Update from Mexico
In Mexico, I do not get the pleasure to see children every day. I do not get to see the smiles, receive the hugs, and know that they are being taken care of. When I was in Guatemala, the number one thing that brought joy to my life was the children. As I walked to the school, I knew that I was going to receive many, many hugs, smiles, and laughter from the students. And they never faltered. These kids were happy. They were receiving an education. They were healthy. The school took care of their every need. But there were also many kids who did not get to attend this school. There were many who had to live in the streets, selling items to tourists on the street, or stay home alone all day, risking their health and safety.
Now that I am in Mexico, I do not get the pleasure to see children every day. I do not get to see the smiles, receive the hugs, and know that they are being taken care of. Most of the children I do see are currently not in school because of the teacher strikes going on throughout the country. I also see a lot of indigenous children when I am in the tourist, historic center. These kids are dressed in clothes that are specific to the community where they are from. These kids are also usually alone. I often see a child around the age of 7 having to take care of their baby brother or sister all day, while having to work trying to sell items to tourists. I have had children as young as 3 years old come up to me to sell me something.
I have a hard time with this. I could never imagine having my 11-year-old niece and 8-year-old nephew walk around town selling things, while taking care of my newborn nephew in the process. Could you imagine that with your own kids?
My mom and sister recently visited me here in Mexico. One afternoon we were walking around the tourist area and my sister wandered off to buy a soda. After taking a few drinks, a young girl walked up to her and started asking her a question. My sister doesn’t speak Spanish, so she asked for me to come over and help translate. The young girl, age 6, said, “Tengo sed.” She was thirsty. She was asking my sister if she could have her soda. My sister started to tear up and gave the girl her soda bottle. The girl said “Gracias!” and ran away. This happened to my sister two more times while she was in Mexico. Three times in one week!
When I am in the tourist center and have the extra money to purchase a few things from these children, I do. Sometimes I just give them a few pesos. I’m a softy. Some say not to buy from the kids because you are feeding the problem. So what is one to do? I don’t know how to fix the problem permanently. I don’t have the answer. If I did, I think I could win a Noble Peace Prize. There is only so much one person can do.
But there is something that you can do today in your own home! Global Ministries offers a child sponsorship program. In this program, you can safely adopt a child from 15 organizations in 10 countries around the world. You can choose the amount of money per month that you wish to donate to help further the health, education, and overall well-being for children, such as the ones described above. If you want to help these kids, this is the way to do it. 100% of the money you donate goes directly to the specific child you are sponsoring. There is no overhead.
I have attached a link to the Global Ministries website so you can process your sponsorship to a child today! http://globalministries.org/get-involved/child-sponsorship/
Lindsey Mercer serves with the Institute for Intercultural Studies and Research (INESIN) in Chiapas, Mexico, where she works as the assistant to the Program for Institutional Strengthening.