The beautiful children’s home in Tlacolula, Oaxaca, is located on the Pan American Highway about 50 miles south of Oaxaca, Oaxaca. When it was completed a huge prison was built on the other side of the highway.
It is not uncommon in Mexico to have a child or children accompany their parents into the prison. Recently, there has been an effort to find a relative or a children’s home to take custody of the children.
Laura Rodriguez, administrator of the Oaxaca Mission, shared this story: “An older man caring for three inmates’ children brought them to the home. As the boys tried on school uniforms (required in Mexico) in the adjoining room, I asked the man if I had their names written correctly. He glanced at the paper and made a non-committal noise. I realized he couldn’t read.
I tried to overcome our mutual embarrassment with busy work. The man left… but the children remained.
It is so easy to get wrapped up in the day to day and forget from where these children come. The girl who is never quiet in class has a mother with cancer. The 14 year old fifth grader used to live at the dump. The boy who cries before taking the test has a mother in prison. I would like to be better at keeping these things in mind when I work with ‘His little ones’.
But it’s not just these children who have a challenging history. Everyone who has ever shared their story with me has shown me how little I can tell by just looking at someone. The quiet man who was punished as a child because he was dyslexic in a time when that wasn’t recognized. The boisterous young woman who carries the burden of knowing her dad has suicidal thoughts.
Experience teaches me that human nature causes me to judge by what I see. I hope I can learn to look at others as God sees them.”