THe glory of a story
Thoughts and threads of passion and experience that have woven the fabric I call my life. Sharing experiences, memories and ideas so that they are out in the world for you to find when the time is right.
THe glory of a story
While we'd been in Costa Rica (2013), we got to know Jacque, the Nolitour guide at the resort we were staying at. He asked us if we'd likely return to that resort. There were many, many things we loved about it, but neither of us felt it was likely a return destination for us. Our plan is to see more of the world, rather than repeat things we've explored. Cecil then told him that our next destination was likely going to be Mexico, because truth be told, Mexico had been what we had in mind for that winter prior to being invited to join our son and daughter in law on that wonderful get-away to Costa Rica.
When Jacque heard Mexico, he said that we would love it. Then he started to tell us about a friend who now spends every winter in Mexico at a place he just absolutely loves....Sayulita. My jaw dropped! Sayulita was the reason we'd originally chosen Mexico if we were going to go anywhere, because we wanted to scope it out and do a little exploring. Our hope was that in the next years, if we do things right and commit to our hopes and dreams, that in the next few years we will spend at least half of the frozen months somewhere warm.
Sayulita had captured my attention because I regularly follow the newsletters I receive from Brandon, Manitoba's Lady of the Lake owner Brigette...as she sends us her experiences there in the winter months. It called to me because of it's location and the feel of the area that I pull from her writings. Further investigation made us want to explore it further as a destination to call home base to explore from in Manitoba's coldest months. I had not heard one other person mention the town, nor had anyone I ever spoke to seemed to have heard of it....until that moment. Coincidence? You all must know by now I don't believe in that :)
When Jacque saw our expressions of interest in the town, he suggested that if we did want to explore it, another resort he was connected to...the Royale Decameron Complex....was the perfect place. Five star, great food, many options and mere minutes from the bus route that would allow us to go to Sayulita for about $6 each and do our investigating. Sounded like a plan for us...for sometime down the road.
That night, talking to Cecil, he reminded me of our plans to go somewhere to celebrate our upcoming 10th anniversary in June. We'd thought about heading out to BC...but suddenly exploring Sayulita seemed more enticing to both of us. And in likelihood, about the same cost as flying/renting/eating etc on the west coast would be. We decided....when faced with a decision, choice or opportunity...choose in favour of your passions. So we did.
After booking the trip I was reminded of the good work a friend of mine had been doing in the Puerto Vallarta area for many years. She and her husband travel there for about 3 weeks every winter, and part of what they do in that time is a type of mission work, helping to do what they can for orphaned children who are living of what they can scavenge from the dump there. I asked her about it, and she shared that that project has come to an end, however there's a new one they're involved with.
I learned that a family of 12 children had lost their mother in spring of 2013. As the father wasn't able to handle the situation, he abandoned the family. The 12 of them were residing in a one room accommodation, sharing one bed with the rest sleeping on the floor. The 18 year old sister was doing her best to keep the family together, but things were looking very hopeless until some amazing individuals stepped in to do what they could to help this family stay together. My heart was touched so deeply, as I looked at pictures of those beautiful brown eyed children and thought of my own gorgeous grandkids. What would I want done for them.
So beyond our exploration of the region to see if in fact it was someplace we'd like to spend the cold Manitoba winters, we took along gifts and supplies that we hoped would assist the children on their journey, and looked forward to having the opportunity to meet them through the people we have connected with via social media. It made the trip seem much less decadent...and much more meaningful.
Midway through our week, Brenda, one of the ladies supporting them, picked us up to spend a day with the family. What a heart and eye opener to the other side of life on the outskirts of PV.
We arrived at the house about 10am. There, in a 1 maybe 2 bedroom apartment lived the 18 year old sister, with her own two children, who is working to support her siblings with the total number being 12. This is an amazing step up from where they were living after coming off the streets.
After innumerable bad experiences, the sister worked to keep all the siblings together. She was nothing less than amazing, as were As are the team of ladies who committed themselves to helping this family have a better life.
And the children? They were beautiful, wonderful beings who have seen and experienced way more in their young lives than anyone should have to witness. I could not look at them without seeing our own grandkids in their eyes and smiles.
We spent the first part of the morning with the littlest ones, while Brenda worked with the oldest ones to ensure that their homework was done prior to their own school sessions that started at 1pm that day. After it was confirmed that everyone was on top of their studies, Brenda invited all of the children out to choose an award for their hard work from her car...there they were each given the opportunity to pick a medal that her husband received from his many marathons, as a celebration of their own accomplishment.
We then headed down the road to the 'soccer field' to enjoy that kite that Brenda brought for them. It was so heartwarming to see the brilliant smiles on these kids. They are such testament to the resilience of the human spirit, knowing what they've endured and what lies ahead of them.
Back at the apartment we shared our own gifts, helped them to prepare for school as they showered outside from a water hose because the indoor plumbing had unresolved problems. After finishing lunch, the school age children joined us to be dropped off for classes, the youngest stayed with Mimi awaiting the return of the ones who'd been in school and daycare in the morning.
It is said it takes a village to raise a child. That is so much the case here, but hats of to Mimi who keeps the child going between the availability of the villagers that support them.
In the time since our visit there, we've not been back to see how they're going, but we follow them through updates on Facebook and the charity that has been set up that helps both these children and others.
Within the walls of the resort in the area we found a certain kind of beauty. It could in no way compare to the beauty in the spirits that we met outside those wall, in that house where hope is beginning to grow.
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