Christmas Comes to Campo Kids

Who – who’s never been here — would ever think that Mexico could get this COLD? When most (unknowing) people think of Mexico, I think, they think of sandy warm beaches, aqua water, swaying palm trees, brilliant sunshine, and (maybe) narcos and banditos; not freezing-cold weather.

But that’s what we have here now in Mexico’s central mountains, where central heating is unheard of. As I type this on my laptop, bundled up in bed, my hands feel like ice. I see that the forecast for tomorrow morning is 32 degrees. And it might go lower in the days to follow.

Just think for a moment of the little children living in the countryside who walk long distances to school before the Mexican sun rises to warm things up. How cold they must be – ice-cold ears and near-frozen noses….

I know one woman who has given these children a lot of thought and has done something wonderful about it. She is Toni Roberts, the creator of Hats and Scarves for Campo Kids, a knitting/crocheting group now in its seventh year that meets on Sunday and Wednesday afternoons all year long here in San Miguel de Allende, to create one-of-a-kind, you-guessed-it hats and scarves for these kids in the campo (countryside).

Anyone can join the group and be taught the how-to’s if she doesn’t already know how. Toni’s only requirements are that the hat covers the child’s ears (that is, 8 inches from crown to rim) and the scarf measures 5 inches wide and 5 feet long (long enough to wrap all around the child’s neck and cross over his or her chest).

In the wintertime, which has already arrived in full force here, Toni arranges distributions of her accumulated inventory, periodically tagging along with Feed the Hungry San Miguel, which provides hearty, hot, school lunches to 34 economically disadvantaged communities in the surrounding area. (For more about their worthy work, please visit www.feedthehungrysma.org .)

This week, however, Toni and a few of her crew (including me) joined a small rural elementary school’s Christmas party organized by that school’s sister-school in San Miguel, the private Victoria Robbins School. The Robbins school had thoughtfully asked each of the children at La Petaca, the rural school, to write out a Christmas wish list, and then the organizers generously proceeded to fill a gift bag with as many of those individual wishes as possible. Our sets of handmade hats and scarves became one more item to add to each child’s Christmas bag.

Here are some photos of the party, to make you feel you were there too:

We all took so many photos! Here are two kids fascinated to see themselves on someone’s iPhone.
Toni Roberts showing one child how to wear her long scarf
This child chose one of the hat-and-scarf sets I’d made, which made me so happy!
To show their appreciation, all of the children gathered in one of the school’s two classrooms to serenade us with a lively rendition of “Jingle Bells” — in perfect English
Before they dispersed, at the end of the party, the ninos posed for this group photo

As Toni and I quipped privately, it’s highly unlikely that any of these niños will ever personally experience riding in a jingle-belled “one-horse open sleigh” over snowy terrain (despite the wintertime temps here). But they WILL know for sure that sometimes in life your wishes do come true.

Happy Holidays to All!

And may your wishes come true too.

~ ~ ~

(For more on Toni and her Hats and Scarves group, go to my WOW archives; also, visit the Facebook page Hatsandscarves Campokids.)

18 thoughts on “Christmas Comes to Campo Kids”

  1. Thanks Bonnie for this post. This little school deep in the country side, off a very bumpy dirt road, only has 30 children. The sister school also provided gifts for the children’s siblings who were infants and toddlers, and we did too.

    This time of year reminds me of my favorite Christmas story where Marley’s Ghost screams at Scrooge who doesn’t get it, “Business! cried the ghost, wringing its hands again. ‘Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business’. . .”

    Merry Christmas one and all.

  2. Hey, Bonnie,

    Most times when you live in the mountains, it gets cold and snowy in the winter. I am hoping you have a heat source, even wood burning ones can be great. What does google say about winter conditions there? You might need snow shoes . It will be fun. Felice navidad!

    1. Guess I didn’t make myself clear enough, Ted. My point was that people who don’t know much about Mexico don’t even realize there are high-elevation mountains here; they only think in terms of the coastal beaches. My heat source? Daytime sunshine. 🙂

  3. Wonderful description of this fine project! It gives me enormous joy and immediate satisfaction to participate in this good work knowing that these little ones are receiving warm hats and scarves from women who care about them.

    1. Yes, Pamela dear, you’ve become an integral — and highly productive — member of the group! Did you spot any of your creations on the kids in the group photo? — Abrazos, BB xx

  4. What a perfect holiday story! The gift of giving, a child’s wishes fulfilled, warmth and joy = perfection, and what the season should all be about! Thank you, BB, for sharing it! Happy holidays to all!

  5. My affectionate thoughts to both Toni and you. You are great!
    Take care in this cold weather. Joyeux Noël, MLxx

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