This Week's Story

American child abandoned in Mexico

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

Abandoned in a Foreign Town

I’m an American citizen, but my dad brought me to a town in Mexico and left me. He was sneaky about it. He made me think that he and I were taking a trip to visit my Mexican grandmother and relatives, but he was lying.

One morning a few days after we arrived, he disappeared with his suitcase. I couldn’t understand what was happening. Why was I by myself in a small house with Grandma and an aunt and uncle?

I asked, “When am I going home? I belong in New York with my stepsister and brother.” Nobody answered me.

When I began crying, my uncle ordered me, “Jessica, ayuda Abuela.”

I didn’t speak Spanish, but I knew he expected me to help Grandma. I’d seen her struggle to feed and dress herself. I didn’t know what was wrong with her, but I could tell that Uncle and Auntie didn’t want to help her.

Before Dad left me, we had gone to the town of Puebla. I saw a boy leading his blind grandfather. There were some old people on street corners begging. I wondered, If I don’t help Grandma, will she be put on a street to beg? This isn’t fair. She needs help, but I’m ten; and this isn’t my home.

Eight years passed and Dad never came for me. I have heard that he doesn’t want to take me back to the United States. Now even though I am eighteen years old, I am in eighth grade. I am not with students my age. Every day I care for Grandma and I do love her.

Today a visiting teacher from the United States came to my school. My teacher, Miss Isabel told me, “Jessica, I would like you to translate for Mrs. Madson and take her to visit Doña Maria. Mrs. Madsen has brought food, clothing, medical supplies, and even toys. Many people will be helped, including Doña Maria.”

Later I told Mrs. Madson, “Doña Maria is elderly and needs food, but she has little money and can’t work. She’s crippled and has no family to help her.”

When the American teacher and I reached Doña Maria’s house, I called, “Hola, we have brought you a box of rice, beans, tortillas, soap, and a new comb.”

Doña Maria said, “Don’t put the box on the floor. The wild dogs come in whenever they want and steal my food.”

“Doña Maria, this is a teacher from the United States. She will be teaching music and English at the school.” I was surprised to see the teacher take Doña Maria’s hands. They were dirty from crawling on the floor. Tears came into her eyes. She began talking so fast, I had trouble translating.

“Doña Maria says that she had polio when she was twenty years old and she never married. Now she is eighty. She would like to get food from the store across the street, but she is afraid that cars won’t see her if she crawls on the road. She needs people to bring her food.”

I prayed silently for Doña Maria. The teacher and I gave her a hug as we left. Tomorrow I am going to show the visiting teacher my birth certificate and passport. Maybe she can help me return to the United States.

This is Barbara Steiner. This story was shared with me by the visiting teacher. Names were changed to protect privacy.

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