Neuter and spay clinic/ Ek Balam, Mexico

Anyone who is familiar with rural Mexico knows what a problem stray and feral dogs are. They lead short miserable lives and are often killed or crippled by automobile traffic. In addition to the inhumane circumstances of the dogs, there are community health hazards as well. Roving packs of aggressive feral dogs are dangerous. So is the strewn garbage from their rummaging, and the fouled streets where children run barefoot. This past weekend I shot a short documentary to promote the efforts of a group of volunteers who conducted a free neuter and spay clinic for the town of Ek Balam…a small, remote village in the state of Yucatán, Mexico. The clinic was held at the town’s municipal building. In addition to catching some strays, the clinic provided services to family dogs who might sire litters of feral dogs.

I’ll be working on editing the documentary for a while yet, so, this morning I cut this piece to provide a more timely look at the program. This video follows one particular dog, Drego, as he goes through the entire process: arrival, anesthesia, surgery, ear tattoo, recovery, and a tail-wagging return home. Drego is a very big and very sweet family dog. Someone said that he is part mastiff and part pit bull. The father sports a Maya warrior haircut from his role as a re-enactor at the nearby Ek Balam ruins.

Kudos to the many volunteers who spent the day working hard, pro bono, in the heat of the Yucatán interior, and thanks to Lee Christie whose Genesis Eco-Oasis was a beautiful and hospitable place from which the event was staged.

I hope you will watch the video and share to help promote this and other neuter and spay programs.

Note: there are a few scenes of canine surgery that some people might find disturbing.



Conservación de los Anfibios y Reptiles de Yucatán/ Yucatán, MX

The Yucatán Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Network provides knowledge to the public about the biology of Yucatecan amphibians and reptiles. This video is from an an event in the community of Telchac Puerto which presented live demonstrations and scientific information about Yucatán biodiversity.   




Telling the World About Tihosuco

A cultural preservation and community development project in Quintana Roo, Mexico


Leaders of the Caste War rebellion

This week I met with leaders of the town of Tihosuco, located in Quintana Roo, Mexico to begin work on a media campaign associated with the Tihosuco Heritage Preservation and Community Development Project, organized in association with the University of Pennsylvania Museum. In the 19th century, Tihosuco was the starting point for the Caste War of the Yucatan, one of the most successful indigenous rebellions in the Americas. This heritage and community project is focused on the preservation of heritage and sites from this rebellion and the future growth and development of the Tihosuco community.

(click photos to enlarge)


(L-R) Alvaro Pech Tuz, First Assistant Mayor, Tihosuco | The Author | Rosy Carolina Pat Puc, Secretary, Tihosuco | Carlos Chan Espinosa, Director, Caste War Museum, Tihosuco | Elias Chi Poot, Treasurer, Tihosuco Ejido | Richard M. Leventhal, Executive Director, Penn Cultural Heritage Center; Professor, Univ. of Pennsylvania | Clemente Puc Tun, Executive Committee, Tihosuco Ejido

Our social media campaign will feature the heritage, culture, history, artisans, festivals, archeology, Maya language preservation, and day-in-the-life scenarios of Tihosuco, Mexico. We will be promoting tourism in an area that has considerable significance in Mexican history in hopes of bringing more economic opportunity to the community. About an hour south of Valladolid, Tihosuco offers tourists insight into a little-known chapter of Mexican indigenous rebellion. We hope that you will follow this blog to receive updates on the project, and we encourage your comments and shares.


-Richard Lakin

¡Soy HUNAB!/ Environmental education in Mérida, Mexico

HUNAB is training the next generation of environmentalists.

I’ve been working with HUNAB in Mérida, Mexico since 2006. It’s an organization that trains young peer educators, who in turn teach sustainable environmental practices to other children in their communities. Hope you will find the time to watch this video that I shot just a few weeks ago. In Spanish with English sub-titles.

Read my CSRwire editorial about HUNAB:

Shot on Sony A65 and GoPro cameras

National Academy Foundation

Great program in a great school in Hartford, CT.

Shot on Sony  HVR-Z5U HDV and GoPro Hero 3. Edited in Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 and Magic Bullet Looks.

the OYE documentary

the OYE social media project

This is the story of four extraordinary young women. It’s easy to slip into hyperbole when writing an editorial like this, but “extraordinary” is the appropriate description. Occasionally you come across people who make a lasting impression on you, and that was the case with OYE scholars Neris, Rosa, Sandra, and Oriel during my three-week visit to the Organization for Youth Empowerment in El Progreso, Honduras.

Neris’ diminutive physical size (well under 5′) and infectious laugh belie her personal intensity and her desire to complete her education. Often in my travels, I see some pretty tragic circumstances. Neris, however, has a positive family environment and lives in one of the most beautiful areas that I’ve ever seen. Campo Monterrey is deep in the plantation region of Honduras. We drove an hour and a half through miles of banana, sugarcane, and palms (used to make palm oil) to her family’s modest home…

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The $1,000 NGO social media project

the OYE social media project

the epilogue of a shoestring-budget communications campaign 

This past February I started this WordPress blog for the Organization for Youth Empowerment in Honduras. The object of this campaign was two-fold: 1)  to advance the global visibility of this small, but committed NGO that provides mentoring and scholarships for at-risk youth in Northern Honduras, and 2) to create a kind of “open source” social media campaign for non-profits with a shoestring communications budget. This project, which lasted about 5 months, had a total cost of approximately $1,000 USD in travel expenses (plus, a $99 WordPress upgrade), but attained substantial international exposure. Much effort was put into determining which platforms were the most effective in generating site traffic, dialog, and shares.

I hope that your organization can benefit from our experimentation, research, and analysis. Although this project came to a close in August 2012, I am going to keep this site up…

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