Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Very Best Christmas Gift

Back when I was living in Phoenix, every Christmas I used to scout out one of those "Angel Trees" and pick a kid--or a family--to buy a present for. We had one each year at my college. And that was, for me, the very best Christmas gift--knowing that I could share what I had with someone who really needed....the bike...the shoes...the new pair of pants.

Now that I'm in Oaxaca, my charity of choice is Casa Hogar, Hijos de la Luna ("Children of the Moon" in English). This is the shelter for kids of prostitutes. I've posted photos of the kids in the next 4 posts. I volunteer there every Saturday, and I've come to love these kids. They're dirt poor, but full of inquisitiveness, energy, and love. Coco--the lady who founded the shelter--began by taking a few kids into her own home. It's still a seat-of-the-pants kind of place. Lots of "make-do." They can only afford meat twice a week for the kids' meals. But lots of rice & beans and vegetables. Coco's adult chilren and in-laws help her run the shelter.

I had an idea: if any of you kind readers feel so moved, a charitable contribution to the program would go a long, long way. We need to renovate the playground (it's dirt now) so that it can be used when it rains. We need to replace the beat up car which is transportation to and from school for a dozen kids. We need to improve the living quarters and the common room. There's a lot to do. I try to give a little each month since I can see EXACTLY where the money goes....it's very tangible, not a check mailed off to a charity I don't know much about. Our work is directed through the Oaxaca Lending Library. Go to the Web site at: http://www.oaxlibrary.com/ and follow the link on the left side of the page to "Ninos Adelante." If you want to do something really worthwhile this Christmas, this is it. It will be your Very Best Christmas Gift.