February 2020: My Grandma Makes this with Flies
A popular dish here in Mexico is chicken with mole (pronounced moh-leh), a tasty sauce made from ground spices and cocoa beans. While eating this special meal on Saturday, Panchito announced, “My grandma makes mole with flies [instead of chicken].” Another said, “My grandmother cooks skunk.” One boy commented that they eat horse meat when the horse gets too old to work, and another said his dad knows how to cook rats in a tasty fashion.
As a boys’ home, Rancho Del Rey serves some of the most vulnerable children in our region. Most are classified among the 9.2 percent of children in Mexico that live in extreme poverty. These children are drug-war orphans; victims of racism; children without access to education, safe housing, healthy family models or basic nutrition. Most Rancho Del Rey boys have been abused, abandoned, or neglected. You might think that these hardships would make them weaker or less apt to learn. While it’s true that they often have learning disabilities and struggle to trust, what we have seen is a thirst to learn and a spirit of daring to try–even if it’s hard. Many boys, even as young as 7 years old, can work as hard as an adult. This weekend a team of 20 students from Ohio is helping us with our Enlarge Our Tent project. They are creating an outdoor patio to provide an area for our boys and their biological families to visit and create healthy emotional bonds. After shoveling crushed stone for what seemed an eternity, Rodrigo (a mission team member) asked 7-year-old Panchito, “Aren’t you tired yet?” Panchito answered, “Not at all, I’m just getting started.” We are so very proud of them! The way they enter the kitchen and ask to help, go over to the sink and wash up whatever dirty dishes remain, or welcome a visitor by grabbing a chair and motioning for them to join them at lunch. They are doers!
Yes, they are pesky, mischievous and get into a heap of trouble. Learning to write their name or read simple text can seem to take a long time. They are deeply wounded, accustomed to broken promises and disappointment. But they have hope! Even the younger boys now talk about high school, university, and a career. They are being healed by good food and play, singing, hard work, opportunities, a lot of good teaching, and love. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or malnutrition or neglect or abuse or danger or eating flies and skunks? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:35, 37 (adapted)
“He fills the hungry with good things.” Psalm 107:9
On a dark day in November Yahir’s mom feared that social services was going to place her 1- and 2- year old children in state care because of neglect. Her daughter had been admitted into the hospital for severe malnutrition. With your encouragement and support we helped her with grocery and transportation money and free counseling. On a happy day in February she arrived beaming, new job, a good paycheck, with food and cake and large family to celebrate Yahir’s 14th birthday. Together mother and son prepared a simple birthday meal in our mail kitchen. Yahir learned to chop cabbage and his mom enjoyed working alongside him, stealing occasional glances at him, so proud of them both. And his mom bought food enough for the whole family. “Love hopes all things!”