Me and their world

As I grew up, it was very hard to understand the world.  It was hard to understand why certain things happened, like why some children died of hunger while others grew spoiled.  I could not comprehend why a guy drunk his salary away in alcohol, while his little daughter nearly died in bed sick, waiting for her dad to come home with her medicine.  He arrived home drunk, carrying bottles of beer instead of a bottle of medicine.  Some kids came to school without breakfast and with no money for lunch, while others came with enough money each to feed two of the poor kids for a week.  How was I to understand how indifference and vice dominated society?

In the streets of Guatemala, women were raped and then decapitated.  People were robbed an entire month worth of wages. My mother was robbed, and I could only watch it happen.  Social services illegally charged money for its services, while the Red Cross stole from the community it served.  Human rights activists gave up one after another, or gave into corruption after taking over the very same government offices that they sought to change.  McDonald’s and highways and Disney all invaded the way of life of the Maya, while Mexican soup operas and American movies poisoned people’s minds with materialism.  Soon, people would rather live as peasants in the United States than go to college in their own country.  How was I to understand how the media and money moved the world?

But of all things, what was hardest yet to understand was how much my own parents were sacrificing to get me out of that dying world.  Growing up, it was easy to be blinded by the idea that my parents had an obligation to provide the best for me.  But they didn’t.  They could have been like the guy who got drunk, and would have left me to die in my bed while drinking.  They could have shipped me off a mojado into the American hardship, to live forever as the scum of society, working harder than a mule and making slave wages.  They could have let me be like the kid with no breakfast and no money for lunch at school, or even like the kid with no school.  Or worse, they could have let me become like the fat rich kids who shared none of their fortune with others.  They could have let my mind be poisoned by the media.  They could have been corrupted in public offices while teaching me to walk over others.  How was I to understand?

They could have neglected me, but instead provided for me as peasants from a million miles away, sick in a hospital bed, forever forgotten in the jail of their segregated society, brave in their equidistantly divided hearts, and even from a 15-mile bike ride selling pottery.  They stopped eating so that I could eat.  They gave up their freedom so that I could be free.  They both had to say good bye as they left me in better hands, while the corrupted Guatemalan government tried to shut them up for good.  They taught me there was still some good in the world, even when they themselves could never see it.  How was I to understand that my parents owed me nothing, and yet gave me everything?

As I grew up, I never once saw or remotely understood what they went through.  Lately, I have seen my friends fighting so hard for their kids.  One of them walks five miles in the freezing snow at two in the morning after a ten-hour shift.  She battles with her ex-husband and spends most of what little she makes on his strenuous demands, just so she can see her little daughter a few hours a week.  Another two drive far every week to see their little ones, and when they do, they forget about their own lives and focus on giving whatever time they have to their kids.  That’s how parenthood moves the world.  That’s how my parents moved the world, too.  As I think back of my parents’ sacrifices and watch my friends do the same for their kids, I finally start to understand that it is people like them who change the world every day.  My parents surely changed the world.  They made it better, even if they would never get a chance to live in it.  I am now starting to understand the world, their world, and their legacy.

About Gabriel Mongefranco

Gabriel Mongefranco is your software developer for all things data: extraction, integration, analytics and security. He is also a blogger, a poet, a proud father and a faithful Christian. He is always eager to contract with faith-based nonprofits! Learn more.