The “Smell Like the Sheep Project” Continues

Back in February I shared about our project of helping our friend Francisca and her family to reorder their house and life so that they no longer would live in lice infested filth.  They moved in with us for a week while we emptied their house of all of their belonging, put in a cement floor and walls where dirt had been and re filled it with new beds, matrices, sheet, tables, chairs, shelves, bins to hold clothes, etc.  It was a completely new house for them to start a new way of life.  (You can read more about it in the  Smell like the Sheep blogs.)

We knew when we moved them back in that it was just the beginning of the process of teaching them how to live a cleaner, healthier lifestyle.  We knew we still wanted to help them to develop skills to be able to work and have a steady income.  We knew that even though they lived a week with us, it would take a lot longer to change lifelong habits.  So when we returned to Mexico after our two months in the States to have the baby, I was expecting that the house might be a little dirtier than it was when we left.  However, I wasn’t expecting Francisca to tell me that their water had been turned off since we left, and no one in the family wanted to pay. And because the water was off, it was even harder for her to motivate herself to try to clean the house or the children when they had to carry water in buckets from down the street.

The story is complicated and it’s hard to know who is at fault.  There are four families living in a little cluster of one room houses sharing one outdoor bathroom and supposedly sharing the expense of the water and electricity bills.  However, as no one had paid the bill for several years, the city had finally turned off the water and still no one wanted to pay.

The week after we got back we realized that the kids were filthy because it was so hard for them to get water to bathe.  The lice were multiplying and the laundry had only been washed once in the two months that we had been gone.  So we told Francisca to bring the kids over for baths, and we went to work combing through their hair again and washing all their laundry.

Being ProLife has taken on a whole new meaning for me with Francisca.  She is now 7 months pregnant and she has little to no support from people outside of our house.  Saying YES to the life growing within Francisca also means saying yes to babysitting her other kids so she can go to her doctor appointments, feeding them, bathing them, combing through their hair for any lingering lice eggs, and making sure she has eaten any time she comes by the house.  To be completely honest, sometimes I don’t want to do these things.  Sometimes it’s bad timing when she shows up at our door right after we have finished eating and cleaning up our own breakfast and I don’t feel like pulling everything back out and starting over.  But it’s then that I try to remember the things that God showed me while we had Francisca and her family living with us for the week.  And I remember what we told her when she found out she was pregnant and was scared; that we would help her through this pregnancy and with this baby.  I remember that we often times are insisting that she needs to be eating everyday, and if she doesn’t have any food at her house, by God’s grace, we have the means to provide it for her.

I asked Francisca if I could start coming to her house to help her clean, wash clothes and clean the dishes every Monday morning.  At first she hesitated and said she didn’t want to bother me since I had already helped with so many other things, but I insisted that I wanted to do it, so she agreed.  Now that their water is back on (after Erik and Ben gathered all the families together to talk to them about each paying their part), I went for the first time three weeks ago.  They were ready for me when I got there.  The girls were excited to help and went to work washing all of their dishes in basins outside. Francisca wiped down the stovetop and table while I put the bed sheets in water to soak.  Francisca and I swept and mopped the floor…what little could be found now that they have moved a bunch of their old dirty furniture back in.  All of the space that we had made by organizing all of their clothes into bins and building a double bunk bed was now taken up by a filthy old couch and another double bed frame that had been moved back into the house.  There were food wrappers covering the floor and flies everywhere; a little disappointing to say the least.  I had a little chat with the girls about throwing their garbage in a trash bag instead of just dropping it on the floor and encouraged them that they could help their mom wash dishes and sweep the house every day so that it never got so dirty again.


Francisca has also been coming to our house every Tuesday for a sewing lesson with our friend Rita (one of the Mexican missionaries here). She is still doing very basic things but we are hoping for her to build confidence and possible make items for mom’s and babies like nursing covers, burp cloths, baby blankets, etc. We’ll keep you posted when we have a stock of things made!

For the last two weeks Francisca and her family have been out of town, so our cleaning and sewing projects have been on hold, but we will be picking up again on Monday, God willing! Please keep Francisca and her family in your prayers and us as we try to understand how to best serve her.


~ by martinsonmission on August 11, 2015.

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