12/4/2005 - Mexico

I’m back!  I’ve been out of commission for a while, I guess…

A few months ago a couple of kids in our ward, working on their Eagle Scout project, threw a party for an orphanage in Mexico.  They arranged the whole thing and fed the kids and gave all of them birthday presents.  They asked the ward members for donations and to “adopt” a child and provide certain items for their age kids.  We got a one year old and bought him diapers, bottles, toys, books and misc. things.

This weekend they went back to the orphanage to feed them a big Christmas dinner and we were invited to go with them.  They, again, asked for donations, Laura brought an industrial size corn and green beans, Linda brought mashed potatoes and I made stuffing (at 4am).

Saturday morning at 5:45 we met and went down to Mexico.  There was a group of 12 cars that went, it was a great turnout.   We got there around 9am (I think) and kids immediately appeared around our cars.  The orphanage has about 50 kids there, the range I saw was probably 1 year to 15 or 16.  All the kids are curious and just want to be loved.

We spoke to one lady there that seemed to be “visiting” someone there and we started talking to her (well, Laura did the talking since Linda and I aren’t exactly fluent in the language) and she was there visiting her 4 children.  Her home burned down and she’s now moved into an apartment in Tijuana but doesn’t, yet, have the means to keep her kids.  She spent most of the day there, in fact I think she was there when we arrived and we gave her a ride as we left.  She was going to walk to the taxi which was at least 5 miles away.

While we were there we played with the kids, we fixed them food, we did arts and crafts and we had a piñata for them.  Here is my pictorial of the day.

It was a great experience, some of the kids are just so in need of human interaction that they picked out one person and stuck with them for the whole day.  Very cute! 

Our dinner was awesome!  Handy Market donated a dozen cooked turkeys and Trader Joe’s donated a case of pumpkin pies and then the members of the church made and donated all the rest.  When we were loading up the plates I helped one little girl that just kept holding my hand and “protecting” me from the other kids fanning me with their plates since I was cold.  She was so excited about all of the food and wanted some of everything, her plate was overflowing and she ate it ALL and was so happy.  As were all the other kids!  We had enough food to feed all the kids, all the volunteers (both regulars there and us), other that were there and we left them with a ton of food as well.  It was very rewarding and I loved the experience.  I’m very grateful to have been able to be part of that.

When we left we decided to stop and do a little bartering in the shops and hanging out.  When we left the country for good, we got stuck in a lane that pointed to the USA and was called “Sentri” but we had no idea what that meant.  Seeing that it was our only option we took it.  We were a little surprised at how fast that lane was moving compared to the other four, but just thought we got lucky.  When we pulled up to the booth the guy looked in the back seat and looked at us and said, “you’re in the Sentri lane, this lane is reserved for people that pay and go through federal background checks”  all the while writing on some sort of yellow sheet of paper.  Then he walked away and came back to the car and said “anyone here read Spanish…oh, wait I have English.”  When Laura read it, it said that we were in violation of federal law blah-blah-blah, subject to fines blah-blah-blah.  We were sure that he was writing some sort of citation and fine and warrant for our arrest.  Finally he told us that because we were in this lane we needed to go to the search area...the area where the cops have guns and drug sniffing dogs.

When we drove in one stern looking cop waggled his finger at us all serious like then this other guy came up to us and took the yellow paper, looked in the trunk, closed it and came and talked to us.  He said that generally when this happens they search the vehicle and then make the car go back to Mexico and then go through customs again.  Lucky for us, this officer was “one of the only officers that would let us just go” and that “it was our lucky day.”  So, it was a little nerve wracking, but we made it out just fine.  Phew!