La Madrina

Magali was one of the first people I met when we moved to La Tigra, Felipe’s home town. The reason being, she was brave enough to come and introduce herself to me. She was nine.

I was painting the outside of a building; she walked up and asked if she could help. I said yes. I was charmed. She told me here name was Magali, her age and the vicinity of her house. I thought, oh no, I‘m stuck with a talkative kid for the afternoon. I have no children and I’m not generally interested in them, or anyone that is very talkative, but she quietly worked for the entire afternoon, speaking only when she had a question about what to do next. I was really charmed.

I asked my sister -in- law if I should offer to pay her, she said,

“No, just buy her a coke.”

Which I did, and a candy bar. Maga came to visit me occasionally while we were living in town with Felipe’s sister, waiting for our house to be built. She would ask what I was doing, and help if there was something to be done.

I have watched her grow for six years now, she and all of the young people that were children when I arrived. It’s the first time I have had much opportunity for involvement in the lives of young people. It is both fascinating and heartbreaking; fascinating to watch their transformations from gawky to gorgeous, cracking voiced and broken-out teenagers maturing into parents, voters and farmers. It is heartbreaking, because rural Mexico doesn’t have much to offer young people, especially girls. Continue reading