You’ve heard me talk about Estela. This woman moves me to places I can’t describe in words. Here’s a woman who, 37 years ago, decided to give her life to serve the .0001% of the world who you don’t want to think could possibly exist.
I mean, seriously, who would do that to their parent? To their grandparent?
We’re in Yucatan, Mexico for crying out loud. The land of peace and tranquility, nestled between struggle and difficulty. Where family matters. Where generations take care of generations. Where 15 people can co-habitate peacefully under one small thatched roof, with 12 hammocks and one wood fire to cook over.
This is not a place known for leaving people homeless on the street. They may be poor, but they are not homeless, in a sense. At least this has been my experience thus far, serving in Merida and in the neighbouring pueblos.
In Hunucma, the poorest of the pueblos in which we serve, 50% of the homes do not have a toilet. And yet, I do not see grandparents sleeping on the street.
So, why are there 37 orphans living at Estela’s house right now?
I don’t know the answer. It is complicated. Are these people ‘unwanted’, ‘unloved’, ‘unknown’? Or are they innocent casualties of families who desperately want to care for their elderly, but simply don’t have the means to do so anymore?
Estela does not venture into the ‘why’ question much. She focuses on what needs to be done. Then she does it.
These abuelitos need only one thing. They need love.
Abuelo Felipe was brought to Casa de los Abuelos this year, via the public hospital. He had not showered in more than a year and he did not speak. The man was covered in dirt and lice, not just in his hair, but also in his eyelashes. Estela has done it all, seen it all, knows what to do. She carefully bathed him, removed the lice one by one, gave him new clothes, hot coffee and a pan dulce to eat. He smiled, and said thank you. And then, 15 minutes later, he died.
As Estela shared the story with our group, we shed a few tears. She smiled and explained, it’s okay. The Lord knows.
He knows that 15 minutes of love was all this man needed.