Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Honor Was Mine

This story has pictures! Click here to view the slide show of pictures for this story.

A gentleman in Agua Prieta put on a big quincenera recently for about 300 young ladies whose familes could not afford to have one themselves. A quincenera is a special ceremony that a girl has when she reaches the age of 15. It is a sign of showing that she is becoming a woman. It is an important part of the latin culture. He paid for the church, the building for the celebration afterwards and other important parts. The young ladies going through the process had to come up with the dress and other vital parts of this celebration. We had three young ladies that were invited to participate in this celebration.

Understanding the importance of this tradition we helped these families secure the items that they would need including renting dresses for them. Two of the young ladies came from the same family, Maria and Janeth. Janeth was adopted by their mom Rosa when she was a baby. She was born without part of one arm and her mom wanted to give her up. Rosa (the mom who has cancer) took her in and raised her as her own. Both needed assistance for the celebration. The other young lady was Nora, Angel's sister.

The day before the celebration, I went over and made sure each of them had what they needed. Little did I know what was in store for me. Upon checking with Rosa's family they asked me if I would be willing to escort the girls (part of the ritual because they had no other dad. I was humbled and very shocked that they would ask me. I, of course, did not turn them down. I had to laugh as they then begun to let me know what I was suppose to wear and what time to be at the church. I think I was more nervous about this then they were. I have been to several quinceneras before but never took part in it.

The church was packed with many people all there to help celebrate this special moment in all the young ladies lives. As you can tell the young girls were all very elegant. They had their mass and then it was off to the large building that was rented for the other part of the celebration. At the other building is where I took my part in the celebration. I escorted Janeth and presented her with a rose and a symbol of her 15th birthday, a ring. We then has to dance as "father and daughter". I have to admit, I like to dance but was nervous to make a mistake in front of many people! The night was very special for everyone. Rosa was a proud mom that night and very humble but in reality I was humbled the most for being able to take part in this tradition.

This was an experience I will not soon forget. The people were proud and happy and for one precious night were able to put their poverty issues aside and enjoy this tradition. I have attached more pictures in the album section and hope you take a look at this wonderful event in their lives and in mine.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Sarah Haupt’s Inspiration

On a Friday morning, a few years ago, as I was preparing to leave for a trip to Agua Prieta, Sarah, my wife, asked me if I had enough money for the trip. Looking in my billfold I told her that I had enough, I had seventy-one dollars in my billfold. Sarah said that she thought I should take more so she went into another room and returned with four hundred dollars. This was the first time in our married life (fifty plus years) that she had done such a thing. I didn't feel that I
needed any more money and absolutely not that much. Sarah insisted that I take it and if it wasn't needed to bring it back. Reluctantly, I agreed to her wishes.

By appointment I met Norma, my interpreter, in Douglas and we decided to take separate vehicles into Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico (a town right on the border separated from Douglas, Arizona by a fence) as each of us had other matters to attend to after my need for Spanish
interpretation was completed. After several stops I felt that I no longer needed her assistance, as there were just two more deliveries for me to make so we went our separate ways. My first stop was one of my regular stops and it went well so I drove on to my last stop. This was to take a bicycle to Enrique, a gentleman that needed transportation to get to his new job. As I was unloading the bicycle, Norma came driving up at high speed. She quickly alighted and said that she was glad that she had caught me. She explained to me that Enrique had not paid on his lot since losing his job several months past and that he and his family must pay the entire balance by Monday or they would be evicted. I asked Norma to find out how much was due. She was told four hundred and seventy dollars. I returned home with one dollar. Needless to say there were tears in everyone's eyes.

A postscript: A few weeks later we were able to cross a donated mobile home to this family. The parents and three children had been living in a small pickup camper. They never complained, as this was much better than their neighbor's homes.