Saturday, June 12, 2021

Mission Mexico: Serving with Compassion

I can now see acutely that my earlier notion of service, though noble and well-meant, was based on many previously hidden, naïve, and incomplete assumptions and orientations. It was based on the concept of “fixing” what is broken and “helping” what is weak from a position of being better and stronger, rather than coming from a deep inner place of humility to serve life as whole.
                                - Wong, Agnes M.F.. The Art and Science of Compassion, A Primer
The Mission Mexico truck — none of what follows would be possible without it

The truck is loaded and ready to go. My alarm is set for 5:30 in the morning. It will be an early start for a  busy four days in “the Mountain.”

There will be lots of time on the wet, muddy “roads” to think about the quote above from Dr. Agnes Wong, professor at the University of Toronto. As Mission Mexico, are we trying to “fix” what is broken, are we “helping” what is weak from “a position of being better or stronger,” or are we “coming from a deep place of humility to serve life as a whole”? In the end, I think that it is our impoverished Mexican friends who get to decide. But maybe if I share with you, the reader, some (and this is just some) of what will be happening during the next four days, you too can make a tentative decision. 

These children in Teocuitlapa like just playing on the back of the truck

My home is in Tlapa de Comonfort, a large town that is called the “heart of the Mountain” due to the fact that it is the major supply center for the 700 indigenous villages that make up “the Mountain.” Most of the roads to these villages are narrow, muddy, curvy — I can’t think of even a bad road in Canada that might be similar. There are three major indigenous cultures in the Mountain: na´savi, me´phaa, nahuatl. Each culture has its own language, its own traditions, its own way of doing things. The Mountain includes some of the most impoverished regions of Mexico. 
Some of the villages don't have a road, so one does what one must do to deliver assistance

One of my first stops will be in the village of Potoichan, in the hope that I might find there a friend called Rosalinda who recently graduated as a nurse. Rosalinda studied at the Champagnat High School of the Mountain, a school for indigenous youth begun in 2004; the installations were built with assistance from Mission Mexico. The school is run by a Mexican religious order called the Marist Brothers, and Mission Mexico continues to assist them with the salaries of the fourteen teachers. After high school, Rosalinda, assisted by a bursary from Mission Mexico, went on to study nursing at the state university. Rosalinda just recently received national recognition for her sobresaliente (“outstanding”) grades in all her areas of study. I hope to be able to congratulate her personally. 
Thevillages don't have gift shops, but the people creatively share, as you can see 

I will visit with Josefina and her family in Barrio Nuevo. At the end of February, I went with Josefina and her mom to the National Rehabilitation Institute in Mexico City, with the hope that the doctors there might be able to offer some hope for curing Josefina’s deafness. That hope didn’t work out, but at least the mother knows that she (assisted by Mission Mexico) did the best she could to try to help her daughter.
First trip ever to Mexico City for Josefina and her mother

In Rancho Macho, I will visit Esmeralda and her family. Esmeralda suffers from hydrocephalus, and Mission Mexico often assists the very poor family with food, medicine, or diapers — as well as delivering clothes or blankets or other items shared by the good people in Tlapa. 
Esmeralda received a carriage from a generous family in Tlapa; this is her bed

In Xochitepec, I will visit the seven children left behind when their mother drank last month paraquat, a highly toxic pesticide. Suicide is not common here, but it does occur. I have some meat, cheese, clothes, diapers, footwear, and school supplies for the children. Some of these items come from Mission Mexico; some come from good people in Tlapa. The children range in age from 8 months to 15 years of age. The children (and I) hope that Mission Mexico can continue offering them what my wise friend Warren Harbeck, from Cochrane, Alberta, calls a “hand up” — not a “hand out.” 
The two oldest children, Angela and Andrea, are great at looking after little sisters and brothers

I will visit in Río Hacienda with newly-widowed Alberta and her six children. Alberta’s husband died on April 10 when the passenger truck he was in went over a cliff; three people died. I have some medicine for the oldest daughter, Sofia, who survived that same accident. I have some meat and cheese and clothes for the family. And I have the updated and validated CURPs (official Population Registry ID) for the six children; all Mexicans, including children, are required to have this legal document. Mission Mexico paid almost $200 Canadian to obtain these documents which the poor father had “put off” getting. The children will now find it simpler to move from one school to another, and there is the hope that they can register now for some government assistance. 
Alberta in front of her house — six children to raise on her own now

I will visit in El Naranjo seven-year-old Yenicel. When she was a fun-loving five-year-old (and one of the smartest kids in her kindergarten class, says her teacher Felipe), Yenicel suffered an epileptic attack and stopped breathing for eight minutes. The cerebral and muscular damage left Yenicel bed-ridden, with the need to receive all of her nourishment through an intravenous tube to her stomach. I have a supply of PediaSure to leave with the family. PediaSure is a nutritional supplement that is formulated to support growth and promote immunity. It has made a difference in Yenicel’s life. The liquid supplement can be kept cool in a refrigerator that Mission Mexico brought to the family several months ago; the fridge was donated by a generous young woman in Tlapa. 
Being with Yenicel might be as close to heaven/God as I will ever get

I could go on and on. I will visit Pozolapa, Xilotlancingo, Tierra Blanca, Portezuelo, and other places. In all places, Mission Mexico will try to respond to the needs of the people with compassion. In the book that is quoted at the beginning of this blog, Dr. Wong writes the following. “For me, this is compassion: the ability to turn toward the truth of suffering with concern, care, and equanimity and with the wish to relieve that suffering …” 
These children in Majawa are comtent with gifts donated by people in Tlapa

This is one way Mission Mexico tries to serve here in the Mountain, besides the “approved projects” in health and education. It is, I believe, a most worthwhile attempt to come “from a deep place of humility to serve life as a whole.” These are our brothers and sisters; their reality is our reality. I say this humbly and gratefully. I am the most blessed person on the face of the earth to be allowed to be here and to call these people my friends. All of this would be impossible without the support of Bishop McGrattan, the Diocese of Calgary, and the good people from southern Alberta. In his book Sacred Fire, Father Ronald Rolheiser, OMI, refers to three stages of discipleship: essential discipleship (the struggle to get our lives together); mature discipleship (the struggle to give our lives away); radical discipleship (the struggle to give our deaths away). Mission Mexico practices radical discipleship. Jesus urges us: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends” (John 15:12–13, NIV). Thank you, friends of Mission Mexico, for your solidarity with the beautiful peoples here in the Mountain of Mexico. God bless you always.
Driving a four-wheel-drive truck on terrible roads means extra maintenance costs
on occasion. I am most grateful for solidarity in this part of the budget.
 

Thursday, October 8, 2020

COVID-19 IN THE MOUNTAIN

 

It is always a pleasure to say "Hi" to Valentina when I drive by her house

People have been writing to me and asking about the COVID-19 situation in la Montaña (the Mountain) of Guerrero. It sounds like a simple question, but I find it difficult to give a simple answer. Forgive me for trying to explain the situation as best I can. But first, please allow me to give a little background.

Rosalinda graduated as a nurse thanks to a bursary from Mission Mexico

The Mountain of Guerrero has about 500,000 people living in about 700 villages and towns and one city. That city is called Tlapa de Comonfort. It has a population of close to 100,000 people, and it is called “the heart of the Mountain.” The reason for this is that it is the main place to go to in order to find hardware stores, banks, paper stores, government offices, hospitals, clothing stores, hotels, gasoline stations, autopart stores, restaurants, universities, etc.

These women from Tototepec are eating the first cobs of corn from the 2020 crop

Most of the people in the villages and towns belong to one of three indigenous cultures: na savi, me phaa, and nahuatl. Take away the teachers and the governing officials in these places, and you are left with people who seldom have a full-time job but who have families to feed. Most of the people plant corn and beans and maybe some squash or other vegetable in the rainy season (June to October), but even with a decent crop, life is difficult, and everyone has to try to do something to earn a little bit of money.

A family in Tlapa gave me some used clothing that I could share with this family

If someone is fortunate enough to get a job in construction or in a store or working for a not-so-poor family, a common salary is 1,000 pesos a week. That is about 60 Canadian dollars a week – about 10 dollars a day if you are fortunate enough to have to work only six days a week. Take travel and food and lodging out of that 10 dollars a day, and little is left over for anything else.

Josefa was walking to town to sell a heavy bag of squash; fortunately,
I passed by with the Mission Mexico truck

So everyone has to do something. It can be working in one of the stores or restaurants or businesses, doing cleaning or dishwashing or whatever might be needed. It can be wandering on the streets to sell fruit or vegetables or shoe laces or needles and thread or tortillas or bread or pens or plants or sandals or T-shirts – you think of it, and someone sells it. Other families (with children and all) just pack up during the dry season and go to work in the huge agricultural fields that have irrigation in the northern part of the country of Mexico. Many people (especially the young) illegally enter the United States and send a bit of money home every month to help their needy families.

Two of Mission Mexico's best friends: Abel Barrera, director of the Tlachinollan 
Human Rights Center of the Mountain, and Father Cesar Ivan Balbuena Sanchez,
parish priest at St. Francis of Assisi inTlapa

So life is difficult at the best of times. Any unexpected circumstance (an accident; an illness; a loss of a job; a death) can turn a difficult life into an almost-impossible life. Health care is not free here, and many of the indigenous peoples avoid going to a hospital simply because they know they can’t afford the care. Many of the indigenous also feel left out or discriminated against if they speak only their native language.

Kenia received her bilingual teaching degree (Nahuatl and Spanish)
thanks to a bursary from Mission Mexico

Now throw in COVID. Schools were closed; offices were closed; restaurants were closed; travel was restricted. People lost their jobs. People were told to stay at home. How could they do this when that home had no food in it? People were told to keep a safe distance? How could they do that when they were struggling to sell items on the street to everyone who came near? They were told to wear a mask; most didn’t because they didn’t want to buy one or because they prayed to the Virgen of Guadalupe, so they trusted that she would protect them. On any given day walking the streets in Tlapa, I daresay that still, not 20% of the population are wearing a mask or even giving a thought to safe distance.

Some little friends in Barrio Nuevo

So is there COVID in the Mountain? Of course there is. But it is not necessarily documented, so it is impossible to give numbers. As mentioned, few people go to the hospital. When they do, it is often after everything else has been tried (prayers, incense, candles, cleansing), and the medical personnel at the hospital (there is only one that receives likely COVID patients) lament that they came too late.

Fortunately, Roberto recovered without going to a hospital

The prevalence of the virus means that even now all classes at all age levels are online; no schools are open to receiving students in the classroom. In the Mountain, this presents incredible challenges. There are so many places without Internet, without electricity, without computers, without parents who read and write to help their children. I have an incredible respect for the teachers of the Mountain who do everything they can to help their students in some way. But certainly, nothing is easy.

I was fortunate this day; the dirt road caved in, but I didn't roll down the ravine;
these men came and got me mobile again.

A huge factor in terms of life here is the number of Mexicans in the United States (and some in Canada) whose life was changed because of COVID there. Hundreds of Mexicans died in the United States; one of Mission Mexico’s partners here, the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center of the Mountain, has been playing a major role in repatriating the remains or the ashes of victims; this is an important reality to the native families in their indigenous cultures.

Meeting in Teocuitlapa with youth assisting in children's education in their villages

But hundreds, if not thousands, of Mexicans lost their jobs in the United States due to the closing of so many businesses there. That means no more monthly payments sent to the needy families in the Mountain. Families who before counted on that money to just barely get by are now facing misery as they struggle to survive on their own.

Modesta appreciated getting some eggs on this day

So what is life like here in the Mountain during this time of COVID? It is heart-breaking; it is difficult; it is super challenging; it is desperate in many instances.

Mike with Cepillo and Checo, two Mexican Marist brothers who help
coordinate the Champagnat High School of the Mountain

But it is not hopeless. Mission Mexico has more than twenty years partnering with Mexican friends and organizations in trying to bring life and hope to this poorest region of Mexico. Our efforts have had to adapt to new situations, but we have not abandoned the struggle – and definitely we have not abandoned the people. Our efforts to make a difference, especially in the areas of health and education, are not flourishing at the moment – but they are ongoing. Lives continue to be transformed, hope continues to be nourished, and love continues to hold the upper hand in this most difficult of times.

On many of the roads I travel, I come across more burros than other vehicles

Gratitude is extended to the people of the Diocese of Calgary for not abandoning Mission Mexico during the time of this pandemic. Yes, the closure of Catholic churches and schools in Alberta meant necessary cutbacks in the support that could be offered in the Mountain. But the people of the Mountain understand that COVID is afflicting life in Canada too, and they pray everyday for your well-being and health.

Little Yashira almost died in April; without Mission Mexico,
maybe she would have. But she is fine now.

Is the future uncertain? Of course it is; no one knows what is going to happen next. But the Diocese of Calgary is trying very hard to maintain its commitments here in the Mountain. Please, people of Calgary, please consider going to www.missionmexico.com on the Internet; you can learn more, and maybe you will feel called to share just a bit with the impoverished indigenous peoples here in the Mountain of Mexico. And please consider being generous with the diocesan-wide "Mission Mexico Collection" in parishes on the weekend of December 12-13. Thank you, and God bless.

Driving the mountain roads in early morning or late night often offers
some incredible skies


Saturday, July 4, 2020

National Award for Father Fred Monk in Canada



On July 1, 2020, the Governor General of Canada announced that Father Fred Monk, founder of Mission Mexico, was being awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (Civilian) for his labours on behalf of the indigenous, impoverished peoples in the mountains of the State of Guerrero, Mexico.

One of the reasons that Mission Mexico is able to provide assistance that truly transforms lives in the marginalized region of the Mountain of Guerrero is that we have incredible "partners" who accompany the people in their struggles for justice and life with dignity. One of those partners is the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center of the Mountain. When they heard that Father Fred Monk (founder of Mission Mexico) received the Meritorious Service Medal in Canada, the Tlachinollan team asked me to forward to him the following words of congratulations (I promise that the message is worth reading, to understand the world here and to understand the "quality" of our partners here):

Father Fred:
In the most difficult moments that Moses had to confront with the people of Israel,
he climbed the Mountain to strengthen his spirit and
to receive the tablets of the law of God.

One of the best teachings that Jesus left us
was the Sermon on the Mount:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, because the reign of heaven is theirs.”
A reign that has not arrived fully yet,
but that we continue building from the peripheries of the world.

Father Fred,
in your first visit to the Mountain of Guerrero,
you discovered the suffering faces of the children of the “people of the rain.”
You encountered simple, silent women
who live daily with a worldly suffering.
You were aghast at the subhuman conditions of their humble homes
where they eat and sleep on dirt floors.
You contemplated the furrows of hunger,
and you savoured the joy of eating corn with the common people.
You entered into the community-centered heart
of a sacred land.
Because the earth is a mother
who feeds her children
with the fruit of their labours.

On the crests of the mountain summits
the elderly wise women and men of these communities
read in the heavens the signs of the times.
They know if there will be abundance or if there will be drought
during the course of the year,
sickness or health among the families,
war or peace among the villages.
They pray that the sacred powers
calm their fury
so that the rain, the wind, and
the clouds be a divine blessing
that will cause the community’s corn fields to flourish.

The best gift from God
is to be a witness to this fellowship
that is practiced in the Mountain.

In the midst of the extreme poverty,
there lives a spirit of solidarity,
the fiesta that unifies families
around their patron saint
or around their mother,
the Virgin of Guadalupe.

The women and the men of the Mountain
understand life as a freely-given gift from God,
to whom they are to be always grateful.
For that reason, prayer
isn’t really prayer for them
if they don’t also present
an offering,
a candle,
and flowers.

With this simplicity and this mysticism,
the people of the Mountain
have evangelized us.

They have taught us how to really practice
the teachings of Jesus
in the midst of so many adversities,
both economic and technological.

Father Fred,
thank you for sharing your faith and your love
among the very least of the least
in this land forgotten by governments.
You continue being present among us here
through this life-giving project
that you so wisely baptized as
Mission Mexico.

You have allowed so many boys and girls
to be able to go on to higher education.
You have helped women and men in so many families
to receive training in different trades and professions.
Many people today, because of your assistance,
enjoy decent health.
They were able to have access
to lab tests, to medicines,
and on occasion, to be able
to bury a loved one with dignity.

We simply want to say to you,
as the team of Tlachinollan,
that you have been always with us in our labours
during our years of accompanying these peoples.
You have always been attentive to the neediest of the needy:
to battered and abused women,
to malnourished children,
to families in mourning
for the death of their father
in the fields of large agribusinesses.

Father Fred,
blessed is that moment when you, like Moses,
came to the Mountain;
and like Jesus, you have put into practice,
during your priestly ministry,
the gospel beatitudes.

You have been a prophet as well in your own land.
That is how we understand this recognition that you have received
from the Governor General of Canada,
the Meritorious Service Medal.

For those of us who know you,
We are filled with pride for you and we congratulate you.
Because we know that in your heart there resides
an infinite love for the sons and daughters
of this beloved plot of land:
the Mountain of Guerrero.

Receive our affection and our admiration.

Abel Barrera and the Tlachinollan team
                                            July 1, 2020


Thursday, March 5, 2020

LENT IN THE MOUNTAINS: SILENCE AND SIMPLICITY

The cross in Acatepec, a traditional symbol for Lent

Here in the mountains of Mexico, Lent has begun. A unique custom here is that two or three or four parishes celebrate each of the six Fridays of Lent: First Friday, Second Friday, etc., right up to the Sixth Friday, the Friday before Good Friday. Each celebration involves music, dancing, sporting events, fireworks, processions, etc. It’s just a little different from the Lent that I experienced growing up in Canada.
Can there be a better photo to symbolize simplicity?
I like the simplicity of this time of year. I spend a lot of time driving on the isolated dirt roads of the mountains, and I try to spend more time in silence and prayer. It is the middle of the dry season, so I don’t have to worry so much about mud or landslides. I always hope that this time will help me to be a more compassionate and loving person, and I am always aware that my being here, doing what I am doing, is due to the compassionate and loving persons in the Diocese of Calgary who support Mission Mexico.
First Friday with friends in Cuixinipa
Since one of Mission Mexico’s focus areas is education, I spend a lot of time trying to help young people find places to continue their educational journey. Sometimes things work out; sometimes they don’t. But even the effort seems to nourish hope, and hope, I am convinced, is one of the most life-giving gifts that one can share here.
Friends in Barrio Nuevo
Just last week I attended a ceremony where Icodia, a young woman from Cerro de la Garza, one of the highest and coldest and poorest areas of the mountains, received her accounting degree. This is a first for someone from her family and from her village. She expressed her gratitude to Mission Mexico for helping her achieve her dream; Mission Mexico gave her a monthly bursary for several years of her university career.
Icodia with her family on her special day
And Edgar, a young man who is in a wheelchair for life after a nasty fall in the mountains three years ago, is registering to study psychology at university in the fall. As I write these lines today, Edgar is coming out of anesthesia in a hospital in Mexico City; he was operated on this morning, and the doctors told his mother that the operation went well.
Edgar (in blue), with Lindsey and Gerardo
The young lady in the photo above graduated as a physiotherapist, thanks in part to a bursary from Mission Mexico, and she and two of her friends recently opened a clinic here in one of the larger (and poorer) neighborhoods of Tlapa. Most of their work involves home visits to people who are bedridden.
Lindsey and her fellow physiotherapists in front of their small clinic
Elizabeth, a young woman who fractured her spinal cord ten months ago, continues to try to walk. I was saddened when her father told me the other day that he was going to leave his family for a few months and go to work in the neighboring state of Michoacan. There he can earn 200 pesos a day picking tomatoes. Seven days work will earn him 1,400 pesos a week: almost exactly one hundred Canadian dollars. That’s about double what he can earn here in the mountains in a week. So even though he doesn’t want to leave his wife and daughter and son, he feels he has no choice.
Elizabeth can stand, and one leg is stronger than the other and allows her to move
And this past week I went to the Champagnat High School of the Mountain, in Potoichan, to celebrate the birthday of Brother Salvador, better known as Cepillo. This wonderful Marist brother has been with the school since its beginning in 2004, and Mission Mexico has been a proud partner with him in offering education to more than 200 students a year.
Brother Cepi, or Cepillo... his real name is Salvador
One of the indigenous students, Gabriela, read to Cepillo a speech that she had prepared. I will end this note with a part of her speech. I think it reflects not only on Cepillo, but on Gabriela and on all the people here in the mountains who are partners with Mission Mexico in the struggle for life with dignity, justice, and love.
Gabriela reading her speech to Cepillonish)
Gabriela stated:  Good afternoon, Cepi. More than anything, I want to congratulate you on this special day when we are gathered to celebrate another year of your life. I want you to know that you are a very special person, much beloved and a real fighter. There is so much to be grateful to you for; please forgive us for all of our actions that make you feel bad. We give you infinite thanks for always being there for us as a father and a friend. We thank God for placing you in our path to be a light, a guide who always speaks to us truthfully so that we can be better persons tomorrow. We thank you for your advice, your affection, your attention in any circumstance that befalls us. Thank you for being a unique person who always wants the best for us. Thank you for your laughter, for your joy, for your upbeat ways, and for you being a part of our lives.
This is Gabriela's full speech (in Spanish)
You could have easily decided to stay in your own house and form your own family and have many comforts and lived with your loved ones. Nevertheless, you gave up all of that; you opted to form a family that God wanted, like the family formed by Saint Marcelino to help the needy….

More than seeing you as a great Marist educator, I, in your face and in your being, encounter the reflection of my parents and grandparents. I see those grey hairs that make my imagination soar to dream of being like you someday and to share experiences with those who surround me. I see that smile that always encourages me, even when I don’t see a way out; your words always give me hope; you are like the password for a doorway when I feel lost. Your positive attitude always helps me to keep dreaming and struggling to fly higher. Even your way of walking gives me security, teaching me to not weaken on the journey and to keep my eyes centered on my goals…
Please pray for my friend Juve, who has cancer and is very weak; on Saturday I will
drive him to his home village of Alpoyeca; he wants to visit his elderly parents there


Friday, November 22, 2019

Educational Bursaries in "México Profundo" in 2020

In 1987, a Mexican ethnologist and anthropologist named Guillermo Bonfil Batalla published a book called "Mexico Profundo: Reclaiming a Civilization." "México Profundo" could be translated as "Deep Mexico," "Profound Mexico"—perhaps even "Real Mexico." For the author, what unifies and distinguishes "México Profundo" from the rest of Mexican society "is that they are bearers of ways of understanding the world and of organizing human life that have their origins in Mesoamerican civilization and that have been forged here in Mexico through a long and complicated historical process."
Many of the bursary recipients are graduates of the Marist-run Champagnat High
School of the Mountain, a school constructed and maintained in partnership with MMEX
Such are the indigenous peoples in the Mountain of Guerrero. Such are the peoples with whom Mission Mexico partners in their efforts for justice, dignity, peace, life. Those who do not identify with "Mexico Profundo" are, in the opinion of the author, part of "Imaginary Mexico"—a Mexico that does not exist but whose ultimate project is to uphold the dominant civilizational program geared towards what we might call "Western" values and goals. 
Sharing clothes in the Mountain before the cold season begins in December
As the indigenous peoples here in the 700 villages of the Mountain from the Na'savi, Nahuatl, and Me'phaa cultures strive to survive and dream of flourishing in Mexico today, the challenges are many. Mission Mexico's solidarity with the peoples involves especially two areas: health and education.
Hopefully my friend Braulio will grow strong and continue his education someday...
I often wish that Guillermo Bonfil Batalla had not died in 1991. I would love to talk with him about the solidarity projects sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Calgary and ask him about what he might consider its pros and cons. I daresay that it is impossible to have a "perfect" relationship when the rich or privileged or better-off interact with the poor and marginalized and forgotten—but I daresay that it is possible to have a relationship that is based on respect, listening, reflection together, joint decision making, and working together. And this is the "culture" that Mission Mexico tries to promote in its interactions with the peoples here. And Mexican "partners" here that collaborate with Mission Mexico, every bit as informed and astute as Guillermo Bonfil Batalla, continually accompany us in our journeys of solidarity.
The lack of electricity doesn't mean that supper can't be an enjoyable experience.
I recently sent to the Mission Mexico committee in Calgary a list of project proposals for 2020. This committee is composed of volunteers from Calgary who, out of the goodness of their heart, work to raise funds for Mission Mexico and to coordinate the use of these funds so that they are put to the best use here in the mountains. I actually felt bad when I assembled the different requests for bursaries that different young people had submitted to study a university career and forwarded these to the Mission Mexico committee.
Elizabeth fell and fractured her spinal column in June, but someday she hopes
to be able to continue studying.
Last year, in 2018, there were 27 students who wished to renew for another year their Mission Mexico bursary, and there were 13 new requests for a Mission Mexico bursary. This year, in November of 2019, there are 39 bursary renewals, and there are 36 new requests for a bursary. In other words, the numbers jump from 40 bursaries in 2019 to 75 bursaries requested for 2020.
This is the home of José, one of the present bursary recipients.
I have visited, spoken with, and know these young people. The need is real. Without outside support, the dream of a university education and a professional career will be just that: a dream. 
My 91-year-old friend Reyna, deaf-mute all her life, died last week. 
I share these thoughts with you, the reader, because, unless the donations to Mission Mexico increase in the very near future, it will be impossible for Mission Mexico to award 75 bursaries. At the moment, only God knows what will happen. But please, if you can assist in helping these young people achieve their goal, please consider a donation for Mission Mexico. Thank you.
Maria receives a MMEX bursary; her parents died; when I last visited Maria,
her grandmother prepared me breakfast on this, her "kitchen stove."
If you enter Facebook and go to MissionMexicoRC, you can see videos of a couple of bursary recipients and see photos of the reality of the mountains of Mexico. God bless.
Seven of these children walk three kilometers to school and three kilometers
back home each day. They appreciate the sucker from MMEX.