A New Photo and a Recap of Paola's Sponsorship

Post submitted by Barbara:

Remember when, less than a year ago, the touching photo of a 'dirty' ,sad looking little girl called Paola touched the hearts of several people and 13/14? of us decided to sponsor her as a group? Shortly after, we had a quick collection to enable Macky to buy the family several useful items and food items during a very rushed visit which not only provided many interesting photos of their first visit to the zoo but also several photos showing the dreadful living conditions of the family. The photos showed a very dark, fly infested room with a dirt floor, a hole in the roof, no water connection and the worst of all the mother, Rosa, was cooking on an open fire in a hallway with three young children running about. It was immediately decided to do a group fundraiser in order to change the family's living conditions. The most urgent was to provide a safer means of cooking so once the funds were raised the family received a small table, a gas cooker and a gas canister? (the open fire is no longer used because they have an actual mini stove!)

Then, an inquiry regarding what could be done about getting the two eldest girls, Paola and her elder sister, Tomasa enrolled in school eventually led to two very generous donations, by anonymous sponsors also touched by the family's poor living conditions. More luck continued when the Mexican Government decided to provide cement floors to the small compound where Paola lives. At the same time repairs were made to the roof, a toilet and water connection was made, and a dangerous well was fenced off with a retaining wall.

Then, just before Christmas another small group fund-raiser was made to provide the family with a wardrobe in which to keep their clothes instead of being kept in boxes on the floor.

The latest photos that were posted on March 11 and can be seen here, show the new wardrobe and the socks, shoes, and flip flops bought with the remaining fund raising amount. There was also enough to start proceedings to get the children enrolled in school and provide the necessary documentation.

Soon, the two sisters will start a new adventure, that is begin school for the first time. Since Rosa is illiterate and may not have been taught any personal hygiene the children are often filthy with uncombed hair and unwashed faces. So, in order to prepare them for their new school experience four of us are doing what we can to get them ready so as not to be embarrassed when they embark on their new school life. Barbara is making up a 'preparing for school' package for practising their ABC's, exercise books and hygiene items like brushes for hair, teeth and nails, a wash cloth and towel, etc., Bernie is looking for some ABC books in Spanish and other school supplies; Mack is putting together a cartoon type 'hygiene for pre-schoolers which will be translated into Spanish by Heather. Hopefully, these items will encourage Rosa to teach her children some necessary hygiene tips so that they won't be embarrassed by other children.This will also give Paola some preschool experience so that she would be less behind than other kids who may have attended nursery or kindergarten.

So, you can see that our group has been kept busy but it is so rewarding to have been able to help this worthy family in such a short time. And, you can be sure that more will follow in due course!!

After all of this good fortune, and in less than one year's time, their family income has gone from $95 a month to $291! Wow!!

Visit, July 2009 – Tuesday Touring

Whenever I visit Mexico, I always seem to find myself at a Sandra Bullock movie. This trip was no exception.

Mike and I weren't sure what to do with ourselves on Tuesday. I had planned to go clothes shopping for Paola (after having a chance to eyeball her size), but after learning that the CI office was not accessible to drop off the packages, that idea had to be nixed.

We decided to kill the day on one of those hop-on-hop-off bus tours, which we were able to catch near the Cathedral. After examining the brochure, I saw that they offered both a Red Line and a Blue Line tour, and I was only interested in taking the longer "red" one. As Mike and I purchased our passes, we were issued red wrist bands. "Good," I thought, "we were automatically assigned to the Red tour." People were loading themselves onto a waiting bus, so we followed suite, finding seats on the open upper deck. As the tour commenced, I tried to follow along with the map in the brochure as my guide. I was confused and lost … but all became clear once I realized that we were on the BLUE tour. Whoops. The color of everybody's wrist bands was just a coincidence – the random color of the day.

After a bored and restless two hours on the Blue Line, we looped back around to the Cathedral where we were able to switch to the Red. There was a certain stop I wanted to get off at, because I knew that some geocaches were located in that area. Unfortunately, the place (Sunshine Plaza, I think it was) didn't come until near the end of the tour.

Midway through the tour, the bus stopped and the driver told us he would be taking a 15 minute break before we continued. Mike and I ducked into a mini-grocery store to buy drinks … and that is where my husband saw the sunglasses rack from Hell.
It was bright outside, so Mike wanted to shade his eyes. So, in typical obsessive-compulsive fashion, he began trying on different pairs of glasses. When he finally settled on which he liked best, he started to fret over the price and couldn't decide if the shades were really worth the investment. Of course, by the time we left the store (with the glasses) our bus was long gone.

Rather than wait 45 minutes for the next one, Mike and I walked a few blocks down to a shopping mall with a movie theater inside. The next feature showing in English happened to be "The Proposal" … starring Sandra Bullock … again. It actually wasn't so bad, as far as romantic comedies go. The theater was pretty dark, though, and Mike's sunglasses weren't all that necessary.

Eventually, we got back onto the tour bus and found both the geocaches. We also took a bunch of photos with Stanley, my traveling stuffed monkey – including one outside of the Guadalajara Zoo. I didn't want to bring him out in front of Paola and her sisters, because it's not nice to play with toys in front of children unless you're willing to give them the toys to keep.

In the continuing saga of Mike's sunglasses …

First, he forgot that he even had them.

When he found them in his backpack, one of the lenses had popped out.

As soon as he got the lens re-affixed, the sun vanished and it began to rain.

Finally, the glasses fell from where he'd hooked them to his belt, and were never seen again.

After the bus tour finished, we proceeded to … to … I don't know. That's the problem with writing blog posts eight months after the actual event - I forget stuff.

The Tour Bus

"La Propuesta"

Stanley at the Zoo

Storm Sets in Over the 'Other' Cathedral

Still MORE photos of 2009/10 improvements!

More photos of 2009/10 improvements

More Improvements to Paola's home!!!

Our Google Group child, Paola is so loved by all!! Last year, we wanted to set her mother up with a business to bring more income into the home. However, it was determined that a business would not be a good idea because the mother has no schooling. She doesn't know basic math nor how to read and write. Hopefully, there is a program she can get into to learn how to do those basic things at the center. For now, we had to come up with a different way to help. When CI came back with a long list of things that needed to be fixed in the family's home, our group went right to work! The family received a well for clean water, a toilet, a sink, and a new roof! Here is what the field officer wrote on their behalf.

Dear Donor,

Paola is very happy for all that you have done for her and for her family: the well, toilet, washing place, roof. All of that will improve their quality of life greatly. Paola, Tomasa, Mary, and Ms. Rosa thank you for all of the love and attention that you give them. They are happy to know that their are people who worry about those who have less, and that they do something to help them. They say hi and hope that you are fine. May God keep blessing you.

Paola's 5th birthday gifts from Barb!

'Dear B.Rogers

Paola wants to thank you for all the gifts that you sent for her. The singing heart, bracelet, candies, bag, Dora lunch box, clothes, pictures, birthday card and everything else.

Paola likes it a lot when you send photos, she likes to know more about you, your friends and family. She also hopes that you like the photos of her which CI takes. Paola likes the paper crown a lot! She coloured the drawing on this letter with lots of affection. Paola sends you lots of kisses and hugs and again would like you to know that she loves you a lot.

The additional comments were. 'Paola and her family were very happy for the gifts the sponsor sent for them.'

Maria seems to be the happiest!

Here is the actual list of contents sent for Paola's birthday.

- 1 two piece jeans & pink/white/navy top.
- Lavendar coloured top with purple hearts
- 2 piece white blouse and pink/orage checked pinafore dress
- Multi-coloured hearts/stars tank top
- Turquoise and pale blue jacket and pleated skirt
- 1 pair of white socks and 1 pairs of dark fairy socks.
- 1 - striped underwear
- 'Just Like Home' toy cooking set.
- 1 Singing Heart
- Dora purse
- little bracelet for Maria
- Dora lunch box
- My little pony book colour book and glitter stickers

And out of all of the above gifts what did Paola like best? - the paper crown from a Xmas cracker!! Aren't kids funny?