Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Wheels On The Bus

Last Wednesday, I had another chance to visit the Casa de Hogar Misericordia Orphanage outside of Chihuahua, Mexico. It's been over a year since my last visit and it was heartening to see that the grounds were looking good. They've planted some trees to help bring a bit of greenery to the dusty, desert environment.

And the children were taking obvious pride in their care and upkeep.

It was also good to see that the clinic was well stocked with medicine and other supplies.

Apparently a group of doctors from a nearby town now visit the orphanage once a week to care for checkups and care.

There are currently eighty-seven children living there. That is down slightly from years past when over a hundred kids were sharing the small facility. One of the challenges now facing them is that thirty-six of the children are boys between the ages of twelve and seventeen. And you thought you had some behavior issues with your kids.

For obvious reasons, these older boys are segregated in their own area. They do have a wood shop with some pretty nice tools that were donated by a church in the US. They also are working on setting up a building where they could make their own tortillas to sell. They have the machines ready and just got the electricity hooked up. They hope that the older boys will get a chance to pick up some skills that will help them in later life by participating in these endeavors. And it gives them something to do.

Because of the last minute nature of the effort, we didn't have a chance to raise as much money as we have in the past. But we were able to donate $600 for them to use for their most urgent needs. We asked them for the top three requirements.

1. Food

2. Cleaning supplies

3. A bus that works

Currently, there are two buses, a van, and a old SUV (a Suburban I think) on the premises. These vehicles are used to transport the kids to school every day. Because of the various ages of the children and the reluctance of local schools to take too many at one location, they are forced to take the kids to five or six different schools in the region, some of them many miles away.

The only vehicle that's in running condition right now is the Suburban. It doesn't take a logistics whiz to figure out that getting eighty-seven kids to multiple locations with one Suburban every day is not an optimal situation. When I asked if there any goods that someone in the US could provide that would really make a difference, the response was, "A bus." A bus that runs obviously.

So if anyone has a bus that could be donated for such a purpose, drop me a line. This one for example hasn't served a useful purpose for some time. It would just need a little paint job to be perfect for the need.

Stranger things have happened. As the founder of the orphanage Fidel Rubio said about the people who arrive from time to time to help out, "God brings them. I never ask them to help, they just show up."

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