Monday, April 10, 2006

The Best of Small Town Mexico-Hermano Pech

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.)

7 comments:

Built to Eat said...

So Juan Carlos hasn't been sneaking out at night and hangin' with the "Tiddies" after all!

Southern Blonde Belle said...

This post absolutely broke my heart! Sometimes I am so down on myself and that I have so many "woes" in life. But give me a break. I probably just feel these woes because my life is so complicated. Brother Pech's is so simple. He doesn't need an amazing car, a hot new cell phone, a great house, or designer clothes. He is probably happier than I can ever imagine. It really makes you realize what is important in life and what humility truly is. Thank you for writing about this!!

Lei said...

Thank you SO MUCH for sharing that... it takes me back to some of my own humbling visits to other countries and reminds me of the charity that's filled my heart for those living in less fortunate circumstances than me.

Nutella said...

Wonderful post. I was reminded that there are opportunities to serve everywhere, even here in the States. I hope I can follow your example and find people around me that are in need, and do my best to serve them. Thanks!

Nettie said...

What a wonderful thing to share! And what a wonderful example you are setting for your children. We all need to be reminded of our blessings and the need to serve others more.

Grammy said...

I visited with a woman yesterday, who must be cut out of the same cloth as your Brother Pech. She has just come from the hospital (where she very nearly died) and will be connected to an oxygen tank for the rest of her life. She has been seriously ill with lung disease for over 12 years. But there was not a word of complaint. She was optimistic and thankful for everyone's kindness. "No, she didn't need any help." Of course she could cook and clean and handle raising her 11 year old grandson on her own. No problem. I stand in awe. These are the poeple I LOVE to help. She is so deserving and yet so humble in her desires. I love the lessons I am learning from her.

itybtyfrog said...

I loved your post. Several years ago my husband and I visited Guatemala. I was in the same culture shock (especially since I had hardly been out of my own state, and never out of the country). I was so humbled by the people and how they lived. I was most amazed at how happy everyone was. It is truly some of the poorest people that have the greatest blessings...happiness and peace.