A Family’s Humble Beginnings Recall the True Meaning of Christmas

Mixtec siblings reflect on the dramatic changes in their lives from the Sierra Madre del Sur Mountains to NPH Mexico’s Casa San Salvador.
December 13, 2019 - Mexico

Iliana remembers how life changed for the brothers and sisters when they came to NPH Mexico.

NPH Mexico is a large family, made up of more than 700 children from all over the country who arrive at the doors of Casa San Salvador in Miacatlán, Morelos, for a variety of reasons. Like many families, NPH strives to make Christmas a special time of year, full of love and sharing.

When possible, some children return to their hometowns to spend Christmas with their biological families. Many remain at Casa San Salvador, however, and for some it will be their first NPH Christmas.

This is the case for Iliana, age 21, Helen, age 16, Moises, age 13, and Josue, age 10—four siblings from the small town of Metlatónoc, Guerrero, who spoke candidly about past Christmases in their hometown. Metlatónoc is located 161 miles south of Mexico City, enclosed by the Sierra Madre del Sur Mountains where communication between these small communities and the rest of the country is infrequent. With a population just under 17,400, the region is famous for its indigenous Nahua-Tlapanec Mixtec people.

And it is poor: the second poorest municipality in one of Mexico’s poorest states. Due to the high altitude and harsh conditions, less than 4% of the land is arable. Still, local residents persist. Farming is the main industry followed by the making and selling of huipil, a long, colorful embroidered dress worn by Mixtec women.

The journey from Metlatónoc has not been an easy one for the four siblings. They arrived at Casa San Salvador in 2015, owing to poverty and lack of access to basic resources and education in their hometown. Growing up they were usually low on food and Christmas was no exception. Josue describes Christmases past, “I ate beans with rice with my family and we slept.”

His siblings agree and add they were lucky if they ate beans and rice on Christmas because on other days they would often have only tortillas with salt.

Things changed for them when they arrived at NPH. They all smile at the thought of their first Christmas, vividly remembering the drastic change from what they were used to. Josue says, “At NPH I feel great. I see my brothers happy. They give us pozole, tamales, and enchiladas to eat. I receive presents from my siblings and godparents, and they give us clothes and toys.”

The other siblings agree. The oldest Iliana tells us she loved seeing her younger siblings celebrate that first Christmas. “When my siblings arrived here their lives completely changed. I saw them happy with their toys, running around with their friends. They didn't have that in Metlatónoc,” she remembers.

This year their Christmas wishes are heartfelt reflections of the spirit of the season. Despite their humble origins, gratitude and sharing are in the forefront of their minds. “I wish for children all over the world to always have food and education,” says Iliana.

Her feelings are echoed by Moises, “I wish for there to be peace in the world.”

Despite the hardships prevalent in their hometown, they miss their friends and family. “I wish someone could help the children in Metlatónoc so we all could be together,” says Helen.

“I wish for all the children in Metlatónoc to receive toys like me,” says Josue.

The kids are grateful to their NPH sponsors and thank their padrinos (godparents) all over the world for their generous and kind support.

Iliana says, "You make this a proper Christmas for my brothers and sisters. Thank you for everything!"

Hearing their story, it is easy to understand the comfort these children feel being at NPH. Through small yet significant acts, like allowing the siblings to spend time together and enjoy their childhood on special days like Christmas, NPH has brought joy, hope, and faith to their lives.

Interested in supporting other Mixtec children from towns like Metlatónoc? Contact your local NPH office to see how you can help.

Children’s names have been changed to protect their privacy.

Sofi Estrada and Linette Gomez   
Communications Officers

You may be only one person in the world, but you may be all the world to one child.
—Fr. William Wasson




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