Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mexico Work Project: Saturday

Seeing as how Kent is now in Mexico again with another work project, I should probably tell you how the last one ended so you know what a pleasant day he can look forward to this Saturday. (Yes I messed with the time stamp on this post. I'm actually typing this a month late; but I want it to flow on my blog better, which is why it's in July.)

Saturday is the same with every work project. We clean up the camp, pack the cars, and head over to the orphanage to donate our leftover food and to play and say goodbye. The kids sang to us, we sang to them, and I cried through most of it.

Some of the young girls watched me quizzically, wondering why I was crying. Kent of course asked me to explain myself, which I couldn't do without creating more tears, which he found amusing. The tears were two-fold. Throughout the week, I was amazed by how happy and loving and service-oriented these children were. All of them came from bad situations, most from sexual or physical abuse. But none of them ever came across as victims to me. It was as if because they all come from similar backgrounds and find themselves together, they can move on and be helpful, happy people. Beyond that, I was struck with great gratitude for the full-time caregivers at the orphanages. At Buena Vida, Gabriel and Meche are a young couple with their own baby. Yet just a few months ago, they committed to essentially be foster parents for an ever-growing number of children. Their orphanage relies solely on donations, the majority of which come through A Child's Hope Foundation. They scrimp and plan, and even though they don't always know when or where the food and clothing and supplies will come from, they move ahead in this great work. The orphanage started with eleven children a couple years ago, and they now have 32 kids. I am amazed at the faith and love and patience of these good people who work to improve their situation so they can house and protect more children. Again, I was overcome with gratitude for good people like them. So my tears we happy ones. It was good to work closely for a week with good people: volunteers, children, and caregivers alike.

After saying goodbye, we drove a few minutes to La Fonda for breakfast. La Fonda is an oceanside restaurant that has been around for decades. Sitting there eating banana pancakes while watching dolphins and surfers and chatting with new friends is a very peaceful way to enjoy--and say goodbye to--Mexico.

With full tummies, we all hug and then disperse to our separate vehicles and make a run for the border.

The average wait time to cross the border in Tijuana is two hours, which means a little extra time to shop. We always get some hot churros from the vendors weaving between cars, and Kent and I even hopped out of the van for 20 minutes to browse the shops on the side of the road. Eventually we made it to the border, flashed our passports, and cruised into the U.S., where the stark contrast between the two countries is at once obvious. It is amazing to me that this little line drawn across a street determines a great deal about how a person born on either side will live out his or her life:

In a matter of hours we were landing in Salt Lake and picking up our kids, grateful to be home and grateful for the enrichment we'd had all week.

No matter how hard I work during these projects, I always come away feeling uplifted and blessed by the service to me of those whom I went to serve.

That is part of the reason I am excited to be working officially with the foundation. Beginning at the end of July, I am taking Sarah's place as Administrative Assistant/Work Project Coordinator at the foundation. With all five of my kids starting school, I'll have a few hours each week that I can give to the foundation, and I hope to take on more responsibilities there as my children get older.

Click the link if you want to learn more about A Child's Hope Foundation.

No comments: