Sunday, July 20, 2014

"I ask your forgiveness..."

Mail service can be slow in Mexico, and I received the other day a letter written a month earlier by Gudelia. The Marist University in Mexico City offers a scholarship to certain students who show leadership qualities while attending the Marist high school in Potoichan, and Mission Mexico helps with transportation, food, and books. Gudelia is one such young person. 
A new day dawning in the mountains
In the following letter, Gudelia states: "I ask your forgiveness..."  I daresay that she need ask for no forgiveness. I hope that you, the reader, will agree with me. Here is a translated version of her letter:
Families all over the mountains are busy in the fields
Xalpitzahuac, Guerrero  --  June 16, 2014

Mission Mexico:

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Gudelia Galvez Abarca and I am one of the young people receiving a bursary from Mission Mexico. I finished my first year of university studies last summer (2013) at the Marist University in Mexico City. Thank you very much for the support you offered me.
Every plant gets individual attention
 The reason for this letter is to inform you that this coming summer (2014) I am not going to be able to study because of health problems. I get terrible headaches; sometimes I can hardly stand and  I often get dizzy. The doctor tells me that these are called “migraines,” that I have to be very careful to not over-exert myself, and that I have to rest each time I feel the headaches coming on. He says that I have to be sure that I get adequate rest every night. For this reason, I have decided to not go to Mexico City to study this summer. For me it would be a real risk, and I prefer to not study this summer with the hope of getting better. God willing, I will be able to continue studying next summer.
Mexicans occasionally use scarecrows in their fields
I suspect that my headaches have something to do with my mother’s death. She was diagnosed with a malignant cancer in September 2013. The first sign was what looked like a pimple on her face, but it kept spreading, and in the end she was blind and couldn’t even open her mouth to eat.
Each of these "adornments"outside the chapel in Caxitepec represents
a family´s prayer to chase away the nahua ("spirit") of an illness
I felt responsible because I am the oldest of the six children, so I accompanied her, along with my father, to visit several doctors. During several months we went to different hospitals. This meant many expenses: medical tests, medicines, transportation, and food. We even went to the General Hospital in the State of Mexico.
I was able to make it down this road, but I opted to come back by a different route
 Unfortunately, nothing was able to be done, so we took her home in the month of December. Here, my brothers and sisters and I looked after her as best we could, but it was very difficult. Her face seemed to be being eaten away. We felt desperate as we watched her slowly dying, especially because we often had no money for expenses or for medicines for her pain. My mother finally passed away on January 31, 2014. My mother now rests with God, and I know this is best for her.
This is the kind of farming that keeps Gudelia´s family alive
 The truth is that I feel that this experience has a lot to do with my own health problems. I had headaches when I was going to the doctor with my mom or when I was looking after her during her last weeks of life, but I had to be strong for her and my little brothers and sisters, so I just kept going. They came before me. And now I really am ill. Sometimes I think I’m going to pass out and it’s tough to keep my eyes open. And even small noises seem to hurt my ears.
What life in the mountains can look like in the early morning
 I ask your forgiveness for not studying this summer, and I thank you for listening to me. I hope that you understand me. I would like to humbly request that, if it’s possible, you might be able to support me next summer (2015). I have faith that I will recover my health and be able to continue studying.

Gudelia Galvez Abarca

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