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Making the invisible visible, Part 1

Izabelle Nizincourt

Our three Christmas celebrations for the disadvantaged in México City put us in contact with many “invisible” people, those whom most of society don’t see or hear about. “Patricino un Libro” (Sponsor a Book) volunteers are so thankful that we were able to show these desperately poor people some recognition, encouragement and love during the Christmas season.

The “Pepenadores” of Ciudad Neza

The “pepenadores”, who live on the outskirts of Mexico City, are the poorest of the poor. Hidden under oversized hoods, they ride decrepit mule-drawn carriages searching for garbage, which they deliver to their community to search through. If they find something that day, they will eat, if not...

Black with grime, hair matted with dirt, they and their children ride back and forth from garbage dumps in search of something worth selling. The garbage dump is their universe where they live and form families. They have babies in make-shift hovels with no water, electricity, or sanitation. A whole marginal society with its own tough laws is established there. We asked some of them why they would choose to live in such a place, and received the same answer from everyone: because the only work to be found is selling things found in the garbage dumps. Many of the children do not go to school because they are needed to work. There is no census of the dump dwellers, they legally do not exist.

We participated in a Christmas event for 250 children of pepenadores in a make-shift chapel. Our volunteers provided a clown show, toys and storybooks for the children and blankets for the mothers. The event was very appreciated by these dear people and the books were a big hit with the children. For all the children, these were their first books they had ever owned. Throughout the event we were reminded of how much we have to be thankful for, when so many have to settle with so little.

The Government Shelter

On December 24th, Patrincino un Libro held a Christmas celebration in a shelter for displaced families. These families are living in houses precariously built on the side of cliffs in Mexico City. Around 100 families are “temporarily” housed there; some of them have been living there for over a year. We performed a special puppet show to the delight of the children, who had a good laugh while learning about family values. All the children received gifts of storybooks and toys for Christmas.

Orphans at the Four Season Hotel

Forty boys and girls from two state orphanages enjoyed a delicious meal and all the luxuries of a five star hotel for a Christmas celebration. Our volunteers provided storytelling, drawing contests, gifts of books and toys, and lots of attention, love and hugs. Most of all, they had a peek into a different reality – away from their memories of abuse, scarcity, and loneliness, making brighter horizons not so far out of reach.

Patricino un Libro offers many thanks to Activated Ministries for once again donating all the books we needed to give to these very needy and appreciative children. Your help is an invaluable blessing and we wouldn’t have been able to do these programs without it. God bless you!