Tijuana Oblate Youth Providing Help and Hope to Those in Need

Tijuana, Mexico

By Rich Reader and David Rizo

Señor Nicolas Silva is a 47 year old man that lived in the community of rojo gomez alta.  Nico suffered a stroke about a year and a half ago, confining him to bed.  Without the use of one arm and one leg, he cannot walk, nor even navigate using a bedside toilet.

A wonderful family who lived next to him took care of him for about a year.  Even though this family has 4 children, one of whom has Down’s Syndrome, they somehow managed to find time to cook and clean for Señor Nico.   Recently, this family was the object of terrorist activity and had to relocate.  Initially, we were able to relocate Señor Nico to be with the family at their new location, but that didn’t work out.  We recently found him a place in a local clinic, where he is today.

Señor Nico greatly enjoys the visits and assistance from the youth ministry.  We have provided medications, food, and physical therapy training.  Fr. Marek Stroba, one of our Oblate priests, occasionally brings him communion before celebrating Mass in the nearby chapel.  One of our visiting pre-novices, Luis Ramirez, raised enough money to buy him a hospital bed.  The youth ministry also built a new roof on his house and on the house of the family that was helping him.  We also provided food and supplies for the helping family.

This past week we had the chance to take another youth group to visit Señora Hortencia.  She has severe arthritis and can barely move and lives by herself.  This group of 25 youth worked really hard and were so friendly to her. They cleaned her house, cooked, weeded her garden, and repaired her water pipe. She is always happy to see us and especially likes having the girls fix her hair and do her makeup. Thanks to a donation for roof projects, the youth are going to replace her roof soon.

Shown here receiving a scholarship is Rangel Rojas Edgar along with his donors, Dave and Anne Marie Kessenich. He is studying engineering.  He recently helped out with a visit to a migrant house.  The negative news here in Tijuana had influenced him, and he really didn’t want to do this visit.  However, during the visit he experienced a change of heart as he heard their stories.  Fr. Jesse Esqueda, another of our Oblate priests who focuses on the youth program, is always saying, you can’t hate a person once you know their true story.