Betsabe is a beautiful 5-year-old girl living on a sugar cane field in Mexico. She is supported by a Compassion sponsor who lives in Germany.
She is the youngest of three children born in a hardworking family dedicated to the fields.
Things seemed to go well until their lives suffered an unexpected change. The mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she was unable to take care of the children anymore.
After fighting cancer for almost a year, Betsabé’s mother died.
The mother’s family was unable to cope with their loss and wanted to send the children to different homes, to live with different relatives.
But Genaro, Betsabe’s father, stood bravely against the will of the family. He decided to keep his children, to stay together and care for them. This required a great commitment from him. By that time, Betsabé was only 2 years old.
Genaro was unable to take any form of regular job; he had to take the children to school, pick them up, and care for them during the afternoons.
Simple tasks such as getting ready for school were harder than he had ever thought. Washing, cooking, feeding the children, making sure they did homework and providing for them was almost impossible.
The church played an important role not only while their mother was sick and through their grief, but also while Genaro was trying to cope with his new situation alone. The children were registered in the Child Development Centre, and programme volunteers became their main support.
“My main problem was that I was not able to work formally because I could not leave my children unattended”, Genaro says. “They were too little to stay by themselves.”
For over a year, the church provided part-time employment for him.
His daily routine would start early in the morning, preparing his children to attend school. After walking them to school, he would do maintenance work with church members, such as painting, repairing, cutting grass, trimming trees, cleaning the court yard and any other work that did not imply a long schedule. After picking up the children from school, he stayed home with them.
On more than one occasion, his relatives in-law sent a Social Security worker to ensure the children were alright. They even accused him of being a neglectful father and requested a judge to take the children from him.
The church’s pastor and his wife were called as witnesses and were requested to speak about how Genaro treated his children.
“We only had to say the truth. Genaro is a committed father and, although he struggled to care for the three children, he did everything he could to keep them,” says Pastor Sergio.
Even with the care of their father, however, these children were growing up in extreme poverty.
The income of a part-time job gave Genaro only enough to buy rice, beans and tortillas, sometimes eating only one meal per day.
The children never complained, but there were mice and cockroaches all over the house. Betsabe wore old clothes and had messy hair because her father was not able to comb her hair or make her look beautiful.
“Those were very difficult times,” Genaro says. “As a father, it was not easy to do all the home duties. But, when you have children, they give you the impulse you need to fight.”
Jared, the older brother, is convinced that God loves little children and he encouraged the girls to pray regularly for a new and loving mother.
As the years went by, they never lost faith and, after three years of struggle, his father fell in love and married a lady from the church. The family now has a new loving mother who has added many blessings to all.
The family now own a small bakery, and her skills baking good bread have given them a new way of providing for the children. Genaro works during the day, the children go to school and, every afternoon, the smell of fresh baked sweet bead fills their home with warmth.
Betsabé has a Christian family who loves her. They moved into a small rented home with more space. They share a room with three beds and a kitchen. They have space to play and, in the front, they set up the bakery where they sell different types of bread.
The children have given different names to the different kinds of bread according to their funny shapes. They sell bread called little worms, shells, peanut-shaped bread and doughnuts, but their favorite ones are called ears and there is another one they think looks like a cat’s face.
The children are well cared for, loved and educated.
They attend the project twice a week. They also come to church as a family every weekend and their parents, Genaro and Lorena, have started helping as tutors for other children in need.
The girls are always very well dressed. Their simple clothing is always clean and their hair done with a ribbon.
Genaro says that, as he looks back, he is sure God was always there.
“I see it was all possible … when we placed our confidence in God, He helped us.”Story and Photos by Cesiah Magaña, Field Communications Specialist