Be Thou My Vision – Karen Bender

September 10, 2013

Be thou my vision, a story of Friday September 6, 2013

After saying goodbye to our friends in Chichicaxtepec, we made our way out of the rugged beauty of the high mountains to an orphanage in the city of Oaxaca in the south of town, Casa Hogar de Benito Juarez.

The orphanage is very much like Casa Hogar in Acapulco except that they care for children with physical and mental disabilities as well as children who lack parental resources whether actual orphans or from poor and broken families who are unable to provide for their children’s needs.

This is a story of Ignacio, called “Nacho”.

Nacho playing his guitar. 

Nacho playing his guitar. 

Nacho is a teenager who was born without sight. His mom was very ill during her pregnancy and was given a medicine to treat her disease which caused Nacho to be sightless. He told me that despite the strong treatment that his mom was given that she died two days after he was born. His father remarried and like in the story of Cinderella, the stepmother was wicked and abusive and he was finally abandoned and sent to this orphanage as a small child.

Oh, by the way, did I mention that he told me his story in perfect English? After beginning our conversation in Spanish, he asked me in unaccented English if I would prefer to switch languages. He even offered to have a conversation in French as well. He speaks three languages fluently and has never lived anywhere but in poverty in the state of Oaxaca. In addition, Nacho is gifted with extraordinary musical talents, he sang and played the guitar for us, popular and familiar Christian hymns. One more thing, he is very quick witted, with a great sense of humor. When I placed my stethoscope on his chest to listen to his hearts and lungs, he said to me, “Please be very careful, my heart is romantic and easily broken.”

It is hard to believe, but he is attending the most difficult and expensive high school in Oaxaca which he earned a scholarship to attend (equivalent to a Trinity Prep type school) run by the Jesuits. Pilar Cruz, the co-director of Armonia, asked him twice to repeat the name of the school because she could not understand how it was possible.
Nacho reminded me that God distributes gifts and talents to all corners of the earth, even the poorest and most remote villages, and that He may take away physical sight but can provide so much more. And also, Nacho caused me to once again stop and ponder on what is true vision. He fortified me to continue supporting our brothers and sisters in Mexico who work for social justice and opportunity for all.