Not sure if it’s the heat or the Crohn’s, but the dizzies are coming back again. Usually I can just take a deep breath and wait for it to pass. It’s not to the point of passing out, so I should be good the rest of the trip. I’m still just eating eggs for breakfast, a stir-fry for lunch and dinner, and as much pineapple as I can handle. I think the Lara bars are a good supplement, and there is no way I could do this without them! My side feels better today…..no dull ache. I’m very glad about that. All in all, I am very pleased that I’ve been able to go to Mexico with Crohn’s and survive. 🙂
This morning I took the kids down to the beach for a short playtime. Even though the water was calm and we only were in up to my knees, it was amazing how much power the waves hold as they pull back into the ocean. I had a hold of both kids with a vice-grip, and we had a great time playing.
We traveled to a market later this morning. It wasn’t quite what we expected though. Mark and I both remember shopping in Mexico City, and how we were not harassed at every turn to spend our money. Instead we were able to just browse at our own leisure and enjoy the day. Since PV is a tourist town, they are used to rich American’s coming and spending money, and I guess we look the part. Sigh…..One guy even got it right as he said,”come buy more junk!” That’s right…most of it is just little trinkets that will quickly be forgotten. Still, it was good to get out of the resort area and into a more local area, even if it wasn’t what we thought it would be. We found a few things to buy, and the kids got some “treasures.” I didn’t want to stop, but the rest of the family was done being in the heat, so we left and came home. The taxi driver tried to get Mark to buy some cocaine on the ride back, which was an interesting bit of local “color.” No, he doesn’t do any, so it just ended up making him mad at the guy. Thankfully the trip back to the hotel was short. 🙂
Tonight we go back to the dump. Even though this is an optional time, I think our whole group is going. I’m glad about that. I feel we are here to serve, and so it’s important to serve whenever we can, wherever we can. I think it will be good for my kids to see, one more time, what it’s like to live with virtually nothing.
Before we went out to the dump tonight Veronica took us by a tamale stand. My goodness, those things were huge! And they smelled oh so good. I love authentic Mexican food, and so wished I could each one. Maybe I will be able to another year.
I’m amazed at how much of the Spanish is coming back just in being here a few days. I find a comfort in being able to go up to people and at least converse a bit. I still have a long way to go though!
Our driver took us from the tamale stand out to the areas surrounding the old dump. As I’ve explained, these people live in poverty. No other way to say it but that. We took the same route we did last time. It was so cool to hear our driver sound out the call for food: BEEPBEEP, BEEPBEEPBEEP. Over and over again until kids started running after the bread truck like my kids do after the ice cream man, and people start the emerge from their houses. They know where we are going, and by the time we get there already a line of kids is waiting at the truck. I help this time with bagging the bread. The kids each get one sweet bread or donut, and we take 3 breads and put them in a sack for the adults. I don’t get to interact with the people much at this stop because I’m busy getting things ready to hand out. Pretty soon we move on to the next area.
It is light out this time as we drive by the dump. We can see even more clearly the people inside, sorting garbage, or sitting in their “sorting” area, taking a break. The smell is the same as before….rank garbage. I see again the buzzards sitting atop the big hill before I go and bag some more bread. This was the stop last time where the mom had her 2 month old girl who didn’t have a name. I so wanted to see them again. There was a faint hope inside of me that maybe we could help her give her child a name. But…..I didn’t see her. There are many stops, and we soon load up to go to another neighborhood.
This next neighborhood was one that we did not visit before. As we got out of the vehicles we saw the shacks. These are not houses made of bricks and stone, like some of the others were. Those at least were solid, if lacking in comfort. These houses were like “pretend” houses….the type of houses you would make as a child out of whatever you found lying around in the grass or the kitchen or the recycling bin. They were very basic structures; I’m sure with a dirt floor, and a basic roof and walls. Dirt courtyards were littered with old furniture and toys. Looking down a street I see kids smiling as they carry their bread and candy back to their “homes.” Many of them have no shoes, and their clothes are dirty and ill-fitting. In one place the family is cooking. There are about 5 adults sitting under a makeshift canopy. They have cut a hole in the middle of a 55-gallon drum, and into this they place whatever wood they can find to make a fire. On top of the drum is a bit pot of something cooking. A woman comes out with dough for tortillas. She rolls them out by hand, quickly wipes a rag across the top of the drum, and places the tortillas there to cook. There are many adults at this place, and even though it looks like there are plenty of tortillas, I know there will not be enough to go around. Pretty soon the tortilla lady comes and asks for bread, and we gladly give some to her. There is an old camper trailer on one corner, with an awning out the side. This would look like a good place for someone to live, I would think. And then I look behind at the 15-foot pile of trash that serves as their backyard. I cannot imagine my kids living in an area like this. The roofs to the houses look no more than 6 feet tall. And all of them look as if a stiff wind would blow these down houses of cards.
Our next stop is at the dump. We are prepared this time, so it doesn’t take us by surprise. We have lemons to bag and give out this time, and before I can even get started on this task there is a line of 20 people waiting to be served. We dig in and do the job, and everyone gets fed. It seems to go by very fast. When we are done, I look around. I wanted to find the man I spoke to the other night, the one whose heart was so different. My heart was drawn to talk with him again. I saw him by the truck, talking with our driver. He had on the same dirty clothes, and the same dirty hat, as he did the other night. I walked up, put my hand on his shoulder, and said, “Senor, como estas?” (Sir, how are you?). He looked over, smiled a big wide smile, and shook my hand. We tried to talk with each other, but the Spanish he was using had lots of words in it I didn’t know. Again, my heart understood the jist of what he was saying, but his smile and hand motions told the world of his story. I wanted clarification, to make sure I understood, and so I asked Veronica to come and help. She said that he is just so thankful in his heart for God, and how he provides. Every day he provides the bread that he eats. His needs are taken care of, and he trusts his God to do that. He is happy because he knows all will be okay. I was so touched by his faith. When you literally have to have the faith for your daily bread, to believe in “give us this day our daily bread´ you have a mighty faith indeed. I asked Veronica what his name was, later, and she told me it was Chabba Salvador. She also told us that when his children were little, their mother abandoned them, and now he works in the dump to support himself and his two kids. I want to remember Chabba, and pray for him. He has touched my heart with how simply he trusts God. It is a lesson I need to carry each day in my life.
We leave the dump, and make one more stop. There are a few kids that come here, but not many adults. We see the girl with the injured leg again, and wonder how she is. We saw her the other night, and Pastor Bill (the one with the healing charge on his life) prayed for her foot. I couldn’t really figure out how to ask her how her foot was, but that’s okay. We fed her again, and I’m certain that one day soon she will walk without her crutches again.
This was an amazing night. We fed 324 people with simple pieces of bread. Yet look at how much their hearts and souls are being fed. As we walked back to our vans from the dump, smiles of genuine gratitude graced the beautiful faces of the people. I saw a Spider Man doll clinging to the fence that surrounds the pile of dirt that was the old dump. He clings there seemingly with hope, not letting go, just as these people here do. I smiled in the fact that someone still believes in heroes, enough to put him up there.
I think this church and all that they are doing qualifies them as being heroes.