Sometimes its hard to accept the differences between cultures. Like foreigners who come to Canada we might think we know what is best for someone else’s country. And so we try to make those changes. I was thrilled to get my 1st garbage can purchased, painted and put out on a corner. People are using it already. Perhaps there will be less litter on the street. I look forward to returning and offering English classes in Jan. Knowing English can help these people get better jobs makes this an important change.
But yesterday when I left for Canada my heart broke! I stopped at one of my neighbors – a very poor family with two little boys. They are only poor because the dad doesn’t want to work. However, its his wife and children who suffer because of this. So I asked him to clean up the weeds in front of my house for me. It was a short job and not too difficult. Before I left for the airport I stopped by to pay him.
When I called his name two beautiful little boys came running to greet me at the gate. They are 2 and 3 years old. Despite their dirty little faces and hands, blonde streaks stand out in their dark hair that curls at the ends. Big smiles covered their faces as they saw me. I asked them where there mom was and they told me she was gone. And so I asked for the dad. He was gone too. This 2 and 3 year old were home absolutely alone.
This is only the most basic of homes. Concrete walls, one main room, no fridge that I know of, no stove. I have seen them cook their supper over a fire. Their yard is all dirt and they share it with 4 very hungry dogs and a goat. There are lovely green trees for shade, and they each have a little riding toy. In the back they often burn branches and other garbage. I thought I had smelled smoke from their fire earlier.
But their they stood at the gate, home totally alone. I had no idea how long they would be like that. How or if they would find lunch in half an hour. Someone suggested maybe the dad went to the next town to hunt through garbage. Sometimes they find things they can sell. Perhaps mom was cleaning at someones place. It didn’t sound like she would be back soon and somehow she has to provide food for these children.
It killed me to say goodbye and leave them. Their little fingers were meshed in the chain link fence and their beautiful brown eyes stared through the holes. I wanted so badly to stay and be with them. They couldn’t get out because of the chain link fence. Nor could I get in. But as I walked away down the dirty dusty Mexican road getting closer with every step to Canada where we know this happens sometime, but we are so unlikely to see it, my heat was crying. Suddenly it seemed like a garbage can or an English class was so small.
But is it? Every little step, every time we reach out and make one small difference it makes this world a better place. Now I am aware these children are left alone. Perhaps in January I can help make a difference there. I hope so. Its not the first and it won’t be the last time they’ve been left that way. But each little step is one step closer to creating our loving world.