Last week, while Trump was sitting in the high rise with his name on it eating a $20 Taco Salad from his Trump Tower Grill, I sat in the apartment of a Mexican child whom I tutor. The entire apartment is not as big as the living room in my house. The kitchen is a third of the size of my master bedroom closet. Eight children and 2 adults fit into 2 tiny bedrooms and 1 tiny bathroom. The American landlord of the apartment does nothing to maintain the apartment. Yet, the mother keeps it clean despite floors that are torn up, a bathroom that is falling apart, and ceilings that are coming down. Their neighbor – an American – is arrested about once a week – drug and firearm issues.
I’ve been there after police enter the large apartment complex in search of drug dealers. I have watched frightened Mexican mothers and children hide in their apartments afraid that the police will arrest them and have them deported. This is no way to live.
While Trump is flying around in his airplane making frequent stops to accuse Mexicans of being rapists and murderers, the father of my family travels all over the southeast living as a homeless person literally sleeping on the ground next to the car with no bathroom facilities. He travels in a car with the other fathers who drive there together in order to get work — almost always at a minimum hourly wage. Not a living wage. This is the kind of dedication this father has for providing for his family. And let me tell you, the kids miss their dad so much when he is gone.
They have eight children because they have held tightly to their Catholic beliefs that they are not to use birth control. In this regard, they have far more faith in God than me. Their children are always clean, always smiling, always dressed in clothes that are clean. In my state of Georgia, the parents cannot have a driver’s licence, but how do you get to work when you can’t drive? You can’t afford a taxi at $40 each way. You might buy a beat up old car for a couple hundred and drive illegally, but every time you go to work, the grocery store, library, church, or your child’s school there is a chance you will be arrested and deported. And a chance the car won’t make it to where you are going. More than one of the fathers have spent nights in jail, not for rape or murder, but for driving without a licence.
We bring paper with us so the children can do their homework. The family can barely afford food, much less paper. We bring food sometimes too. As I approached today, my child runs to me and says, “I missed you April!” and gives me a big hug. In his hand, he has an award that his music teacher had given him for being “an excellent student.” He showed me the little strip of crumpled red paper with great pride. And told me to keep it and put it on my refrigerator!
Even with all their problems, it is still better here than in Mexico where there were no jobs, no food, and no way to get an education. Understanding this and showing mercy – providing real opportunities for these loving and kind people – is what it means to love Mexicans! In fact, it is also what it means to love God.
Check out April’s Books, Disorderly Bible Studies, for group and individual study.