Friday, March 10, 2017

"I Was Sick and You Took Care of Me"—Doña Modesta

Doña Modesta—she thinks that she is probably about eighty years old
Mission Mexico supports many different projects in the mountains of Guerrero. And it is a great blessing to live here and to be a link between Mission Mexico in Canada and the Mexican partners coordinating those projects. However, almost every day I become involved in activities that are not specifically a “project” of Mission Mexico. Doña Modesta is a perfect example of this.
Life is "back to normal" now for Doña Modesta
I was returning from a funeral in Xochitepec for Benito, a fourteen-year-old boy who was studying his third year of junior high school. On Monday morning his parents were calling him to get out of bed to get ready for school. When there was no answer, his father opened the bedroom door and found Benito hanging from the ceiling. No one knows why, but something led Benito to decide to end his life. It was a terrible shock to all.
Benito's classmates place flowers and candles on his gravesite
As I was driving by a solitary house in Plan de Conejo, I noticed an elderly woman sitting outside. I had a bag of fruit with me, and I decided that this woman might appreciate the bananas and mandarins. I stopped and offered her the fruit. She gladly accepted it. In broken Spanish (her native language is mephaa), she introduced herself as Modesta Gervasio Patricio. She said she appreciated the fruit because it was “soft,” and since she had only one tooth, it would be easy to digest. Modesta had fallen while gathering firewood three days earlier and had a cut on her right leg.
Modesta on the day I first met her
A week later I was driving by her house again, and I saw the door open, so I decided to greet her. Modesta was resting on her bed; she said her leg was very sore. A quick look suggested that the cut on her leg was infected. I tried to convince her to let me drive her to a doctor, but she said no; she had never gone to a doctor in her life.
Even someone as dozy as I am can recognize that something is wrong here
In Tlapa the next day I showed photos of her leg to a doctor. The doctor prescribed an injection against tetanus, an antibiotic, an anti-inflammatory, and medicines and materials to clean the wound. On Saturday I went with a nurse (Mariksa) and a translator (Jennifer) to visit Modesta. Jennifer was able to explain to Modesta exactly what the injection was for, how Modesta was to clean the wound in her leg each day just as Mariksa was cleaning it, and when she should take the pills that we were leaving with her. Hearing all of this in her own language made it easy for Modesta to agree to everything.  
Mariksa did a great job of cleaning the wound on Modesta's leg
I also left with Modesta a box of food and supplies. Modesta laughed about eating “store food” after eighty years of eating “natural” food. She also asked Jennifer, the translator, why Mike was so white. When we left, I promised to return a week later to see how she was doing.
Probably the largest supply of "store stuff" that Modesta ever received
Modesta proved to be a very good patient: she took her pills and she cleaned her wound carefully. As I write this now, she is back to gathering firewood for herself and not worrying so much about her leg. Life is “back to normal” for her.
Photo taken three days ago in front of Modesta's house
Activities such as this involvement are common for me. Six weeks ago a young woman here fainted at work and was taken to the hospital; she was diagnosed with leukemia; the doctor prescribed a treatment. On Sunday I went to see how she was doing. She hadn’t started the treatment because her family didn’t have the 4,000 pesos ($250 Canadian) for the treatment. Thanks to Mission Mexico, Lupe is now receiving treatment. (Lupe doesn’t want her employer to know that she is as ill as the doctors say, so I won’t include her photo; she is scared that she will lose her job.)
What a gift it is to be able to assist Modesta in her time of need!
And it was possible due to those who support Mission Mexico.
Thank you to everyone who supports Mission Mexico. It is a challenge just to finance the projects approved for 2017; unexpected activities like assisting Modesta and Lupe and others put an extra strain on finances. Please consider making a donation to Mission Mexico; I can promise you that your generosity will make a difference in the lives of very needy people. Thank you.

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