A Day in the Lives of the Families Buckner Serves in Oaxaca
The roads are dirt, the struggles are long and life is complicated. Join us on a written journey that shares a day in the lives of families that Buckner Mexico serves in the municipalities of Xoxocotalan and Zaachila in Oaxaca where we have two feeding centers and two community ministries.
Most families live in extreme poverty and survive on an average of $67 dollars a week. With this amount, they must sustain their families (which average four children) with clothing, food, school supplies, books and uniforms. Seems difficult? Let me share a little more.
The families we serve generally live in shacks made of tin or sheet metal with dirt floors, no electrical service, no water and no sewer. The water is bought from water trucks that pass by their houses for $1.25 a barrel, but this water is not fit for drinking. In order to cook, they must buy propane tanks or cook with firewood. For most, the light from the sun is the only light they have.
The tin/sheet metal houses of our families usually do not have windows and are exposed to all the changing conditions of the weather. In a single room, they will have one or two beds where the entire family sleeps.
These families use an outdoor restroom - a hole in the ground that is utilized as their toilet because there is no plumbing or sewage. Daily baths and personal hygiene is uncommon for the families we serve in Oaxaca. Due to the high cost of water, a bath only happens about once a week, which results in commonly-found stomach viruses and skin diseases.
A common factor that we have detected is the low educational level of most parents. Most of them have only been to elementary school. Their children also suffer educational deficiency because finances make it difficult to take advantage of any educational opportunities.
Without the help of tutoring in after-school programs, the cycle of little education will continue to reproduce itself from one generation to the next.
The vast majority of the parents work in the construction field as helpers, laborers, brick masons or garbage recyclers—work that pays horribly low wages. And when you consider the size of the average family, which is six, the situation is even worse. In most cases, the head of the family is away at work most of the time, leaving the mother in charge of caring for and seeing that children get their education. Most mothers do not have job skills and are limited in their ability to provide adequate child care or domestic work.
The social structure of the family is severely fragmented: the dads are the providers and the moms are the caretakers, educators and managers. Most of the families we work with are simply struggling to survive from day to day without any hope for improvement. If life for them merely consists of trying to meet the basic needs of today without any vision for the future, do you think there is anything we can do?
We dream as a team and we are doing what we can to feed hungry children and create real Community Transformation Centers. The food that we provide to our families is the first step to begin able to make an impact on these communities where God has given us the opportunity to work so that we can meet needs such as education, healthcare and job skill training.
We do not want to conduct projects that put a band aid on the problem, but rather we want to be agents of change that foment growth, empowerment and a community consciousness that results in an improved quality of life for our families.
Would you like to join the dream of Buckner in Oaxaca? Click here to be a voice for these families.