¡Mexico! Part 1: Ruth Ann Matthews
Fifteen travelers from Douglass Boulevard Christian Church arrived at Casa Hogar in San Luis Potosi Mexico on Tuesday July 17th. There are 13 folks in the group who have been here on past mission trips and a couple of new people this time. All of us arrived safely and with great anticipation about the experiences the coming week will bring.
For those of you who do not know about Casa Hogar...... it is a children’s home that has been operational for almost 40 years and is currently run by a wonderful couple, who themselves grew up at the home. Depending on the circumstances, between 25 and 35 children, ages 4 to 17 , boys and girls live here. To the outside observer (of which I am one), this is a very loving, well organized, and extremely happy family.
The children are one of the reasons I made this trip again. They are some of the most extraordinary children I have ever met. As noted above they are extremely loving. They are always willing to give hugs, play games, and laugh at my poor pronunciation and lack of of the Spanish language. They are so happy to see us again, hanging out in our rooms, helping with chores, curious about what activities we are planning, wanting to know if they are included.
I was here last year and recognized some of the children and was delighted that some of them also recognized me. They called me “the chocolate americana” - I always had peanut M&Ms to share. So although I thought maybe they remembered me for my unique personality, I fear it was probably the candy. I am rooming with Mary and Christina. They were nice enough to let me have the bed (I am the oldest), while they are sleeping on mattresses on the floor.
The first day we were here, we made the obligatory trip to Walmart. Pillows were one of the items on the top of my list, along with snacks and drinks. Of course, there will be several more Walmart runs before the end of our visit.
This morning, chores were divvied up among three teams, electrical, plumbing, and general decorating. There were plans to update the wiring in the girls dormitory, insure all toilets were working, and install new shower heads. Trying to provide some warm water for showers would also be greatly appreciated. The general decorating team - of which I am a member - is putting up shower curtains in the bathrooms, and window curtains in about 4 dormitory rooms and the living room. Perhaps some painting is on the horizon as well.
This evening we went to the fabric store to purchase material to make some new curtains - after insuring that the sewing machine worked. I provided measurements in inches and feet, only to find out that the material was measured and priced in meters. It’s a good thing Selene was with me to interpret and to laugh.
At this time, most everyone is already in bed. It takes a little while for all the girls to settle down. I can hear faint conversations from one end of the hall to the other. If our light is on, that is an open invitation for little visitors . The group from Louisville at least the women anyway, never seem to have any trouble falling asleep once we get settled in.
So now we are at the end of day 2, with an excursion planned tomorrow to visit a neighboring city. Yes I am glad I am here. I chose to disconnect from all electronic devices. So having no newspaper, email, internet, TV, or cell phone usage enables me to be present in the moment all the time ( Just so you know - I am typing this blog entry on someone else’s computer and they will be posting it to the Internet). What a change from my normal life .... where cell phone calls, and emails begging to be read and answered is always the norm .... Where people worry about countless activities and plans every minute of every day. I’ve got a million things waiting to be done myself ----get an estimate on a new roof, schedule a haircut, and schedule maintenance service for my car,etc. But not now.....What a nice change of pace not to be bothered with all of that for just a little while. And if truth be told, it is nice to know it will all be waiting for me when I return home. But for now, for tomorrow and the next 6 days, I will disconnect from all of that, and I will be here. And all things considered, it’s a great place to be.