While we were in Queretaro, a friend of mine, Carol, was taking care of my cat, Winnie. Winnie is very old and was diagnosed with thyroid problems just before this vacation. So, not only did Carol have to feed Winnie daily, she also had to giver her a daily dose of medicine. I wanted to find something special for my friend to thank her for her help. Carol had requested some Mexican Vanilla but with the restrictions on carrying liquids on the airplane, I knew that was an impossibility so instead kept it in my mind to look for something else.
So one day we were walking the streets of Queretaro I spotted a candy store. This store is one of the many very small local stores that enterprising individuals set up to earn a living. It was in the colonial area downtown very near were I was staying. The store was very small, about the size of an office space. I had to step down into it in order to look around. The store was amazing. It was not your normal candy store that you would find in the U.S. instead; it carried a variety of candied fruits and nuts. I knew that Carol wasn’t a big fan of sweets but I thought these would be different enough from the average that we encounter in the U.S. that she would truly enjoy them for their difference. We stopped to chat with the lady and bought some for ourselves. The candied guyaba and pineapple were delicious. We had a very pleasant visit with the shop owner. She was very kind with her suggestions and wanted me to taste practically everything because I had told her that I had never had anything like this in my life. She was excited to be showing me the new flavors. I vowed to return eventually, to purchase something for Carol.
About a week later, we returned to the store to make our purchases for Carol. Just before we entered the store, I noticed at the corner of the entrance and brightly colored, blue and yellow, wheel chair and on the floor was a little boy. She explained that was her son who had cerebral palsy. His name was Paco. He couldn’t walk but pulled himself along the floor. We gave Paco a hug and gave the shop owner a hug as well. I think she was surprised to see us again. While we were making our purchases, she called her daughter over to talk to us. The daughter was maybe 12 years old. She wanted her daughter to practice English with me. Apparently, she had changed schools and was no longer being taught English but still wanted to practice. During our discussion, I told her that one thing that was crucial to learning a language was not to be afraid. The mother at that point asked her what I had said and the daughter translated into Spanish.
The mother at that point started to cry. They were tears of desperation and anguish. She said that fear was the only thing she had at this point. Her son was in need of medicine and that she had not been able to afford to purchase it for him. The medicine was necessary to prevent seizures. She had started the candy store to help her pay for the medicine. We consoled her as much as we could. Hugged her and told her that with faith and persistence anything is possible. We bought probably more candy than we should have but she also gave us more than we actually bought.
As we were walking home, we were discussing what we could possibly do to help. One of the things we could do, Mario suggested, was to give her some money to help her in buying the drugs she needed for her son. We pooled our resources and returned to the store. Only her daughter and the little boy were in the store when we returned. The daughter said that her mother would return in a little while. We told her that we had some money to help with Paco, her brother. She first insisted that she couldn’t accept it and then did. Crying, she carried the money to her little brother who was on the floor and showed the money to him saying, “This is for you, my dear little brother,” She then turned and thanked us. We said that we hoped that things would soon get better and wished her and her brother the best.
The second thing we did for Paco was to make a connection. We have a friend in Queretaro, Claudia. Her job is to work to help the poor navigate through the medical system and she is an advocate for people who can’t afford their drugs. We talked to her a little about what we had observed and she said that we should give her telephone number to the family. She said that she believed that she would be able to help them.
The next day, we returned again to the candy store. This time, the owner’s sister was taking care of the store. There was no sign of Paco or his sister. We explained who we were and she said that she already knew. We told her that we have a friend who can help and gave them the telephone number and our email that they could use in case they needed anything.
We received an email from the family after we had returned to the U.S. They expressed their thanks for all our help. Paco is doing better and has returned to school thanks to his medicine. He will never be well and will have his ups and downs but we have helped him for the moment. The family is now calling us their angels from America.
Did you like this? Share it: