Last week I wrote about the great time Max and I had at a Mexican pub on Independence Day and of the smiles everywhere in celebration of this holiday.
Little did we know that in a few days, a major earthquake would shake Mexico City and environs, that hundreds of people would loose their lives and that mountains of rubble would replace homes, businesses and schools.
I emailed a friend living in Mexico City. She told me she had to leave her house because of earthquake damage and that she had moved back into her family’s house.
“Even though a house collapsed near my home,” she said, “it was heartening to see people flocking to the disaster area to help other people.”
“It was heartening to see people flocking to the disaster area to help other people.”
On TV, I saw the site of a collapsed elementary school and a teacher sitting with children just escaped from the rubble. They were singing together. All around them, rescue crews were digging for the missing children and teachers.
So many sad events in the last few weeks: the hurricanes in the Caribbean and Florida. The floods in Texas. Three major earthquakes in Mexico. The devastation in Puerto Rico. The political climate of the world.
Max shook his head as he watched the news on TV. He clicked the TV off and sighed.
“Want to have a drink at Dos Hermanos?’ he said.
I nodded. “We can bring them our care package, too.”
Dos Hermanos was taking up a collection of non-perishable food to donate to the earthquake victims. Mexico does not have many resources for catastrophic events and depends heavily on donations from the public.
“I’ll put on my lipstick and I’m ready,” I said. “Get the box. It’s on the kitchen table.”
When we walked into our local pub, the decorations from the week before for the Independence Day celebrations were still up – colorful cut plastic flags, green, white and red swags, bunches of balloons, miniature piñatas.
On one table, an avalanche of canned goods sat in boxes and supermarket bags. Max took our box and added it to the pile.
Edgar and Herman, the brothers came around the bar to greet us with their usual handshakes, hugs and smiles.
“Thank you for your contribution,” Edgar said.
“I’m so sorry,” I said, hugging Edgar, tears in my eyes.
He nodded. “It is a great tragedy for many families” he said, looking down. “Gracias a Dios, no one from our family was hurt.” He lifted his hands. “But life must go on.” Then he led us to our favorite table in the corner.
Herman brought us our glasses of wine and the usual barrage of tasty, calorie-laden botanas (snacks.)
Instead of happy Mexican music, the soccer game on TV dominated the room. The waitresses’ sweeping skirts, peasant blouses, and braids were gone, replaced by their usual black skirts, white shirts, and ponytails. The smiles were still the same.
I wondered why the holiday decorations were still up even after the solemn events of the past week and asked Herman about it.
He shrugged. “We always keep our Mexican colors up through September. This week it was especially important to display them to show the love for our country and our solidarity as a nation.”
I squeezed Herman’s hand. “Mexicans are brave people,” I said.
“Si,” he replied. “We are a hopeful people.”
Even with broken hearts, Mexicans can still smile.
HELLO READERS! I hope you enjoyed this journal entry of an Ah-ha! moment. People are very brave helping other people when disaster strikes. A real challenge to be met every day is to help and be kind to other people when we think everything is going well. A kind word, a thoughtful gesture, go miles in helping bring positive energy into our hurting world. — Thanks for reading Sylvia’s journal. Have a great day!