Today's "Best of Small Town Mexico" is a man from our church called Hermano Pech, or "Brother Pech". I don't know how old he is, no one really does, but he is old. The poor little guy can barely see, he moves so slowly, and his mind is not what it once was. He lives in a little house by himself and different families from church take turns taking him food and looking out for him.
The first time I took food to his house, I was so shocked that I cried. I was not prepared to see someone living how he lives. As far as Americans go, we are as white and as middle-class as they come; I grew up with very little exposure to poverty or how other cultures lived. In Venezuela, because of security issues, we lived among the richest and didn't venture out into neighborhoods where "average" Venezuelans lived. But here in Mexico we have the chance to see how all different classes of people live.
It was disturbing to me to see a little old man living alone in a house that we would consider unacceptable. I am grateful for the chance I have had to take my kids to see Brother Pech. Although they sometimes complain about accompanying me, I know that it will stick with them. They are learning about respecting the elderly, providing service to those in need, and are gaining a wider view of the world than I did. When we visit Brother Pech he is always cheerful. He loves whatever food we bring, saying hello and trying to have a conversation with my three kids, and chatting about whatever is on his mind. When I ask him how he's feeling, he tells me, "Fine, thanks to our Father in Heaven." He is such a great example to me of the need to be grateful for the blessings that we do have.
Sometimes I wonder why the Lord doesn't let poor Brother Pech move on in his spiritual journey. That sounds kind-of harsh, but the poor little guy spends most of his day alone trying to nap or sitting on his porch step trying to stay cool with no air-conditioning or even a fan. One thought that I have had is that he provides the opportunity for many, who may not otherwise do so, to offer service. I really believe people are at their very best when they are serving someone else.
He represents to me the kind of service we have been able to give here. In my life in the States, a lot of the service I was involved in was so removed from the people I was helping. I would give clothes to an organization like the Salvation Army or the D.I., would take canned goods to a food drive, or would provide a Christmas gift for a child whom I never laid eyes on. Here, I actually see the needs with my own two eyes; I see people who are hungry, or that only have 2 changes of clothes, or who will not have money to buy anything for their kids for Christmas. And I can do something about it. For this, I am so grateful for the time we have been able to spend here in Small Town Mexico.
***(On a much, much lighter note, last year Juan Carlos (then 2 years old) kept saying something that sounded like "Donkeybitch." We could not for the life of us figure it out. It did keep us in stitches though. Finally, one day we were driving by Pech's house and he said it! The whole time he had been talking about "Brother Pech". So cute.)