Closure. The scholarship students needed the wonderful program they put on for us of dancing, singing, music, certificates and tributes to help them bring to an end their experience at Bene. For some this Church high school in Mexico City was one of the most important opportunities of their life, for some it was hard, for some it was fun, for some, life changing.
Lino was there. Our first student. Our first visit to Mexico as a family was to Xalitzintla. Lino was a young boy fascinated by the foreigners who had come to his village. He followed us around and one day offered to lead a group of us nortemericanos up the mountain to get closer to the mouth of the active volcano popocateptl which his village had learned to live with. Our diverse group from Utah had come on a humanitarian mission, to paint schools, do dental and medical work along with a potpourri of philanthropic activities.
Because of Benemerito, Lino now has a degree in engineering from the university in Puebla where he lives with his wife and 2 children. He visits his parents on weekends in the humble campo that was his future until after the tour of the volcano on that December day 15 years earlier. Lino begins to tell us “I’ve offered to my dad to come live with me in Puebla.”
“But he does not want to lead his animals?” Bryson interjects.
Lino nods and finishes his tale “…the campo.”
Anna Luisa was there. “If you had not come to my village, and visited my home, convincing me and my mother I should come to school I would not know what I know now.” She wants to become a lawyer and claim justice for her indigenous people in the neglected highlands of Chiapas. I wonder as she continues her journey if that may one day change but the wonder of the whole matter is that one young woman now dreams.
We will help the students in the 10th and 11th grades complete high school elsewhere.
The foundation we started after the walk to the volcano is called escalera. Ladder. It is meant to remind us to help those who are a little lower on the ladder of opportunities take the next step to a better life. Many have contributed financially to our efforts over the past decade. The hall full of students last Tuesday says THANK YOU. We add our thanks to theirs.