When you travel up into the Sierra Madres coastal mountains to the Mayarit state capitol of Tepic, you will notice abandoned children scrounging the streets and landfills for anything of value. Much like the homeless now found throughout Canada and America, they sleep under bridges and in abandoned buildings. The big difference here is that these are children as young as four and five years old, many forced out on the street because they were physically and sexually abused.
Both the federal and state governments are trying to solve this problem, but they are a far cry from having the resources to keep all of these children off the street. Christian organizations have stepped up to the plate to offer a secular solution such as the orphanage Casa de Niños.
Amazingly, Casa de Niños was started 40 years ago by a prison Minister named Dr. Frank Gonzales who found young children living in the Tepic Prison.
"While ministering in the prison in Tepic in 1968, Gonzales saw several little boys among the inmates," said now director, Russ Krube, originally from Minnesota. "When he questioned the warden, he was told that the boys were homeless street children and since there was no children's home in the entire state of Nayarit, they had no choice but to put the boys in with the adult prisoners."
Today, according to Krube, the orphanage handles between 22 and 35 abandoned and, in most cases, abused children. But even then because of resources, their screening process prevents helping the children that have become too hardened by the streets of Tepic.
"We are unable to equip and train our staff to handle the long term street kids or help as much as we should with the ones with special needs," Krube said, pointing to a young Mexican girl whose parents, living in the isolated surrounding mountains, never talked to her. "She is nine years old and she cannot speak either the Indian dialect or Spanish language properly. Our staff is not trained to handle that, but we do our best."
The orphanage offers primary schooling, beds, a kitchen and large playground. It is clean and well run, but upon closer look, one can see it is in desperate need of funding.
"We are always in need of something," Krube says pointing out the need for new beds, paint, computers and basic supplies. The list is long. "Our goal is to get the families back together, but that is not always possible. Children can spend their entire childhood here."
Donations can be mailed to:
Missions Support Team
PO Box 277
Waxahachie TX 75168-0277
Please make sure to write "Casa de Ninos" in the memo field of your check. Missions support team will transfer 100% of your donation to us. They will also send you a thank you letter along with your tax receipt.
Funding comes from American and Canadian Christian organizations, but the most unique method comes from an extraordinary man. Only in Mexico could an architect from Oregon build a bass fishing lodge as means to fund an orphanage.
David Sanders came to Casa de Niños six years ago through his Christian organization as a volunteer to help. Once there, he realized he had to try and do something more than just a few weeks of handiwork.
Sanders came up with the concept of building a bass fishing lodge on the newly dammed Santiago River. Aguamilpa reservoir is located in a remote part of Nayarit just 60 kilometers northeast of Tepic. Avid bass fishermen from the United States and Canada would come and the first 25 per cent of the proceeds would go towards the maintenance of the orphanage. He named it the Fishin Mission.
It has been an expensive process for Sanders, but he believes that his hard work will pay off and help give the orphanage the funding it needs to continue its good works. Looking at the dramatic and inspiring views of the reservoir from the Palapa Lodge, one can see why Sanders would see God's hand directing his work here in Mexico.
"There are certainly many very worthy ministries meeting a number of very important needs in this world and I am truly thankful for each and every one of them. If you have read this far, then I am pretty sure you are too. Having said that, I must say that personally I can think of few things having greater importance than giving kids a chance who otherwise would not have one. This is what happens at the Casa de Niños every day. Orphaned, abandoned, and abused kids are given a chance - a chance to be fed and sheltered, a chance to be educated, a chance to be held, comforted and loved by giving and unselfish individuals who genuinely care."
When it comes to great numbers of quality fish Aguamilpa is the undisputed Champ in Mexico! If you are looking for days filled with non-stop fishing action and also would like to know that your fishing dollars are going to make a real difference, then you have come to the right place.
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