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Children and cultures in third world countries

Updated on September 19, 2011
an 11 yr old girl we brought to the u.s.a. for a 3 month vacation
an 11 yr old girl we brought to the u.s.a. for a 3 month vacation

I lived in Jalisco, Mexico for seven yrs. as a teenager. My family moved to Guadalajara to work with some other people who did missionary work, and we had a school bus that we built with a camper in the the front and a medical clinic in the back of it. We took this bus to various villages to teach the health, cleanliness, and just general education, like I learned to teach adults to read in their own language, even tho I did not speak that language. It was very successful, and was done thro the use of linguistics.

Since I moved back to the USA and raised my family I have taken advantage of a couple of charitible organizations that help extremely poor families by using the donations to feed the children one hot meal a day, send them to school,. providing uniforms./ They also give them all the medical care they need, including preventive medicine like their shots and vaccines. Giving and providing these things takes the heavy strain off the family giving the whole family unit a chance to spend their time and money doing things like planting gardens, raising livestock and or starting family businesses so that the family will then be self sufficient and able to better care for their own from then on.

While I was living there, I was able to see first hand these charities at work and how they spend funds, and what they actually do to physically help these very poor people. Most of these families are very large, and live in one or two room houses with dirt floors and none of the niceties we are used to when we move into a house here, like running water. If they are very lucky they might have electricity.

I decided that even though my husband and myself were on disability, we should be able to adopt a child to sponsor, and I sent off for one, hopefully from a Spanish speaking coundtry so that I would be able to communicate directly with the child myself.

It wasn't more than a week, and I received a response and I was given a young boy the age of ten who lived with his mother in a one room dwelling with cement floors, although they did have running water and electricity. His father abandoned the family when he was only two yrs old, and he does not remember him at all. His mother works as a maid for one or two dollars a day.

I am going to do a series of articles concerning this topic, and also describe to you all the experiences I had personally while working with these poverty stricken people, who because of a lack of education and pressure from the Catholic Church have far more children than they can feed or care for. One women I treated in our clinic while worki9ng there told me that she had given birth 23 times, and that she had 16 living children. The woman looked to be in her sixties, but confessed that she was 45 yrs old. She had no knowledge, I discovered after talking to her for about 20 minutes, of how she had conceived her kids. She questioned me when I mentioned her husband, saying " what does he have to do with it". and continued to inform me that her body started having babies at a certain age, and at a certain age would stop making them.

It is this kind of ignorance that keeps these people oppressed and in extreme poverty. At any rate, I have begun to send monthly payments to this youngster named Isaac, and hopefully due to this intervention will be educated and come out of this experience better equuipt to live a life closer to reality and more able to take care of his family when that time comes.

     In the villages located two or three hours driving on dirt roads, have no idea about the existence of germs, how disease is spread, and due to old family traditions believe that if you give a baby under the age of two years a bath, it will become sick with the flu and die.  
     Therefore, none of the babies are clean, and worse than that all the children and adults too for that matter drink sub standard and dirty water that should be boiled before it is consumed.; giving the young children very often cases of dysentery that kills them.  Still the families believe this happens because the kids were given a bath or were cleaned up causing the sickness.

     One village went so far as to cut the arms off of all the children that had been given vaccines in them by government clinics, feeling that they were trying to kills their babies because they just did not understand what the vaccinations were for or how they worked.  That village burned a whole pile oft their children's arms in the center of town.  It made me physically ill to see, yet it showed me how strong these people were, having the strength to commit this act in love believing they were saving their kids.;

     It amazed me the extent of their ignorance, and how they were forced to live.  I will continue to write about this subject, and keep you informed about how my little Isaac is doing. 


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  • ddsurfsca profile image

    ddsurfsca 7 years ago from ventura., california

    I lived there for about 7 years, and I intend to write a few hubs about some of my experiences there. These were two of many things that were harsh and actually hurt my soul, and to this day have vivid memories that do not fade. I never did explain to her what her husband had to do with the process for fear she would go home and shoot him or something.

  • Paradise7 profile image

    Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York

    The part about the arms, and about not giving children a bath until they are TWO YEARS OLD!!!

    Oh, these people need some help. They desperately need some knowledge. How good of you to help!

    And that poor, poor woman with the 23 pregnancies and 16 living children. How in the world could her poor body stand that??? I bet the poor kids don't have hardly enough to go around.