When I arrived in Papalotla, where we had our mid-trek retreat, I was put off by how quaint and tranquil it was. I had gotten used to the dusty roads and grey buildings in Chimalhuacan. I had forgotten there was more to Mexico.
Discussing what we observed with the team helped me realize how often I see poverty and dismiss it as "inconveniences". Realizing this made it more difficult to go back to "work" with our organization in Chimalhuacan. We basically put on a vacation bible school for the children in the community. The children here are more difficult to work with than children I've dealt with int he past. In the past week I've seen them fight, steal, lie, cuss, hurt others, and disobey teachers. Some days were good, but there are times when I wanted to scream at them because I coudln't take how disobedient and rowdy some of them were. However, when I've calmed down and reflect on their situations, many of which include neglect or abuse, I can have understand.
Today our team was debriefing with Beauty, one of the missionaries we've been workin with, and she told us that she notices Chemo, a four year old boy who is very hard to control, was wearing the same clothes all week except on Friday. She told us some of the eleven and twelve year old boys have already begun using drugs. Many of these children have no role models. It makes me wish I could have been better to them and that I hadn't been so ready to give up and go home. If their parents and teachers aren't caring for them, and I can't put up with them for a few hours a day, who will? I want to love them.
Two days ago, I was walking out of a bakery with one of our directors and three boys from the classes biked past me and stopped to say hi. We didn't talk very long, two minutes maybe, but I was touched that they would take the time to talk to me, one of the American teachers, when I hadn't even noticed him. I don't know what their future holds, and I probably will never know. But I hope they will know that they are loved by God.
I am realizing that in the week of classes I probably didn't teach the children very much, but I hope that putting them in touch with Servant Partners will give them greater opportunites and the opportunity to be cared about.