Saturday, May 14, 2011

Not So Peppy Today {Isn't That Okay Once in Awhile?}

I got a new student Tuesday. Sweet little girl,straight out of Mexico. Usually kids move to my city from Mexico to pursue better jobs and to move in with family.

(No, I will not be talking about illegal immigration and since my line of work is directly involved with many illegal immigrants, my opinions will also be withheld here, but believe me, I have them and they are not necessarily in line with the majority of the population.)

However, this child is different. Her family is relatively successful in Mexico; they owned a store and did okay for themselves. The reason they moved to my city was because...they're fleeing the drug cartels who are trying to kill them.

About a week ago, my new student watched as armed drug lords entered her parents' store and proceeded to beat the mother to a pulp. Then, they watched as they held her to the ground and threatened to decapitate her. In. Front. Of. My. Sweet. New. Student. The whole time they were screaming at the kids that they were "about to see their mom die."

Somehow, the men were scared off but promised to return. The family did what they had to do; they fled. With nothing but the clothes on their back. They made it to their relatives' house here and set up house. For now, anyway.

My student came to my room at first seemingly okay. Most of my kids are well transitioned to English and we have been only speaking Spanish part of the time, so my student was a bit shocked at the amount of English. She was sticking to me like glue, which at first I took to be nerves. However, when I sent her to help me sharpen some pencils (I told her she was my new assistant), she broke down. I mean, little baby girl lost it.

"Que te paso mi corazon?" I asked her (what happened my love?).

"Esos hombres me van a matar y le van a matar mi mama! (those men are going to kill me, and my mom!) is what she sobbed back.

I guess there's a first time for everything, y'all. I usually am the pillar of calm when my students are upset, and their problems have run the gamut from abuse to death to everything in between. It's important for me to be strong for them when it seems their lives are crumbling. But when she choked those words out, in such raw fear, I choked up. My words caught in my throat and tears came to my eyes. I had to stand up, take a deep breath, and this is what I told her:

"Mi hija, te prometo algo. Mientras que estas aqui conmigo, nada, y yo digo NADA te va a pasar. Estas segura conmigo. Nada te va a pasar, me entiendes?"
My love, I promise you something. While you are here with me, nothing and I mean nothing, is going to happen to you. You are safe with me. Nothing will happen to you, do you understand?"

I know, nothing groundbreaking, but it was the truth. The rest of that day, that child clung to my side as we moved through the halls. I had my arm around her, and she stayed like that. She went to my team teacher in the afternoon, and she seemed to improve a little.

Yesterday was a little better, and I am hoping the days continue like that.

We hear about the extreme violence in Mexico and we make comments. However, Mexico is only a four hour drive away from me. You're telling me that only four hours away, something like that happened? That's too close for comfort.

The drug violence in Mexico just became real to me...

I need a drink.

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Jenae @ Wildflower said...

now it just became very real to me...That's so scary, and so heartbreaking to hear so many emotions I'm feeling at the moment..

Nicole said...

That is terrible! Poor little girl! I can't even imagine what it must feel like.

A Rancher's Wife said...

This breaks my heart. I'm glad this little girl has you looking after her. You have a loving heart looking after this sweet little girl. Hugs Gin!

Gabriel said...

well, I am on my brother-in-law computer and didn'dt sign in, Gabriel is actually jess n matt. :)

Gabriel said...

Wow, that is so, so sad. I can't imagine how scary that must have been, and is, for her. What a sweet little thing. I cannot imagine having to hear and internalize all of the things going on in the lives of innocent children. I really commend you for what you are doing and have no doubt that you are amazing at it. Obviously, this little sweetheart felt secure and safe with you. I hope things get better for her and her family very soon.

Handy Man, Crafty Woman said...

that is so sad. :-(

Lauren said...

Oh, girl. That's intense. That poor, sweet, innocent child. I can't say that I have not born witness to similar circumstance. Being only minutes from the border we have our share of students from MX. But, because I teach in a private school, the students we have are from very wealthy Mexican families. The grandfather of one of my students was kidnapped and held for ransom. Another large family that has several cousins that attend our school had to relocate to this side of the border because of threats against their families. Shocking.

beautifulspitup said...

WOW that's intense. I'm Mexican-American and believe me I have heard lots of stories similar to that little girl's. It's sad and that's why I get so annoyed when people talk super negatively about "all" illegal imigrants. Everyone's situtation is unique. I'm glad this little girl had you. (hablas espanol muy bien Gin!)

Brittney said...

oh wow thats horrible that poor baby!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't know how you do it sweet girl. We need people like you in this world. Thank you for being willing to deal with these situations so children will have a better life. So sorry this little girl is so scared...what a horrible situation. At least she has you!
Keep your head up!