When I say the words ‘Mexico’ what would come to mind? Ocean, palm trees, all inclusive, relaxing, beautiful 5 star resorts, cervasa …what else? Perfection – paradise. I have travelled to paradise many times to the point where it was beginning to become ‘sure I guess I’ll go there’. Nothing against Mexico it’s beautiful, but one can only do so much Mexico over a life time before you start craving more. Which is what lead me to the experience I had today.
As I get older I feel a need and passion help others – I want to see the true country I’m visiting and it means so much to me to be able to spread good karma and good will. One afternoon while running at the gym a World Vision commercial came on. The same ones you see all the time, they break your heart but you don’t really do anything about it. I finally did and sponsored a young Spanish girl from South America. It felt so good. What shocked me was when I was scrolling through the countries where you could sponsor children Mexico came up on the list. We all know that Mexico and it’s people are not incredibly well off, and that tourism is one of it’s major income providers however I never suspected that they had such a great need for money and support.
While in Mexico this week for a wedding I decided I was going to see the REAL Mexico. Not Playa Del Carmen, not Cancun – but instead I travelled to a small Church ran orphanage outside of Cancun. I can honestly say I was moved beyond words – and as I write this I fight back tears at what I saw.
After spending less than what it would cost to go snorkelling for two, over 20 tooth brushes, numerous scribblers, pencils, pencil crayons, crayons, colouring books, books, hot wheels, diaper wipes, disposable razors, soap, baby toys, bubbles, a soccer ball, tooth paste among other things were purchased to bring to this orphanage. I remember driving down the road going ‘oh my god – how could anyone live in this?’. Imagine your backyard being nothing but garbage, you don’t have a two story home, there are bugs everywhere, the heat is blistering with absolutely no air conditioning. One stove, one very small fridge. You do not run electricity during the day because you can’t afford to. All you have is donated to you by the people in your community – when really, not many others have much. THIS. IS. HOW. YOU. SURVIVE. Through the generosity of others. From others who have little to nothing themselves. I asked one girl, if she knew her parents (we had translators with us), and she jumped up and said ‘No, they’re both in jail’. A 5 year old girl lives knowing her parents are in jail. I asked the Sister running the orphanage if it was likely these girls will be adopted, she simply said, ‘No, very unlikely.’
A box that was brought to these small kids, you could not believe the pure ENJOYMENT and EXCITEMENT that spurred from them. Which made me so sad because they were the bare necessities. How often do you see a 5 year old boy squeal in joy to receive a single Hot Wheel car? Or a 5 year old girl look like christmas because she received a dollar store book? These kids had nothing, and to be thanked over and over by the Sister, that two random people with no connection to them came to help them meant so much. The most important and moving part was when these children ran to me, a blonde hair blue eyed white stranger and all they wanted to do was hug me and ask if they could have their photo with me. The first girl spoke to me in Spanish and then asked me to help her tie the bow on her dress.
It is hard for me to keep writing because this is an experience I truly hope and wish many of you will undertake. Yes, enjoy your trip to Mexico or any other beautiful country which depends on our tourism, but do not forget why it’s so cheap for us, and stop taking the little things for granted. I took photos to document my experience. I hope you all can see through the photos what I saw with my eyes.