Sunday, March 8, 2015

To Educate Or Not to Educate

It's that time of year again in the mountains. The sisters (nuns) from Chalco have come to the mountains to see if families in the impoverished villages want to send their children with them in August so that they can continue their education after Grade Six.
Sister Areli and Sister Jasmín, Sisters of Mary
The Sisters of Mary operate two schools, each one called Villa de los Niños. The school in Chalco, State of Mexico, is home to about 2,500 young girls; the school in Guadalajara, State of Jalisco, is home to about 2,000 young boys. These students enter after Grade Six and can study either just junior high school or both junior high school and high school. These schools are specifically dedicated to children from impoverished families throughout the country of Mexico. The education offered is completely free; everything from shoes to gym clothes to pens to notebooks is provided to the students.

Sisters preparing tortillas for breakfast in Xochitepec
It is interesting to speak with people about these schools. Some people think that none of the impoverished children from the Mountain should go there. Their thinking is that three or five years away from the families "changes" the students, so that they no longer "fit in" with the indigenous cultures and customs. Other people think that yes, the ideal would be that these children could be educated in their own village, but if the choice is between no education or an education away from home, then the education away from home is better. Especially since the students do return home for the Christmas holidays and the summer vacation.
Some Grade Six students in Xochitepec: Eleuteria, Lorenza, Bernardina, Marisol, Minerva
The sisters at  the Villa de los Niños are aware that their students come from many cultures, and they try to help their students feel proud of their backgrounds. Many of the sisters working at the schools were themselves students there at one time. And many of the teachers in the Mountain studied at their schools.
Sisters Areli and Jasmín meet Maricruz and Claudia, two teachers in Xochitepec
who had studied at the Villa de los Niños
I have been on the road a lot these past few weeks, helping families from the more isolated villages get to the villages that the Sisters of Mary are visiting. And in a few minutes I will leave again for a road trip so that families from around Pascala del Oro might meet with the sisters. If all goes well, I will be back here in Tlapa on Friday (I am writing this on Sunday).
Sometimes going to a village seems to be like driving toward the moon
Most of the week I will stay overnight with the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit in their parish of San Marcos Xochitepec. That's an extra bonus to being on the road. Fathers Juan and Hector have been working there for two years now, and Father David arrived two weeks ago to join their pastoral team. Mission Mexico helps them with some of their projects with the people, and I continue to learn and to be amazed by the incredible accompaniment they offer to their communities.
Fathers David, Hector, and Juan celebrating Mass in their house
Thank you, supporters of Mission Mexico, for helping families here move closer toward the dreams they have for their children. People here are aware of your love and solidarity, and they are most grateful. Have a great week. God bless.
When I was driving Father David to Xochitepec, we met Rosendo,
one of the leaders in the village of Cuixinipa, walking along the road

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