Tuesday, December 17, 2013

love enough to share

I had dinner last night with my friends Ed, the artist, and his wife, Roxanne -- also an artist: of photography.

While we were enjoying our French-inspired meals of rabbit, I realized I had not yet published any photographs of the dedication of Ed's mural at the Indian school.  That was a week ago Sunday.

The attention accorded Ed was well-deserved.  And not just for the mural.  The mural is a marvelous piece of art.  Summarizing Ed's vision of Mexico.  What it is -- and especially what it could be.  A country that cares for all of its people.

Ed and Roxanne have put that vision into action through their work with the Indian school.  The Revolution made great strides in widening the definition of what it meant to be Mexican.  Unfortunately, Mexico's Indian tribes were not included in the same way that the mestizo population was.

That is why this school exists.  Most of the migrant workers that pick our local crops are Mixtec from southern Mexico -- descendants of one of the major civilizations prior to the Spanish Invasion.

And when I say "migrant workers," I mean full families of workers.  Fathers.  Mothers.  Children.  Young children.  More hands means more income.  Even then, it is a very small income.

When children are working in fields, they are not attending school.  That is where the home of Ed's mural comes into play.

That small plot of land is a full-service community.  It is a home for sixteen migrant workers.  Rudimentary.  But far better than the housing for migrants outside of the community.

It is a school and kitchen for the resident children and the migrant children in the area.

The children attend school in the evenings after working all days in the field.  And sometimes on the weekends.  This was a Sunday afternoon session.

And it is a medical clinic -- run through the volunteer work of my personal physician -- Dra. Rosa.

Is it perfect?  Hardly.  I have asked myself several times whether I am helping to perpetuate a system that is just one step above chattel slavery.

That is until I walk through the school and talk with the students.  They are proud they can read.  That they can do sums.  That they can write.

But, most of all, they have hope that by learning these skills they may be able to do something better than pick fruit and vegetables for North American tables.

And that is why I will keep doing my small part.  And why a large group of local volunteers (symbolized through the work of Ed and Roxanne) continue to make a difference in our little piece of the world.

To quote one of my favorite Salvation Army slogans: "Giving hope -- today."


No comments: