I have found many parallels with the content of Haugen’s book and my experience thus far in Mexico City. For example, there’s really no way anyone can explain the irony of life in Mexico City and at times, it seems unreal even when it’s right before my eyes. While walking amidst top notch, luxurious buildings and as I’m surrounded by business executives in expensive three-piece suits and glistening shoes (recently shined at one of the many street shoe shine stands), I can’t help but notice the children, women, or men sitting in tattered, soiled clothes trying to sell handmade knick knacks, candy, or asking for some spare change. In the midst of a busy, hurried life, it’s so easy to overlook them. Or worse yet, to pretend they do not exist. This is one of the many challenges during my time in Mexico. I keep asking God to help me continue to see people through His eyes, and not my own.
Also, I have found myself being very thankful for the blessing of the legal process and courts in the United States. Here in Mexico, I have had the opportunity to visit some government buildings and local tribunals (the equivalent of courthouses) and have tried my best to not gawk as I realize how different it all is compared to the US, both physically and structurally. Mexico’s legal system is code based (civil law instead of common law) and there are files everywhere you look and everything is written down or typed in order to be added to each file (no court reporters or bailiffs are necessary!). No oral arguments or actual hearings with a judge sitting on the bench and listening or giving orders are ever the norm. It is only recently that Mexico has begun to implement oral court hearings, and hopefully next week I will attend one to see what it is like.
This past week, I also concluded my time interning for Casa Alianza. During the month I worked there, I was able to help the legal department by processing documentation for the children who currently live in the shelters as well as reporting to local authorities when children leave the shelter. Sadly, once the children leave, it is impossible for the police or any authority to force them to return. In Mexico, children are considered to have the “right” to live where they want to, even if this means living on the streets. Unfortunately, there is no Mexican law in place in that requires all children to be off the streets. It has been very hard for me to understand these “rights” and I still struggle with the concepts, but I keep being hopeful and do believe that God cares for all these children even when they seem to have no one to protect them.
And this next week, I will begin my time working for Camino a Casa, which provides a safe home for girls who have been victims of sexual trafficking and exploitation. This weekend I visited the safe home and spent time getting to know the 20+ girls who currently live there. My heart about shattered as I listened to some of the stories shared spontaneously by two of the girls who have recently been rescued from sexual slavery. Only God knows how their young hearts will ever heal from so much hurt and from such horrible memories. But God is all powerful and I was reminded how He can (and does) make beauty from the ashes. I’m blessed to have the opportunity to meet these beautiful children and I pray that I can be an extension of God’s love and grace every moment I share by their side.
Please continue to pray for Mexico and the many children who need to be rescued and protected from harm. May we remember that these children are not forgotten; God sees them, cares for them, and knows them by name. And thank you so much for all your prayers!