EDWARDS — A group of Vail Christian High School students traveled to Mazatlan, Mexico, for a week and never saw the beach. They had the best time, ever. The group includes Nigel Johnson, Bella McCormack, Branden Currey, Kristen Currey, Parker Poage, Amie Hixon, Cole Caynoski, Kevin Boselli, Mack Cooper, Troy Hubert, Celia Smith and Vanessa Siriwalothakul.
This is their report:
We were with a Back2Back Ministries trip and spent the week working in three different orphanages. Their goal was to help people, and as much as anyone else we helped ourselves.
While these kids had nothing in the material sense, many seemed to be happier than many kids in the United States.
At the first orphanage, sponsored by the Salvation Army, we took the kids to an aquarium and attended a bird show. Everyone got antsy during the 15 minutes we had to wait for the show to begin, so senior Mack Cooper jumped up, grabbed his kid and began dancing to the American songs that were playing.
In almost no time, almost everyone was on their feet dancing while the rest of the crowd cheered them on.
The joy on the faces of all those dancing children showed that while these kids have endured difficult times that most of us can’t imagine, they know that others care for them and that God has a plan for their lives.
The next stop was an orphanage for disabled children, located in a very poor area.
We spent most of their morning reinforcing razor wire around the tall walls that protect the orphanage. The orphanage is often vandalized. At night, people break in to steal supplies and the copper pipes in the plumbing.
But it was the third orphanage that had the most impact. It housed only girls, ages 6-16, who had been brought to the orphanage to save them from human trafficking. If they had been swept up, many would have been sold as sex slaves or agriculture workers.
We learned that many of the girls in that orphanage had been abused from an early age, and that no law prevented the people who had abused them from coming to take them from the orphanage.
That orphanage was in the heart of the city, so we spent much of their morning reinforcing the barbed wire fencing that protected the girls.
We also spent hours removing a large tree out of the ground. The tree was near the wall surrounding the orphanage, and we were fearful that someone could climb the tree and get at the girls.
We were told not to touch or hug the girls, particularly the male students and chaperones, for obvious reasons. We were sad to hear that the balconies off the girls’ rooms were locked and the pool was filled with concrete. It protected the girls from committing suicide.
So we worked with the girls to plant flowers over the filled-in pool.
We were all friends by the end of the day, and we all shared hugs. It’s hard to imagine how a girl in the United States might feel or act had they gone through what these girls had endured.