Thursday, February 14, 2013

Off to Mexico

It is snowing as we hug our kids goodbye and load up the van. Moira is off to Mexico as a volunteer. The promotional material says the following:

"This trip will give you a variety of experiences and opportunities to help others in need. At Foundation for His Ministry ( we will be assisting with the orphanage and the activities at the mission, which include a soup kitchen, food and clothing distribution, children and adult outreach programs, medical and dental clinics, fire station, macadamia nut orchard and nut processing (which the mission does for income), building projects, children's programs which include a physically and mentally challenged children's program, orphanage childcare program, and school programs. There is a wide variety of jobs that you may be expected to do. This is an intense program where the volunteers are expected to be up for breakfast by 6:30, attend morning chapel from 8:00-9:00am, and work in various capacities all day and evening.

"This is an incredible opportunity to gain experience in another culture, help others in need, experience new foods, dress, customs and language, work with the national interpreters, meet Mexican First Nations people, and have a life changing experience as your world broadens, sharing the joy of giving to others and working together to accomplish goals and deepening relationships in positive ways.

"The First Nations people of Mexico dress very modestly, which means in Mexico, no sleeveless or tank tops. T-shirts are fine, and shorts must come to the knee. For the outreaches, women are required to wear ankle length skirts with sweats or pants underneath.

"If you are non-First Nations, you will need a passport. If you are First Nations, you will need a passport or current treaty card, and preferably a birth certificate as well. You will also need a letter from your band stating what percentage Native you are. The USA only accepts treaty cards as valid identification if you are at least 50% Native."

Brian Fink -- who is a buddy of my brother, Ian -- is one of the organizers. At the parent meeting, Brian told me that the Jay Treaty is still recognized by the US government. I'd never heard of the Jay Treaty, but this is why Canadian First Nations people can cross into the United States with a Current Status Card. and and  I shared with Brian one of the things I've learned this past year, that the "treaty" card is really a "status" card because if it was a "treaty" card, we'd need one as Saskatchewan settler descendants, because we are treaty, too.

Now, it's four a.m. and I'm awake. Not feeling very well. Out my bathroom window I rest my eyes on the moonlit snow covering the far hills, lake, and treetops, with the lights of Fort Qu'Appelle twinkling beauty to the north.

Yesterday, we'd gotten Moira safely on the road, but at six, Victoria phoned from the ditch. She was okay, but she'd rolled her car. Michael took off right away to the rescue; I kept Victoria on the phone as I started home to Arwen. I saw two vehicles in the ditch as I crossed the highway and got stuck myself at the bottom of our lane.

It's four a.m. and I'm thankful. It's Valentine's Day. A day for hugs. A day to say it out loud, "I love you." And for me, it's a day of intense memory. Eighteen years ago, I was in labour -- had been for around twenty hours -- and just after midnight, in another twenty hours or so, February 15th, Victoria, our red head, was born.

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