Development is hard: Carolina

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Shortly after moving to Mexico, my wife and I met a 13 year old girl named Carolina. She quickly became a little sister to us. She would hang out with us all the time. She appreciated having a protective and loving big brother and, being the youngest of five, I actually enjoyed having a younger sister to spend time with. She is such a kind-hearted person and I loved watching her grow over the years. After her quinceanera, my wife and I prayed with her and let her know that anything she ever needed, we would be there. She became a very important part of our lives while we were living there. We just love her so much and we felt like it was so unfair that this incredibly beautiful and gentle person lives the life that she has to live every day.

After a few years my wife and I left Mexico to move back home to Phoenix. We still visit every now and then but one of the things we miss the most is spending time with Carolina.

On our last visit she gave us a letter, explaining that school is getting hard and her family needs money so she is going to quit high school and start looking for work. She has made it farther in her education than anyone in her family before her, so they are supporting her decision.

This is where development gets really hard. The decision is not clear cut. Should we step in and make sure she stays in school? The point in life isn’t to graduate high school. If she hasn’t taken it upon herself to own her future and make it better, us stepping in would be like putting bandaid on a broken arm.

This is one of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever seen and here she is being thrown to the wolves in the barrios of Mexico. Worst case, she’s picked up by some cartel member who makes her his new girlfriend. Best case, she graduates high school and works as a day laborer wrapping candy or separating shrimp.

The point is, best case scenario for the majority of the world is a devastating prospect. I believe we can change that. It will not be easy, but if it changes the reality of someone like Carolina in 50 years from now, it’ll be worth it.

Pray for me and my beautiful “little sister” Carolina. She created a place in my heart that I didn’t even know existed. She needs to know she’s valuable and she needs to know that life doesn’t have to be about simply surviving.

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