By Moonyeen King
President of the Board for Tepehua
Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon and said “That’s one small step for man, but a giant leap for mankind!”, Queen Elizabeth said in her 2019 Christmas speech “It is the small steps that make change, not the giant leap!”.
The Tepehua Team has been taking those ‘small steps’ for ten years now, trudging up Martin Luther King Jr.’s Mountain Top trying to reach equality. That will not come in our time, but we will get a wonderful view from the top. Perhaps if we take enough people with us, they will see the vision also.
Equality starts with small steps such as equal opportunity for pre/postnatal care and the right to education whether the child has a uniform or not as long as they bring their brains to school. They should need nothing more. If a child makes it to the school gate they should be allowed entry. Birth ID or not. Shoes or not.
Everybody needs a dream, especially the young, and the dream catcher is education. After that the dreamer can choose a higher education or be a worker bee creating a work force with educated choices. Creating a strong middle class. Some will also take their poorer brothers with them.
One such young man is Roberto Serrano, a young entrepreneur who sells shoes. His business is called Plazapato, with stores in Ajijic (just off the plaza) and Chapala. They specialize in Mexico’s famous Flexi shoes and also designs for Diabetics. This young man is making big strides, not small steps, as he collects shoes from his customers for those who have none. Those that he cannot sell he donates to the Tepehua Community Center for those with no shoes.
It reminds this writer of an English poem, where a son goes to the funeral of his mum, in brown boots. The congregation was appalled when all the rest wore decent black and mournin’ suits. “We didn´t say ‘ullo at all. We didn´t know! ‘e didn´t say! ‘e’d give ‘is other boots away! ‘e gave ‘em to a pal…Jim Small, a bloke who ‘ad no boots at all!. And when ‘e got to ‘eavens gate, the angel there said ‘come in mate’, where’s yer brown boots?” Brown Boots by Stanley Holloway. Google it. Guaranteed to jerk a tear!
Roberto volunteers in many things and is always looking for volunteers to take with him, helping people wherever help is needed. He claims when he is volunteering and helping his fellow man he feels full of life. Roberto reached Second grade. At 14 he stepped onto the mean streets, so most of his “education” came from tackling life as it came along. It teaches shrewd awareness and how to survive in difficult situations. How to read people by first instinct, how to embrace everyone but to be aware of the other´s agenda. So as long as you have that basic education, nothing should hold you back. Whether education is limited or it is taken all the way, it isn’t for everybody.
Wise Geek says that “street smarts” is a colloquial slang term meaning knowledge not obtained by education, only life experiences, which also draws a line between economics and social classes. So you can be educated and book smart but have very little common sense. (Common sense does not have a socio-economic agenda, however.)
If you do not know how to start volunteering contact Moonie. It starts with one step, or look for Plazapato and speak with Roberto who can point you in many directions to fulfill who you are. Plus sell you some brown boots! You will be happy you did.