Thursday, February 13, 2014

Not for the Faint of Heart

How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of the one bringing good news. 
(Isaiah 52:7, NAB)

I often think of these lines of the prophet Isaiah as I am driving the roads of these mountains of Guerrero. I know that I am exceptionally blessed to be allowed to be here with these beautiful people, and I hope that my presence, representing all the Canadians who support Mission Mexico, signifies “good news” to the many persons I encounter.

Of course, a lot of the time I am not thinking of anything other than staying on the road. These roads are not for the faint of heart; they are often narrow, and any vehicle that goes off the road could roll down the ravines for hundreds of meters. Here are just a few photos from my visit to several villages on Sunday:
Road near San Juan Puerto Montaña
Road near Zitlacayotitlan
Road near San Marcos
A cross marks the site where a truck went off road
Road near Yukunduta
And one of the joys of travelling these roads is that I often come across unexpected blessings. The other day I picked up an elderly man walking to his village, and in our conversation, when it became known that I was from Canada, the gentleman said, “I know someone from Canada. His name is Padre Lorenzo, and in 1979 he gave me a Bible.” Of course, “Padre Lorenzo” was “Father Lawrence” Moran, SCB, who wandered these same roads for many years in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. The reason that the man remembered the name of Father Moran is the fact that he shares the same name: Lorenzo.
Don Lencho, recipient of Father Moran's generosity
Another joy is to receive the hospitality of the families in the villages. I am often invited to share a plate of beans or eggs, always accompanied by hot tortillas. On Sunday Doña Obdulia, in the village of San Marcos, insisted that I eat with her family. Her elderly mother, who speaks only Mixteco and who has never left the village, was there as well.
Abuelita (Grandmother)
The children are another blessing. Living in poverty doesn’t mean that they can’t be creative and find other ways to have fun. Take a look at this seesaw that the children were playing on in San Miguel Amoltepec el Viejo:
Children playing in San Miguel Amoltepec el Viejo
The people who were displaced from their homes after the terrible rains in September are still trying to get support from the government. Last week the roads in and out of Tlapa were blocked for two days by about 2,000 protesters from 200 villages in the mountains. This is the kind of housing that they have at the moment:
Scene driving into San Miguel Amoltepec el Viejo
My friends, I will say “So long” for now. I have to go to El Tejocote, one of these “camps” of displaced families, to deliver a bundle of about thirty blankets. I know the people there, and I admire them because they asked for these blankets for the elderly people in the camp, not for themselves. It’s always easier to do something that helps all the people in a place rather than just a few; it’s easy for jealousies and resentments to arise among the people “left out.” But in this case, the community decided that the elderly needed “a little extra.”
One side of the road in El Tejocote

Other side of the road in El Tejocote
Thanks to everyone in Canada for your support for Mission Mexico. My gratitude and my prayers accompany you. Have a wonderful week.
Walking and thinking and praying in Mexico

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