Friday, May 29, 2009

Things that don't make the news

Bad news travels fast. But good news? Much harder to find in the papers or on the tv. Must mean there isn't much money in writing about good news.

But I'm not interested in making money here, so here's my good news for the day...

Wednesday morning we were on our way to town for breakfast. We took a road we don't normally take, the inner road of Salina Chica.

As we reached the stop sign coming from the west side, I noticed a very skinny man wobbling along the curb. He had on decent clothes and looked clean. His belt was pulled very tight to hold up his pants and he looked like he was about to fall into the traffic. I wondered if he was drunk, although it was only 9 am.

Miguel drove across the street and pulled up just in front of the guy. He took some money out of his wallet, turned around, held out the money and told the guy to go and buy himself a sandwich.

The guy refused the money, said he was ok. Miguel said "Look, you helped me the other day, please take this and buy yourself a sandwich". The guy still refused until Miguel insisted. Finally he took the 20 pesos, insisting it was on good faith, and gave Miguel a 'mil gracias' (thousand thanks).

As we drove off, Miguel told me that this was the guy who had worked at his house one day last week, hauling rocks. The guy is actually a skilled tradesman but is out of work, so Miguel gave him some work (and paid him for it). The man looks to be starving, and his wobbling in the street indicated extreme hunger. And yet, out of pride he would not take a small gift of 20 pesos without a lot of pressure, he'd rather go hungry than be a charity case.

I'm sure there are many such stories, this was just one that I happened to witness.

Times must be tough here on the island for the local people. Businesses have closed or reduced services and staff. People are living on a lot less money than they are used to, and yet, driving around, I do not notice a difference in behavior. People are still sitting in groups in front of their homes visiting with family or neighbors. People are still going to the market. There might be a bit more people walking than usual, and Miguel reports that there are more people than usual sitting in the square looking for work.

I asked Miguel how the people are really doing, and he said that they are managing because the people of Mexico are used to living with hardship and little money. They know where to cut corners and still survive in tough times. And I think I believe him, because everything I've seen with the Mexican people here is that they are resilient. As I was typing this last paragraph, two young men passed the house, carrying a machete. They went into the empty lot across the road and cut a pile of wood - probably so they could make a fire and cook something to eat. Resilient!


Islagringo said...

I've asked around and can't find anybody who knows if there is a legitimate food bank/shelf on the island. Do you know of one? Should we start one??

Ann said...

What an unlifting story. So good to hear some good news. I know we are helping with a little extra to our "goddaughter"--the student we sponsor. Every little bit helps.

Life's a Beach! said...

That was a wonderful thing Miguel did. It's horrible to see the human suffering in these hard times.

Larry in Mazatlan said...

For some time now many of us in Mexico have been "paying forward" in whatever fashion we can without making the recipient uncomfortable. Much like Miguel. So many people are hurting.

We live in a Mexican neighborhood and a couple of houses have taken in family that have had to move out of theirs. We like to do little things for them, in particular the kids. It seems to make it easier for the adults if the kids are the ones that receive the special treat.


Jackie said...

What a wonderful idea Wayne has of stating a food shelter. My question though is will the locals pride allow them to accept a handout like that? Even if it is a necessity?
I too like JamQueen am sending extra funds to the young women I sponsor who is attending university in Merida.

Sue said...

I was in the process of writing a bit of a lengthy reply to Wayne's suggestion of a food bank when he arrived at my gate. And so we chatted about the idea, and I told him what the local perspective might be, and that there are resources here for those in need, although not all may take advantage of them, for their own personal reasons (pride being one of them). I think we all can do what we can on an individual basis and although that doesn't ensure that everyone in need is helped, it helps some. I think the Mexicans and their government will come up with a solution, maybe not as quickly as we might think they should, but I think/hope it will happen, should it come to that. I do see lots more workers building the sidewalks around the island than normal, so I think the mayor is doling out work to those who indicate they are willing. Definitely something to watch, but as I said in the blog, from the outside looking in, there is not really anything to see to say how the Mexicans are really doing, other than the one skinny guy we helped. We'll keep watching, it's a tough one.

CancunTourist said...

Great Story man... and kinda sad...