From The Tijuana Mission

Something To Smile About

Our friend Maria de Jesus asked for help from the church because her husband was hard of hearing. He sells nopales (an edible cactus) in the streets while carrying a heavy box. This is dangerous for him with his hearing problem since he is not able to hear cars and not able to hear people talking with him. Thanks to our Oblate medical outreach program working with the Lions Club hearing aid program, we were able to get him a hearing aid at a greatly reduced cost.

Maria de Jesus thanked us gratefully, and smiled and said, “don’t forget about me.” When we asked what she needed, she replied that it is really painful for her to chew because she only has small pieces of teeth. We asked a recent dental graduate from our scholarship program for help. Oscar Velazquez has volunteered at the church for a long time playing the guitar and was quick to offer to help.

Oscar was able to perform 14 extractions two at a time. Maria needed to go seven times to the clinic where he works. Oscar only charged for the materials he needed ($30 dollars) for the extractions. When Oscar got down to only two teeth remaining, we received a Godsend.

We had been selling things at the parish with the thought that some of the proceeds would go toward the $500 needed for the new teeth that Maria de Jesus would need. Mario, a U.S. citizen, had come to our parish to distribute about 80 food baskets. Just out of hand, Mario mentioned that if we ever know of a person needing dental work, he would be willing to do it, since it was his occupation.

So, when Mario offered to help, we immediately mentioned Maria. We arranged for him to meet Maria. A month later Maria was in tears saying it’s been years eating only oatmeal and other soft foods. Now she says she feels like she has a new life. She had long felt like no one cared about her, but now seeing people of different ages and from different countries coming together gladdens her heart.

Everything Happens For A Reason

María lives in Rojo Gómez Alto with her husband and two small children. They relocated from the state of Oaxaca a little less than two years ago. They had lost their jobs in Oaxaca because of the pandemic.

For a short while they lived with a friend who also resettled from Oaxaca. But the house was too small for the two families, so they bought a house on payments in Rojo Gómez Alto. The land is much cheaper there. However, the road is terrible and they have no utilities.

Maria and her husband must walk 30 minutes to get to where they can catch a bus to go to work. Unfortunately, a few months ago they were robbed and lost their cell phones and money. What hurt them the most is that they had received a Christmas bonus with which they intended to repair their roof. (Many people do not use bank accounts and prefer to
carry the money on their person rather than leave it in an empty house.)

Of course, they were very upset and saddened because they had been trying to give their children a better quality of life. Reflecting, Maria says that everything happens for a reason. “I do not seek revenge or wish those people ill. I only hope that they manage to find what they are looking for.”

Maria’s family was the benefactor of a new roof from our parish’s roof program. She believes that in one way or another God provides the means for them to put a decent roof over their heads and she is very grateful. What pleases her the most is that God sent this blessing at the exact moment she needed it most.