Puerto Aventuras.  At the urging of her Red Cross colleagues, she included a new and expansive equipment “wants and needs list”.  The enormous size of this list is based upon Red Cross plans to expand the clinic in Puerto Aventuras, and build a new and much larger facility in Playa del Carmen as they try to keep pace with the population explosion. I have attached a copy of the two lists, but only for reference.

New construction of this magnitude translates into equipment needs well beyond the scope of what we “Friends of the Red Cross” were able to do in fulfilling a few “critical needs” for the newly opened clinic in Puerto Aventuras.  I remember with great fondness how we all came together so quickly to satisfy those needs and still feel the warm bond of friendship created in the process.
But, it is my opinion, that for a needs list of this magnitude, there is an alternative and better way for us to help. And, that would be to repeat a project similar to one that was completed earlier this month when a container load of medical equipment from Springfield Illinois was delivered to the Red Cross Hospital in Puebla Mexico.  Using this method… instead of our responding to a vast “needs list”… we will encourage Red Cross personnel from the Playa del Carmen Red Cross to personally scan the vast equipment inventory lists of organizations like “Hospital Sister’s Mission Outreach” in Chicago and “Project C.U.R.E.” in Denver.
These charitable organizations are in the business of receiving large quantities of equipment donations from U.S. Hospitals and putting them into the hands of those with need. All of this equipment has been inspected and certified in good condition.  In the case of last weeks delivery to Puebla, doctors there tell me that the entire shipment was in “like new” condition. They were ecstatic! So, I suggest we follow this same procedure for Playa del Carmen and see how many of their needs can be resolved in this manner.
This method puts the recipient (Playa del Carmen Red Cross) in charge of selecting the equipment themselves, from on-line inventory lists which they access through use of a special “password”. For them, it will be like shopping on-line as they literally “fill their cart” as they shop.  With “Mission Outreach”, who I have recent experience with, the “handling fee” to fill an entire 40’ container is $6,200 U.S. Dollars.  It makes no difference what the size, weight, or value of the equipment inside the container might be, as it is all donated equipment and therefore free.  The only additional cost is that of transportation.  In the case of Puebla, we used a freight forwarding company owned by a fellow Rotarian who is equally motivated to keep cost to a minimum.  Here is a link to his website:  http://www.josephindustries.com/

From my personal experience, having Rotary Clubs act as the “project sponsor” has great value. Rotary International is highly regarded in Mexico and has an excellent reputation worldwide. In addition… through Rotary we can get financial help! Total cost for the Puebla shipment was just shy of $10,000.  The cost was shared by two Rotary Clubs, one Rotary District, and the Puebla Red Cross.  A container load to Playa is a further distance and will cost more.

     John Schwandke, a member of the Rotary Club of Chicago Financial District already has a working relationship with “Hospital Sister’s Mission Outreach.”  You can read more about them at this link:  http://www.mission-outreach.org/aboutus.html
     Martin Wohnlich and John Klug, members of the Rotary Club of Denver, have a contact at “Project C.U.R.E.” and you can read about them at this link: http://www.projectcure.org/
     Jayne Halle is a Nurse Practitioner and is connected with “Partners For World Health” in Portland, Maine  http://www.partnersforworldhealth.org/Home_Page.php.  Her organization also has a warehouse with supplies. Jayne, as a somewhat frequent traveler, also has the ability to bring in small items with her luggage.  She is already in direct contact with Nadine and others from the Red Cross in helping to fill specific requests.

Hope this all makes sense.  It is the direction that several of us are headed in for this most recent effort to acquire more medical equipment. I will keep you posted as to our progress and holler if we need more help.  More information will follow as we go through the “Application Procedure” with these aforementioned suppliers. For those who may be helping the Playa del Carmen and Puerto Aventuras Red Cross delegations in other ways, please share correspondence so we can avoid duplication.

Hope this email finds you all in good health… and thank you for your continued support.


John Schwandke
Friend of the Red Cross

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Pelican Free Press Newsletter

For emergency phone numbers, church services, “resident” and “gate” card forms and processes; rules for golf carts and motorcycles, pets, construction by-laws, recycling schedule and other pertinent community information and services, please click on the Puerto Aventuras Colonos icon below. Thank you

PA Colonos Information


wordpress stats