OK, here I go again…but first a bit of backstory.
When I first came to Tijuana, I was staying at the Sombrero Hotel off Blvd. Agua Caliente where I met my first friend, Martin, who was working as the maintenance manager there. After a couple of weeks, he invited me to stay at his place until I could find an apartment, because he didn’t want me to waste my money on a hotel room for so long. By now, I’ve been witness to him gaining a beautiful and kind girlfriend, Cecy, and her two boys, Axel and Gael.
Martin has a good friend of many years, Fidel, who comes from El Paso, TX. He’s a good dude, and very loyal to Martin.
Anyway, Fidel had some business to conduct in the city of Mexicali, a fairly straight shot east of Tijuana, and he invited Martin along, because Martin had some family there he hadn’t seen in many, many years…his aunt and his cousin. I think it was meant to be a surprise visit.
Martin and Fidel invited me along, because I don’t drink much and could act as designated driver, and see some parts of Mexico I hadn’t seen yet. Cecy, Axel, Gael and Cecy’s first cousin came along, too. Anyway, after business was done (checking out a house meant to repay a debt), we went over to Martin’s family’s house for a tearful reunion.
Alright, cutting to the chase…
Martin’s cousin has three daughters, roughly 12, 8, and 3 or 4 years of age (and from appearances, maybe one on the way?). All cute and polite, and very sweet.
Friends, I saw a level of poverty there I hadn’t run across in a long time. They live in a little house with a dirt yard, dogs running around, with many things in an obvious state of disrepair. Apparently, the aunt is retirement age, so the daughter’s husband appears to be supporting everyone…his wife, her daughters, the aunt, and her good-for-nothing husband.
When we arrived, they offered us some Coke, bringing the dining room table and chairs outside to the yard.
This dining room table consists of a large piece of weathered plywood supported by planks. The chairs were random, one of them a bank of chairs like you see in municipal buildings or bus stations, three together. The daughters appear to own nothing but summer clothes, even with a long winter season like we’ve had this year. They were riding around on bicycles that had no tires, just rims. Despite it all, the kids seem pretty happy.
We offered to grab some dinner for the evening, taking the aunt with us for directions, and grabbed some pollo asado, some breads for the family to eat for the week, and various other things. It was both heartwarming and heartbreaking to see the looks on the kids faces, because I think it was the biggest spread they’d ever seen at one time. Granted, there were a lot of us there.
To sum it up, I want to get these girls some help. I myself want to first get them some tires and inner tubes for the girl’s bikes, with some Slime and some Tuffy liners to prevent punctures. I have already asked around my apartment complex to see if anyone has some kid’s clothing to fit them, but I think it would be nice if they could have a few new items also. Jackets and sweaters and long pants especially for the next winter.
I have the idea of scouting for used furniture in San Diego, probably renting this local guy’s kid and his van for 50 bucks for a day to help me check out curb alerts or maybe grab a few items from furniture resellers here in Tijuana.
Does anyone want to contribute to this effort?