Red Cross Fund Drive in Cancun

Yesterday I allowed myself to get roped into collecting money for the Red Cross here in Cancun. My good friend Pam agreed to do it with me, which took the sting out of it. We were out there for two hours, at the intersection of Coba and Yaxchilan, near the IMSS. We both wore the obligatory white, and thank God we did because the sun was very intense. If we hadn’t been in white I think we would have shriveled up like raisins.

The experience was intensely interesting to me (and exhausting). Walking through the rows of cars stopped at a stoplight was something I’d never done. I see various vendors and beggars do it everyday, but I had never done it myself.

I had been told that I should not expect to get money from the more expensive cars, and indeed that was the case. The most generous people were in middle class cars and in junkers. The cabbies and bus drivers were VERY generous also.

I noticed that women were a bit less likely to give than men were, but when women did give they gave a lot! Several women emptied their change purses into my collection bucket. And when women gave they always thanked me for collecting money (and no men did that).

I also noticed that cars with couples in them were more likely to give, than cars with single men were. It was as if the couple was discussing it and had decided that they should give.

We were putting small Red Cross stickers on the windshields of cars that gave to us. The cars which had the most of these little stickers were the cabs, which indicated that they were giving repeatedly, at different stoplights. And most cabs gave me money too, so I added to their sticker collections. One cabbie was putting his Red Cross stickers on his steering wheel, mine was his 5th one.

One lady told me she didn’t have any money, but could I please tell her how to get to the nearest craft market…I’m pretty sure my pathetic Spanish confused her…

And one guy told me he’d given money at the last intersection but did not get his sticker, so would I please give him the sticker without getting money from him (I put his sticker on upside down).

We had small stickers for small donations and big honkin’ stickers for people who gave more than $5 usd. One guy gave me only $2 usd but asked very politely for a big sticker. He already had a bunch of little Red Cross stickers so I gave him his big sticker and he drove away feeling proud.

I noticed that the darker the windows were tinted in a car the less likely the person was to roll down the window and give me money. This was true even in junky cars. Darkly tinted windows stay up!

By the end of two hours I was like a walking zombie. I was simply exhausted. I don’t know exactly what was so tiring. The exhaust fumes? The walking (I’m in shape so I doubt it)? I think it was mostly the sun and the smiling. Wearing a forced smile for 2 hours is much harder than it looks. People who model for a living have my sympathy, plastic grins are a lot of work to maintain!

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One Response to “Red Cross Fund Drive in Cancun”

  1. JoyceJ
    March 31st, 2006 23:53

    What a rewarding day, fraught with sore feet, sunburned scalps and a quick study on human nature! I commend your efforts. I would have been right there with you if it weren’t for my phobia developed when I first moved there after all the buses and taxis used to try to run me over…

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