Faraway: Get Out of Your World
Not on Twenty Pesos a Day
What is a father? To get a true definition, all you have to do is listen to Victor Gonzales Carillo tell the story of his three sons.
As a life-long farm worker in Mexico, Victor knows what hard work entails. He also knows that on twenty pesos a day, all his hard work could never take his family beyond a life of poverty. Rather than resign to this fate for his sons, Victor gave his sons the courage to see a better life beyond the hazy horizon of poverty. How did he create the opportunity for his sons to realize his vision for them?
Opportunity doesn’t knock unless you are around to hear it. When his sons were young teenagers and beginning secondary school, Victor heard about Cambiando Vidas, a nonprofit organization in Chacala, Mexico that provides scholarships for higher education. He was able to enroll only his youngest in the program. Undeterred, he worked harder to save what he could and find other ways to fund his older two sons so that all three could complete college and find rewarding careers.
His oldest son became a veterinarian; his youngest an oncologist; and his middle son, Crisanto, became an instructor of Ethics and Family Values at LaPrepa High School. He is also the Regional Director for Habitat for Humanity in Latin America.
Victor told his story the other day while sitting under a tree at LaPrepa High School in Las Varas, Mexico. I got to hear it because I am volunteering this month with Rotary International on a project to upgrade two schools in the Nayarit region. My job is to collect the stories. Victor's story is a powerful portrayal of what it means to be a father.
Not understanding Spanish, I stood to the side, watching his face as the tears trailed down his cheeks. Eddie Dominguez, a former television producer conducted the interview professionally, drawing Victor’s story out in a calm and respectful manner.
Afterward, Eddie told me the gist of what was said. Victor is a father whose love for his family overflows like the tears that he felt no macho need to hold back as he related his story. He is immensely proud of his sons and in particular, mentioned that he is so happy that Crisanto is giving back to his community by being both a teacher and director for Habitat for Humanity.
And we are indeed fortunate to have Crisanto helping to direct the remodel project at LaPrepa High School. And one more thing, I asked one of the English-speaking students about Crisanto and a smile flashed up immediately when she responded, “He is our favorite teacher!”
If you are ever wondering where to find a universal example of a great father, look no further than into Victor Gonzales Carillo’s shimmering eyes.
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