Oblate Youth Ministry in Tijuana.
“You are the lawyers of the neediest persons”
Francisca is a 74-year-old woman with Parkinson disease. Half of her body its paralyzed and she suffers from
dementia. Both conditions are progressive. Her daughter, Maria, is her caregiver. She was doing a good job but had to go to Sinaloa, Mexico to attend to the death of her father. During the month she was gone, Francisca’s son took care of her. However, this did not work out too well as she hurt her back and developed several bedsores.
This is when our Medical Team got involved. Three of the bedsores were very bad and are being treated. Also, the team was able to provide Francisca with a special mattress designed to stave off bedsores. Our friends from Maximum Impact donated five such mattresses recently. Generally, these are too expensive for the people living in our parish and often they do not know about them. The team has also taught the family how to treat the bedsores and provided medication.
Francisca always looks depressed and sad, but it is heartening to see Maria talking to her with so much love, patience, and compassion. Maria likes to kid her mom to get a laugh. Maria says that is as much to help herself, given the difficulty of seeing her mother in such a condition.
Maria told us she struggles a lot about expenses since buying dippers and medicine puts a significant drain on finances. She thanks God that she usually manage without imposing on her brothers. We realize how hard it is for her to ask for help. Our biggest challenge sometimes to overcome the pride instilled in the Mexican culture.
We remind ourselves of a quote the Oblates teach; “You are the lawyers of the neediest persons.” So, we talk for them and ask for what they need.
Maria offered to provide advice to any other family that we visit who must deal with the same situation. She has learned a lot.
“God will provide”
Kasandra is a 39-year-old woman who has had arthritis for 20 years. Her hands and feet are numb. Because she has never been able to work, she does not qualify for government health insurance. Her husband must work, so is not available to help her during the day. Making only $100 a week, he also is not able to afford healthcare for his wife.
Their four children live with them. The oldest one is a 20-year-old single mom with two children. She too has not been able to work to help support the family.
We have been helping with food baskets. We encouraged Kasandra to apply for government assistance, even offering to be her transportation. She says she is too embarrassed to ask for government help and further does not like to go out in public because of her appearance. She mentions how great the Church has been and is especially appreciative of the fact that they are very polite and compassionate about her condition and appearance. Apparently, there are people, including some of her own relatives that have made fun of her appearance.
We have invited her to church and have explained to her the various programs the Oblates have facilitated that she could benefit from, including the roof project and the scholarship and taekwondo programs that would help her children. Kasandra promises to get more involved with the Church, saying she does want the best for her family, and she believes God will provide.
“Student of the week”
Juan Manuel Alvarado Gutierrez is our featured student. He is studying trade and customs. At age 21, thanks to his sponsor Serving Hands International, he is in his first year in college. Juan mentioned in his application that his father has spent a lot of money trying to get employment in the US but has not been able to. At that time Juan had to quit his studies for 2 years to help with the family expenses, so that at least his younger brother and sister could continue with school. Juan helps at the church with music and teaching English. The Oblates see him as an ideal candidate for the Scholarship Program, given his passion for life and desire to help others.