We spent most of our day at La Cosecha, a women’s alcohol and drug rehabilitation center in Oaxaca. (there is another one for the men in the countryside in Etla). The centers are run by a man named Otie and his wife Gabby. Otie grew up in a Christian home but battled his own addictions and now helps others overcome theirs through tough love and the gospel. There are currently six women in one center and nine men in the other. All of them have stories of pain, abuse, and neglect and sought an escape through drugs or alcohol.
Two years ago, we came with the Johnsons and brought sewing machines and other materials for the women to make items that they could then sell. We brought more material and supplies this year to continue that project. The goal is to teach them a skill and help them earn money to support the facility. They’ve done so well with it that they’ve been able to buy two more sewing machines from selling their crafts.
But, I think the biggest benefit is that the women feel that they are worth something. The joy and excitement in their faces when they finish a bag or pillow is very real. May they know an even greater joy and worth from an almighty God who created them created in His image and gave His only Son that they may have life in Him.
My sewing skills are non-existent so my goal for the day was ‘to do no harm’. But, Mauri introduced me to one of the young women and told me she was quite intelligent and thought I really needed to talk to her. I learned she likes science and math – the exact things I like. You could see the excitement she had that there was someone else there who had similar interests as her. I tried to think of a way to tell her that I did ‘scientific research’ but that’s hard to do in English much less in Spanish, using an interpreter. But, Mauri and Kerry had installed a water filter at La Cosecha previously and I’m currently working on a few water projects at the U of A. Mauri happened to have pictures of bacteria in the water before and after installation of the filter. Using that, we were able to communicate that I do something similar, studying the things in bad water to help others design filters to get clean water. She understood and you could tell she found the conversation interesting .It always amazes me to see God put people together at the right time, at the right place, with the right experiences, to encourage and build each other up.
Written by Jennifer Gidden