Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Beauty Given Back...to Flora

Deliver it, early now, long before death,
         give beauty back, beauty, beauty, beauty, 
                   back to God, beauty’s self and beauty’s giver.
-       Gerard Manley Hopkins, The Golden Echo
Flora will now be able to enjoy her early-morning sunrises
“Give beauty back…long before death.” I thought of that line as I drove Flora back to her village of Agua Tordillo. For forty-one years Flora had not seen beauty. From the time she was born, all she had seen were shadows; she had never even seen the mountains that surrounded her all of her life.
Flora being led to the operating room in the MAS Clinic
But on November 10 Flora had an operation in the MAS Clinic in Tlapa. A group of specialists from Mexico City comes to the MAS Clinic each November for four days of eye operations, and this year Mission Mexico arranged that Flora be one of the recipients of these operations. The doctors say that the operation was a great success.
Flora with her husband, Regino, and with Dr. Jorge Castro, founder of MAS
Afterwards, during the five-hour drive back to her village, Flora was full of questions. “Is that a mountain?” she asked about a big hill. “Are the mountains always this beautiful?” “Is the sky always this beautiful?” As we rounded a curve and Agua Tordillo came into sight, she asked “Is that my village?” Hearing that it was, she added, “It is even more beautiful than I had imagined.” No wonder I thought of Hopkin’s lines about beauty.
Flora and Regino at home with four of their six children
I confess that we almost didn’t make it to Tlapa for the operation. The night before leaving Agua Tordillo, it rained all night, and sections of the road became pure mud. It was a battle on at least two occasions, even with four-wheel drive, to make it uphill. But a lot of spinning (and several attempts) eventually got us through.
I think the tires give an idea of how parts of the road were in the early morning
On Saturday I will bring Flora back to Tlapa for a follow-up consultation. I am hopeful that a neighboring family will allow their son Braulio to come for a checkup. Now that Braulio’s family can see that medical care can make a difference, maybe they will be willing to let Braulio leave the village for the first time in his life. It is evident from Braulio’s eyes that he has some kind of illness.
I am hopeful that Braulio can have some medical tests in Tlapa
This beautiful gift of sight was a wonderful follow up to the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead just a week earlier. I was privileged to accompany villagers in their homes and in their cemeteries. I placed candles and flowers for my deceased parents in several places, but it was the night ceremony in Tototepec that was special for me. Since I was a visitor with no personal tomb, I was instructed to leave my candles and flowers below the huge cross in the middle of the cemetery.
The cross in the center of the cemetery in Tototepec
Thanks to all the supporters of Mission Mexico who helped Flora recover her sight and who help so many others in their struggle to transform lives here in the mountains. This coming year of 2017 will undoubtedly be a challenging one (not least because of the new government in the USA), and Mission Mexico will continue to do what it can to partner with the impoverished indigenous peoples in their efforts for life, dignity, and justice. God bless you for being in solidarity with these efforts.
A friend sent to me a photo taken as I placed flowers and candles for my deceased parents

No comments:

Post a Comment