Thursday, August 18, 2016

Back to School in the Mountains

Education cannot be neutral. It is either positive or negative; either it enriches or it impoverishes; either it enables a person to grow or it lessens, even corrupts him. The mission of schools is to develop a sense of truth, of what is good and beautiful...If something is true, it is good and beautiful; if it is beautiful; it is good and true; if it is good, it is true and it is beautiful. And together, these elements enable us to grow and help us to love life, even when we are not well, even in the midst of many problems. True education enables us to love life and opens us to the fullness of life.
                        -- Pope Francis—May 10, 2014
This is one of the most challenging times of year here, trying to assist families as they arrange educational opportunities for their daughters and sons. In the villages families often lack official documentation and often have no idea about the requirements in different schools and universities. It is amazing the amount of sacrifice that so many young people are willing to endure just to be able to continue their education.
Just a few of the many young people supported by Mission Mexico so that they can study
Mission Mexico has a scholarship/bursary program to assist some students who have exhibited leadership skills as well as an evident desire to be involved in transforming the reality of their impoverished villages. As Abad phrased it recently in a note he wrote, Cada quien con una carrera diferente pero por un mismo propósito: Ser para ServirThat translates into: “Each one with a different career but for the same goal: To Be to Serve.”
A view of the Champagnat High School of the Mountains, a place where students
are encouraged "To Be to Serve."
Of course, the rainy season doesn’t make it any easier to travel from the villages to the cities where there are universities. Just last week I tried to get to a village called Plan de Gatica, but I had to give up; there were at least six places where the road had either been washed out by the torrential rains or where there were huge mudslides blocking the road. And I had to take a different route back to Tlapa because of a huge mudslide that blocked the road between Xochitepec and Aguatordillo.
Recent photos along the mountain roads
I was fortunate enough to be able to get to the village of San Marcos without any serious problems. Juana, who suffers from epilepsy, had passed out in her house, and her foot fell into some burning coals in the middle of the floor. The doctors in Tlapa did what they could and wanted her to go to Mexico City, but her elderly parents insisted on bringing her back home to her village.
Hopefully Juana's family is cleaning her burn regularly, as instructed by the doctors
Before I left San Marcos to return to Tlapa, Doña Simona, Juana’s mother, insisted that I accept a gift for helping them return to their village. So I now have in my room here a wonderful servieta embroidered by Doña Simona.
Doña Simona offering me a servieta as thanks for bringing her daughter home to her village
Last week was also a sad one for me because a very good friend of mine who worked as a taxi driver in Tlapa was savagely murdered. I first met Ricardo Diaz more than twenty years ago, and he always had a ready smile for all. He joked about accompanying me to Canada once the visa requirement is lifted for Mexicans (something supposedly scheduled for December of this year), but, alas, such will not happen now.
Ricardo, thanks for so many great memories
So the days fly by, and I always seem to have something to do. I was going to write this blog last night, but at about seven o’clock four students showed up at my door and said that they didn’t have all of the papers that they needed to start school today. So I drove them to their village to get the missing documents; we got back to Tlapa at 11:30 PM. Tired but content that these students can continue their education…
Mike in San Marcos Xochitepec; the smaller stone represents St. Mark of the Rain
The rain will continue for a few more months. Here in the mountains it is Saint Mark who is associated with the rains. So far Saint Mark has been doing a good job. Hopefully he will continue to be happy for a more more months…
This photo of Father Juan Molina, MSpS,, was taken by Beatriz Alessio;
Juan is one of my best friends, and I love the photo...this is the real Juan...
Thanks to all who support Mission Mexico and help to make a difference in the lives of these beautiful, noble people. Enjoy the last few weeks of August. God bless.

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