A happier Christmas!

adeje-cruz roja dona set de alimentos navideños (2)

Cruz Roja and Adeje council donate 20 family boxes which include Christmas fare

20 Adeje families received Christmas boxes from the Cruz Roja (Red Cross) in conjunction with the Adeje council this week.

These were boxes specially prepared for families in need at this time of year, with Christmas-based food products as well as some basic dietary staples. The donations were made as part of the on-going social services aid programme which is dedicated to helping those most in need throughout the year.

Present at the delivery, which took place in the Adeje Cultural Centre, were the Adeje councillor for social welfare, Amada Trujillo Bencomo and volunteer members of the Red Cross.

For her part, the councillor thanked the Cruz Roja for all the social assistance projects they are operating in the Adeje borough, and said that she was delighted that Christmas continues “to bring out the best in all of us”. She said these boxes “are of great help to the families here today and the council of Adeje is delighted to continue to work with the Cruz Roja in their work reaching out to the most vulnerable in our society”.

Adeje Introduces Free HIV Testing Service

Regional director general for public health José Díaz - Flores Estévez and the mayor of Adeje, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga

Regional director general for public health José Díaz – Flores Estévez and the mayor of Adeje, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga

This week the regional director general for public health José Díaz – Flores Estévez and the mayor of Adeje, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, presented a pilot project including a sexual information service and early rapid HIV detection testing. The service will be available in the Adeje health promotion department in the Centre for Tourism Development Costa Adeje (CDTCA) and testing will be carried out on Mondays and Thursdays, with an appointment, that can be made by phoning 922-756-257 or 922-756-244.

The object of the service is to offer information that should improve the general population’s awareness of sexually transmitted infections, reduce the incidence of HIV as well as unwanted pregnancies. The free testing service will be carried out in the presence of trained personnel and offers a guarantee of total confidentiality and should help those who, says the mayor, may not wish to go to their local health centre or talk to the own GP about testing. There will be personnel who will be able to assist people who have limited or no Spanish.
The mayor said they were already working with a sex education programme through local schools and secondary which was designed to give young people the knowledge they needed to develop their own sexuality independently and without risks. “We worry about the health of our citizens”, he said, “and we have felt it necessary to promote an educational campaign which will promote a healthier safer life for all. That’s why we are creating this Sex Information Point which will help people with their sexual orientation as well as the creation of a HIV testing centre that is discreet, with personalised attention and quick results”.

The regional director general for public health said that this was a pilot project, and if the results were good it would be repeated in other parts of the islands. “Illnesses caused by sexually transmission are a cause of worry for the administrations, particularly heath bodies. The most worrying is HIV. In the Canary Islands we are seeing 250 new cases annually, and the problem nationally and internationally is that 30 % of those who are infected don’t know, and therefore we have to reinforce the need for early detection which will prevent the development of other parallel infections and greatly improve the quality of life of the person who is HIV positive”.
Flores Estévez said that the profile of those diagnosed with HIV has changed, and today the largest group are those who are infected through unprotected sex – 93.7 of which 71% are men who have sexual relations with other men. Only 3.4% of new cases are as a result of intravenous drug use

The project includes a number of other initiatives such as an awareness raising drive among the public with social and professional agencies working together in education, with associations and families offering a series of talks and workshops on sexual behaviour and better health. There will also be prevention projects aimed at the borough’s young people and talks for parents and educators in co-ordination with local health centres, social services and youth groups.

Fast testing service
The staff who will be carrying out the HIV testing service are health professionals who will adhere to a rigid and approved protocol based on confidentiality and the rights of those using the service. The regional department of public health is assisting in the carrying out of the tests which can be done either via oral fluid or digital blood testing (OraQuick Advance and INSTI HIV-1/2 respectively). The test results are known within 20 minutes. Prior to administering the test the person seeking the test will be told about what it entails and a quick interview will be held solely to determine if it is really necessary. Throughout the entire procedure the intimacy of the person seeking the test is respected.

Adeje Initiatives at Fitur


Adeje Council, hotels and tourism specialists have had a busy few days in Madrid during Fitur, the highly important international tourism trade fair.
Just some of the news coming from the capital includes word that the Sheraton La Caleta will redecorate all of its rooms from March of this year. According to the commercial director, Gloria Dibb the project is part of the hotel’s commitment to change and innovation, to offer something new to clients, especially given the fact that, according to Dibb, “more than 50% of our visitors are return guests”. During 2013 the Sheraton La Caleta amplified their mini-club to a maxi-club and built tennis and padel courts.
The hotel Jardín Tropical has also been exploring ways of offering a more personalised service to their clients and during 2013 invited travel agents from all over the world to visit the establishment and help them improve the offer. Sales director for the hotel Alicia Bugallo, explained how one of the changes has been to switch the traditional reception desk for a number of smaller individual tables for client comfort and personalised attention, saying that renovation was the key to continued success. She added that other upgrades took place in the rooms, communal zones, the lobby bar, wifi areas, new sales points and a chill out terrace.
Away from the hotels, Dayli Tours will be introducing a series of guided tours to Adeje’s historical town centre. Director Rolf Fuchs, also at Fitur, said they “The cultural visits will include a talk about the history of Adeje from the Guanche era, a visit to the Convent, the Santa Úrsula Church, the Casa Fuerte, and a small tapas route to a few restaurants in the centre of the town who have indicated their interest in the idea”. The visitors will also have some free time in the town to shop, dine or discover more of the delights of Adeje for themselves. Fuchs said the tours were due to begin once agreements had been signed with a number of tour operators and a few logistical details had been ironed out, but would definitely be under way during the year.
Along the coasts, both the Adeje council and the different tourism companies working in the borough have stressed the urgent need for the new Coastal law allowing beach-based activities to be implemented. Tourism councillor for Adeje Rafael Dolado, who said he has been in touch with the department regarding the new law, indicated the changes will mean “increased assurance for economic activities along the beaches and tighter legal controls. We are hoping for clarification regarding how this will allow the development of different activities which will now be allowed and that processing of event applications will be done with ease.”
Roberto Ucelay, from one of the companies responsible for services along Playa Fañabe said “the issue of beaches is hugely important and we hope that when they decide the law more activities that complement night time leisure activities for the destination will be permitted”.
Both the Adeje tourism councillor and another South Tenerife businessman, Javier Cabrera, also present at Fitur, emphasised the importance of ongoing upgrading within the destination, as well as regenerating obsolete zones and continuing to ensure the safety of visitors.

Halloween – A Celtic Tradition On A Global Scale

Dis-Guising will frighten away evil spirits in search of a body Traditional_Irish_halloween_Jack-o'-lantern Barmbrack, traditional Halloween cake halloween modern pumpkin
Despite the commercial hype that now surrounds the festival of Halloween, the origins of the celebration of October 31st are, most scholars and historians agree, to be found in the Celtic and Druidic pasts.
‘Samhain’ was a Gaelic festival marking the end of the summer and the beginning of the darker half of the year, the winter, and was celebrated from sunset on October 31st to sunset on November 1st. Like many of today’s Christian festivals, Easter for instance, the establishment and fixing of dates is often traced back to the decision of religious powers to adapt some ‘pagan’ and populist celebrations and incorporate them into the religious calendars. All Saints or All Hallows day is celebrated on November 1st – here in Spain, Dia de los Santos, is an important date – so October 31st also became known as All Hallows Eve, Hallows ‘Even, and influenced by Samhain the two were, over time, morphed into what is know today as Halloween.
Samhain is mentioned in some of the very earliest Irish literature, and was one of the four hugely important seasonal festivals along with ‘Imbolc’, ‘Beltane’ and ‘Lughnasadh’, also observed in Scotland and the Isle of Man with similar festivals in other Celtic hubs, in Wales, Cornwall and Brittany. Samhain was the time when cattle were brought back down from the summer pastures and when livestock were slaughtered for the winter. Samhain was also seen as a time when the door to the “Otherworld” opened enough for the souls of the dead, and other beings, to come into our world. These could be friends of foes, and while many set a place at their table for family members who had passed over, others took precautions against harmful spirits. The latter is generally thought to have inspired the custom of dressing up, ‘guising’ on the night of October 31st, to confuse or scare off a wandering evil spirit. Fairies were said to be able to steal humans on Samhain, and fairy mounds were out of bounds on that night. If people had to walk at night they would perhaps turn their clothes inside out or carry iron or salt to keep the bad fairies at bay.
Guising, or dis-guising is also the origin of today’s more Americanised ‘trick-or-treat’. In earlier centuries on October 31st children in Ireland and Scotland would go from door to door disguised and perform a simple task, sing a song or recite a poem in exchange for a treat – then perhaps fruit, nuts, today it’s more likely to be sweets, but the notion of playing a trick on someone who didn’t hand over anything wasn’t really common until much later.
Turnip lanterns, the precursor of the pumpkin jack-o-lantern so common today, with faces carved into them, were common at Samhain in the 19th century in parts of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands. The purpose of these lanterns may have been threefold. They may have been used to light one’s way while outside on Samhain night; to represent the spirits and otherworldly beings; and/or to protect oneself and one’s home from them. Some have suggested that there were often set on windowsills to keep the spirits out of one’s home. However, others suggest that they originated with All Saints/All Souls and that they represented Christian souls in purgatory. It is generally believed that, as with many traditions that crossed during periods of mass immigration from Ireland and Great Britain to the Americas in the 19th and early 20th century, the traditional carved turnip was replaced by the pumpkin as they were more plentiful and easier to carve.
There are some traditional foods that are still served in Irish households on Halloween night. Barmbrack is a fruit cake with various objects baked into it, each with a different meaning for the person who is lucky or unlucky enough to receive that particular slice. A dried pea means you won’t marry this year, a stick means your marriage will be unhappy – your spouse will beat you, a piece of cloth mean bad luck or poverty, a small coin signifies good fortune and wealth and a ring means you will wed within the year.
Colcannon was another Irish favourite, made from mashed potatoes and kale (or cabbage), and could contain other ingredients such as scallions or spring onions, leeks, onions and chives. This would often be eaten with boiled ham.
Carmel apples, or toffee apples, apples covered in a hard toffee coating and placed on a stick, are another treat though these days are not specifically associated with Halloween.
Obviously nowadays there is a whole industry surrounding the commerical version of Halloween which produces sweets of all shapes, sizes and colours, even down to pre-pacakged Halloween sweet boxes in large supermarkets, including here in Spain.


“Adeje, Clean & Healthy”, A Message on the Move


The campaign sets out to improve awareness of the benefits of recycling and responsible ownership of pets

Adeje council in partnership with the town’s contracted cleaning company Ascan Torrabonaf, has launched the ‘Adeje, clean and healthy’ campaign, with the primary objective being an increase in awareness among the resident population of the benefits of recycling, the importance of keeping our neighbourhoods clean and the duties and responsibilities of pet ownership. With that in mind the councillor for the environment with responsibility for the campaign, Esther Rivero Vargas, announced that “this initiative is far reaching and will take many different forms, from information meetings in the different Adeje neighbourhoods, posters, school campaigns, talks within the local health programme, trade fairs, meetings with locally-based vets, those organisations working with animals etc.

“Today, Monday, we have started the campaign with posters and street signs, and this Thursday we will host our first neighbourhood meeting which will be held in the Callao Salvaje Cultural Centre, from 6pm. These meetings have been designed around a short talk, workshops for younger residents organised by the Cruz Roja, distribution of campaign literature (in Spanish, English and French) and a dog agility exhibition.”
Councillor Rivero Vargas extended her gratidude to the many different organisations who have and are contributing to the campaign, both at the meetings and in the information that has been prepared for distribution. “The veterinary professionals in Adeje have supervised and assisted in the content that is published in the leaflets and booklets, and they will also be attending the meetings where they can outline to those present the duties and responsiblities that a pet owner undertakes.
“At the same time I would like to extend our gratitude to the dog divisions of bodies taking part such as the Guardia Civil, Protección Civil de La Laguna, the Granadilla firefighters, Terapia y Encuentro Canino (TCAN), the Cazadores de Adeje association, South Tenerife Agility Ring (STAR) and the ONCE who will be hosting dog displays and exhibitions at the different neighbourhood meetings.
The councillor added that the part of the meeting that would be dedicated to recycling and cleanliness in Adeje would be dealt with by the technical head of the Adeje environment department and the head of services for Ascan Torrabonaf, Francisco Valiño, who would also be able to answer questions and offer additional relevant information about the issues.
One of the key parts of the campaign will be the work undertaken by four people who have been contracted to go door to door to impart the campaign’s information to residents. These four individuals have been contracted from the unemployment register and trained to carry out these particular duties. The councillor explained that “the selection was made form the unemployment group via the Adeje local development department.
“Furthermore we have been able to call upon a group of volunteers who have helped us in organising the meetings, as well as in translating the literature into English and French, in organising the dog exhibitions, etc.
Schools will be another important pillar of the campaign, where awareness workshops are being hosted in partnership with the environmental section of the Red Cross. A book with acitivities for children will also be distributed among up to 3,000 students in public schools in the borough. The local council’s area group of persons with disabilities is also helping in the preparation of merchandising for the campaign.

The campaign was initially presented to the press last July by the mayor of Adeje, and will run for approximately two years. Mayor Rodríguez Fraga has underlined that the active participation of all departments in the council is the key to a sucessful campaign and getting the message to all parts of the borough.


Mental Health – Nothing to be Afraid of!

kayak poster
Yesterday I had the privilege of speaking to Lisa Allard on English Time, Radio Sur Adeje, about the Fundación En Pié event on October 12th (more on that at the end of the article.)
In this business you set up interviews with people for many reasons. The work they are doing sounds interesting; the cause is a worthy one; you know the information will be of interest; all of the above! But now and then you are so surprised at the quality of the person you meet that your prepared questions fly out the window. And so it was with Lisa. I knew she was representing the Fundación En Pié, but luckily we sat down for coffee in advance of the interview and she told me her own personal story, about her own son and his and her struggle to come to terms with his mental health problems which surfaced when he was near the end of his teens.
That struggle, that long road of discovery for Lisa and her partner and their son – and I am sure their daughter who Lisa says now does a lot of charity-related – is worth another interview, one I hope to properly conduct soon. We talked about the assumed stigma of mental health, how people still find it difficult to talk about – as they did about cancer in the past, in whispered voices, not considered a topic for public consumption. Lisa said, rightly, that the media has a part of play and apologies to make too, for assumptions about mental health and sufferers.
As with so many conditions, there is a learning curve. So, the event on October 12th is part of that curve in a way, not to mention what sounds like a great day out. There is a trek down the Masca walk and a kayak trip back to Los Gigantes, and people can opt out of parts of the day if they wish. Raising awareness and funds are what the say is all about.
For more information you can visit the Fundación en Pié facebook page.

Schoolbag Donation

The Adeje council recently donated backpacks to 80 local school children in infants, primary and secondary school . Inside the bags was school materials for the start of the academic year.
The presentation was made by the social welfare councillor Amada Trujillo Bencomo and education councillor Andrés Pérez Ramos with members of the Red Cross who worked with other bodies to raise funds for the students in need. The councillors said this was “an important aid for families who need it most…we have made a commitment to offer equality of opportunities, including our young boys and girls who now have the school materials they need to begin their courses”:
Education, they councillors said, continued to be a vital tool in helping young people overcome difficulties and iron out differences in their daily lives now and in the future. “No young person in Adeje will be without the basic learning and study tools”, they promised.
The students in receipt of the kits have been chosen by the social welfare and education departments based on applications made by families in the borough. Inside the backpack are materials adapted to each of the school levels

What’s on in Adeje this Weekend?


There’s a busy weekend ahead in Adeje, so even if the sun don’t shine, there’s no need to be in the slightest bit bored!

Tonight you can watch a top-notch basketball game between the Fraport Skyliners Frankfort, who play in the German Bundesliga, and CB Canarias, the regional side currently playing in the Spanish ACB league. Match time is 8.30pm, tickets just €3.
If basketball isn’t your cup of tea, the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra are playing a free concert at 8pm in the Convento de San Francisco, sponsored by the Adeje Council and the Cabildo. The orchestra will play pieces by British composers William Boyce and John Ireland and Germany’s Georg Philip Telemann. Places are limited so arrive early if possible. The convent building is just beside the town hall.
Feeling peckish? The Adeje DegustaMe, or TasteMe series of gastronomic events continues this weekend, and if you fancy a bit of show cooking head down to the municipal Farmer’s Market (up the street opposite Makro) on Sunday at 11am.

Mediterranean Diet Saves Lives


Yesterday Lluis Serra Majem, during his lectura as part of the Adeje Summer University, confirmed what many of us suspected; the Mediterranean diet really is better for you.
Remember the saying, “at the table no-one grows old”, well at least if they stick to a good diet, with olive oil and dried fruits rather than over indulging in carbohydrates they won’t have a heart attack says Serra Majem, who is the director of the department of Preventative Medicine and Public Health in the University of Las Palmas.
His conclusions are based on the recently published results of the Predimed study, a nutritional study that examined the eating habits of 7,500 individuals over three years including a group from the Canarias. The results show clearly that those who use virigin olive oil and dried fruits as a regular part of their diet are reducing their mortality rate by up to 30%. He said that too often people place too much emphasis on fats as the problem in the increase in the levels of obesiety but the real culprits are carbs, particularly sugar. In this way the traditional Mediterranean diet is always a better option, and studies have also indicated that this diet can aid in the prevention and treatment of depression.
Referring back to the growing (excuse the pun) problem of obesiety, particularly among children here in the Canaries, the speaker said that too many people in the Canaries still fail to consider obesity an illness or a problem. He said that for many who lived 50 years ago when the population suffered from nutriticional deficiencies today grandparents and parents are happy to feed their children up, thinking they are building up their defences, but in reality they are creating a whole new spread of health problems.
By sticking to the Mediterranean diet, and that applies here in the Canaries too with regional and cultural additions such as gofio, and what’s to hand such as fish, local wines, etc, the population could be healthier. But the fast-food invasion has taken its toll, food that is prepared and consumed too quickly and “too often spurred on by tourism. Spain is a tourist country, and the arrival of so many tourists in a relatively short space of time has produced a change in our eating habits because we appeared unable to offer traditional dishes to toursts…”
There is, apparently, a proposal to make 2014 International Year of the Mediterranean Diet, aqnd the move already has the backing of the Spanish government, and would see a series of financial incentives offered to promote the Mediterranean Diet. “In times of crisis it is important to back intitiatives that will have an important impact. More than ever people need to be able to use their food budgets in the best possible way”; he said.

Wanted, a Cleaner, Healthier Adeje

Adeje, Clean and Healthy

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The mayor of Adeje presented a new awareness raising campaign to the media.
The objective of the campaign is to increase civic awareness about recycling, general cleanliness on the streets, and the responsible care of pets.
The mayor, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga presented the new campaign under the umbrella title, Adeje, Clean and Healthy. He was joined at the top table by Environment councillor Esther Rivero Vargas and the head of the municipal cleaning and recycling company Ascon Torrabonaf, Francisco Valiño.
The mayor told the press that “Adeje can depend on a population that is very responsible and already committed to the protection of the environment, and the council is now looking to promote, through a very open campaign, a series of objectives which will be interconnected and once realised will deliver a borough that is clean and healthy; an Adeje that operates in line with the conditions established by the national network of Healthy Cities.”
The mayor explained that the campaign will be cross-departmental, with participation and links in all the relevant areas to reach all sectors of Adeje society from a range of different focus points. “This is an open campaign, we have a schedule and a series of events already in the planning via which people can bring new ideas to the table to improve the campaign and better achieve its aims”, he said. “To achieve those ends we are meeting with animal protection groups, those who operate animal refuges, vets, and different residential groups to collect as much information as we can regarding pets”.
Following a brief outline of the campaign image, using old Wild West ‘wanted’ posters where the public enemy is filth and rubbish thrown on the street and the reward is a clean living space with care and attention sought for pets, Rodriguez Fraga said that the campaign will begin in earnest in September and will have, initially, a one-year life span during which time the council will be organising a series of related education and themed events.
During his intervention, the mayor also reported upon the unwelcome increase in the numbers of abandoned pets as a result of the economic crisis. “This kind of poor behaviour doesnt’ just affect the actual pets that have been abandoned, but also society in general, and is not just cats and dogs. We have found abandoned horses in the Adeje mountains”, he told the press. He added that it was important for people to remember that pets are not toys. “They are living creatures and must be treated as such”.
Councillor Esther Rivero told the press that among the events programmed were the presentation of a public schools’ campaign alongside a series of extracurricular activities on more and better recycling and increasing awarness and levels of responsible pet ownership. There will also be series of talks in different neighbourhoods. The Councillor said that these too would be open and at the latest would be held during October along with the presentation of relevant material.
Another part of the Adeje, Clean and Healthy, will be a series of talks organised by the Department of Health which will look at the health benefits of having a pet and the duties too. These initiatives will be promoted on a door-to-door basis, with groups from the environmental section of the council going from house to house with leaflets and explaining the campaign strands to residents of the borough. The campaign will also make use of a host of information aids such as travelling stands, environmental courses, recycling courses during Adeje Summer School, educational/recreational activities, photography competitions, pet tales and story telling, and theatre presentations to make sure the messages reach all corners of Adeje, as well as using the more traditional media such as radio, television, newspapers, digital media, posters and leaflets.
On the recycling side, the head of the Ascan Torrabonaf cleaning and recycling unit, responsible for the service in Adeje, said the new campaign in recycling is the result of the excellent level of participation generated by the first campaign which was inaugurated in Adeje in 2008. Francisco Valiños said that as a result of the current campaign Adeje today can boast a 35.5 kilo/resident recycling rate, the highest in the province and second highest regionally in the collection of glass. The regional average is 11.5 kilo/resident.
Valiño said there was already another increase in recycling recorded for the year 2013, and in the first three months of the year the town had deposited 826 tonnes of glass in the bins, with a parallel increase in plastics, tins and boxes.. This recycling also led to a direct reduction in the
amount Adeje pays for rubbish treatment by 10 per cent. “So as well as an environmental benefit, recycling saves money for Adeje’s residents”, he said.
He ended by saying that the next move the company was planning was to make was to introduce recycling units in the borough’s hotels.