The Bucerias Bilingual Community
" Together We Learn "
PASSPORT FOR LIFE
Passports, FM2’s and FM3’s…these are our words…the
words of foreigners and expats who have discovered
their own personal paradise tucked away in Bucerias,
Nayarit. We know the struggle, the cost and the
time spent acquiring these necessary passports to
make Mexico a part of our lives, and yet the time,
cost, and dedication required to obtain these is
small compared to the passport our Mexican friends
must acquire to enrich their lives.
For the Spanish speaking children and adults of
Bucerias it is not a piece of paper, but a language
that is their passport to a richer life. In Mexico,
being able to speak English offers better job
opportunities, potentially higher wages, and in the
eyes of many parents a better future for their
families. But for many of these families English
lessons have not been readily accessible.
Tucked away on the mountain side of Bucerias,
the Bucerias Bilingual Community Centre is
helping fill this need. In a beautiful setting
of gardens and outdoor learning, games are
played, verbs are practiced, and word by word,
sentence by sentence, these enthusiastic
learners become more fluent.
It is not always easy, but these determined children
and adults return class after class in an effort to
improve the quality of their lives. They know being
bilingual is important here. The synergy is exciting
as volunteer teachers experience the joy of hearing
students utter their very first sentences in English
and the students recognize their personal
success. Together they are creating a passport to
For expats and foreigners money and time buys our
passports. For our Mexican friends, it is time and
hard work, an open mind and knowing how important it
is to speak English in today’s world.
Some of us understand what they are experiencing as
we are also in the process of learning Spanish in an
attempt to participate more fully in our new
Thanks to the willing volunteers of the Bucerias
Bilingual Community Centre, English classes are
growing in size. At the same time, Spanish classes
are also being held thanks to the efforts of both
Mexican and bilingual Anglo volunteer teachers. The word is spreading. Without our
teachers and wonderful donors, and without our
beautiful school, none of this would be possible.
As another session of English and Spanish classes ends,
congratulations are definitely in order. To our
beautiful Mexican students, congratulations on
adding to your passport. To the volunteers who
help teach, congratulations on making a difference
in the lives of many. We know that each of us gains
when we share with each other. The opportunity to
learn from our students enriches our lives as well.
Truly, LEARNING is the passport that can take
us anywhere! You too can be part of this wonderful
Don't hesitate to donate.
Amazing places are often the result of
amazing people! Growth occurs when these
people have vision, commitment, and a
burning desire to make things happen.
BBCC grows because of these amazing
individuals. Have you ever loved your
work so much that you would do it for
free? Volunteers do! And one of these
volunteer teachers at BBCC is Reta Ross.
She is the fairy woman. A beautiful, curly blonde, animated
woman, she captures the attention of the children
with her love, warmth and inner beauty. She loves
these children, so much so that when they are
missing from class, she walks the dusty streets to
their homes across the arroyo to see if they are
okay. She lets their parents know they are missed.
And soon they are back in class.
she arrived she knew her mission. She was here to
teach children English, to share with them
everything she could. She walked those same streets,
inviting children, talking to parents, letting them
know their children could learn English at BBCC.
Starting with four beautiful little girls who
brought more children, her classes grew. She took
flyers written in Spanish to the streets, handing
them out, letting people know what the centre could
offer them. And by one night in February twenty
eight children were attending her class.
Reta is the consummate teacher. Knowing she would
have to buy it herself, she found an effective
program for teaching English and purchased it. Hours
were spent creating pages, laminating, and learning
the materials so that these children could have the
best learning experience possible. And it is a
wonderful experience. You know that when you see
children arriving with big smiles, running to hug
children come because they want to, not because they
have to. Often they come to class bringing younger
brothers, sisters and friends, arriving early and
wanting to stay after the daily session is ended.
You see it on the street when you witness their
excitement as she walks past their homes and stops
into visit. And you can’t miss it in the eyes of
their parents where the appreciation and
acknowledgement of her work is so evident.
Come into her class and see the
excellent teaching… the intentional
repetition of English words, games,
songs, and picture work that she knows
will lead to language acquisition. I
wish you could have been there the day
the children looked at pictures and for
the very first time answered in
sentences. Suddenly single words like
dog and running became a complete
thought. “The dog is running.” “The ant
is red.” These were huge steps for
children who knew NO English months
before. And these were enough to bring
joyful tears to the fairy woman’s eyes.
is the teacher who struggled with a lively 11 year
old who couldn’t sit still and wanted to talk all
the time. Trying everything she could, she finally
put on meditative music… soothing and quiet, hoping
it would help. When nothing changed, she stopped
playing it. Imagine her surprise, when his first
question was, “Reta, why don’t we have the music on?
I like that.”
in and watch her work. She is an actress,
words, being silly, anything to enhance the
learning experience for her children. As the
consummate teacher, these ARE her children. And she
is becoming one with them… loved and respected, she
spent her new years eve celebrating and dancing with
the children and their families. She is no outsider;
she has been invited in, just as she invited them
into her life.
It has not been all joy for this loving woman. There
was a time with her classes growing she experienced
such frustration at not being able to surround these
children - to meet all their needs, and in her
lovely warm way she asked for help and had faith it
would come. And when help came in the form of one
volunteer, and then another, and another, she shared
her children and her love of teaching with them as
well. The frustration was gone and replaced with
more love and the knowledge that once again her
children were surrounded.
The fairy woman with her long curly blonde hair, her
ankle length dresses with puffy sleeves, her
beautiful smile, and sparkling eyes will be missed
this summer. But as her friend and co teacher, I
know she has a dream. Next year she will return to
teach. But there will be a difference. When she
returns she will look for a home here. She dreams of
teaching English, of walking streets where she is
not a visitor but a local, of having her own horse
to ride, and neighbors who will be part of life
forever. She knows she will return to these children
and share more of her language, her joy and her
love. It is people like Reta who are part of amazing
places like BBCC.
The BBCC was founded as a non-profit organization to
promote Spanish/English education and interaction in the small
pueblo of Bucerias, northeast of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The
mission is to offer English instruction to Mexican residents to
improve their economic well-being, and to offer Spanish to a
growing number of part and full time Anglo residents who are
interested in meaningful interaction with their Mexican
neighbors. Cultural programs will also be offered such as
Mexican Cooking and History, Meditation, Belly Dancing, Yoga and
others as teachers become available. Classes for children and
summer school day camps are also offered.
"Never doubt that a small
group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.-- Margaret Mead"
The Bucerias Bilingual Community Centre will work to
create a community where children and adults share the joy of
developing skills and learning their neighbour's language and
"When strangers start acting like
neighbours...communities are reinvigorated."-- Ralph Nader
5 Qualities of Every BBCC Teacher
Teachers at BBCC come in all shapes, sizes, ages,
and nationalities. Arriving from England, Canada,
the United States and even from five blocks away
right in Bucerias, Mexico, they come to the Bay of
Banderas to share their passions and skills. Most
work as volunteers, while some charge a nominal fee
for their courses and return a percentage to the
BBCC to help cover its operating costs. No matter
where their place of origin, your teachers at BBCC
share five important qualities. Every teacher you
meet here will have an interest or knowledge they
want to share with others:
Knowledge or an interest they want
to share with others
Enjoy meeting new people and sharing
Like working with children or adults
Want to have fun
Choose to make a difference
Whether they are teaching English or Spanish, belly dancing or
meditation, crafts or computers, kids or adults, all of them
share their passions, and together we all learn.
If you have something you'd like to share with us, please
contact the Bucerias Bilingual Community Centre. There's always
room for more.
"A teacher affects eternity; he can never
tell where his influence stops" -- Henry Brooks Adams
Without volunteers, non-profits like Bucerias Bilingual
Community Centre could not survive. In Bucerias the combined
efforts of many are creating a thriving centre where children
and adults come to learn and share. To meet the needs of the
community, a variety of skills and talents from a large group of
volunteers is required.
Our volunteers fulfill many roles. Our goal is utilize their
strengths so that both the centre and our volunteers benefit
from their gifts of service.
What roles could you play in our future growth? The following is
a list of our ongoing needs:
Teach something you love
Office work including typing, collecting fees,
Helping as a teacher aid
Assist with Fund raising efforts
Donation of materials
Be a Board Member
Transport learning materials to Bucerias
Sponsor a child's English education
Maintenance: building shelving
Providing opportunities for English conversation
Offer your special gifts & talents
Please call for further ideas or to offer suggestions Your
assistance even for a few hours is invaluable!
I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do
everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I
cannot do interfere with what I can do. ~Edward Everett Hale