Welcome to Mexico!

By Victoria Schmidt

It Took a Village



One thing that gives me pleasure during the Holiday season is doing something surprising for someone who really needs it. This past Christmas, my mission was to get a twin sized bed for our maid’s son. 

They live in Tepehua, one of the poorest barrios in Chapala. While working one day, our maid told me that her son had no bed. He is 11 years old, and sleeps on the floor. When I told that to my husband, he said, “Well that’s something we’ve got to fix.” Not being  “rico gringos” we started to look for a second-hand bed. We looked in the classified ads, we looked at bazaars, and we couldn’t find one. There were many beds for sale, in King, Queen and Matrimonial, but nothing in a twin. 

I mentioned my dilemma at a knitting group I participate in, and they mentioned a face book page that I could look at. But for some unknown reason, I have never been able to access that particular page, so one woman in the group, Martha, said she’d check it out, there was a bed listed there, and she would see if it was still available.  She sent me an email telling me it was available and she told me how to contact the woman who was selling the bed.

I was able to reach this woman, and she was so excited about my plan, that she even reduced the price of the bed! Bless her! Thank you! But another problem presented itself. I don’t have a truck. And the bed was located in a small village outside of Chapala. I needed to find help.

Another problem was that I didn’t know where in Tepehua our maid lives.  I confess that I do not drive well in the barrio. The last time I gave someone a ride up there; it took me almost an hour to find my way out. I ended up going the wrong way on a one-way and exiting a long way from where I entered.  I’m sure the streets must have names, but I saw very few signs. The roads are not paved, not even cobblestone, or rocks, but more just dirt roads with lots of ruts and deep cavernous holes. I won’t go back in there unless I have an escort out. And I promise not to complain about the street we live on ever again. How the residents can stand it, I will never know. But I digress.

I called my friend Jim, and explained my dilemma. Our maid also works for him. He just happens to be much more fluent in Spanish than I am, and knew someone with a truck.  All right!

Now I had to coordinate directions to the seller, in Spanish.  Then the truck owner and his brother picked up our maid and her son came to our house for the directions, and the cash to pay the seller, and the cash for the use of the truck. This was when our maid’s son learned that he was about to get a bed. The look in his eyes and his hug were priceless. 

The purchase was completed, the bed was delivered, and it only took nine people, a small village, to accomplish this small Christmas gift.  We feel fortunate to be surrounded by people who are always willing to help one another; Martha, Tracey, Jim, Victor and his brother and those who wished to remain anonymous. 

They all helped make our Christmas more meaningful.

victoria color




Column: Editor’s Page




Victoria Schmidt came to Mexico with her husband, in 2007.  She is a graduate of Moorhead State University, Minnesota and graduated Cum Laude  with a BA degree in Radio, Television and Film.  At 23 she was hired at multi-national media corporation, where she worked 10 years as their Director for Operations and Finance. She then ran her own business consulting company.  She has won multiple community service awards. Writing has been a passion of Victoria’s since Junior High.  She has been active in the writing and publishing business for over 40 years and has been a columnist for the Ojo del Lago since 2008.


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