Monday, May 16, 2011

Visiting Grandma's Mexican Abode

The Road to Covadonga

Recently we were given the opportunity to see where "Grandma", Sylvia Askey, lives while she is in Mexico. The girls had never been to the remote village of Covadonga and it had been 15 years since Chuy and I spent a day there. As proof of geographical ignorance, Grace had been confusing Covadonga and Pennsylvania! Now that she has played in the shallow riverbed and made village playmates, I think it is clearer to her where Grandma's other home is. We took a mini tour of the ranch, and we got to meditating on new possibilities on our way home to urban life. 
Beside the road

We drove out of the metropolitan area one Thursday morning and caught the toll road to Durango City. After close to three hours, we arrived in the last town which is called Penon Blanco. In the well-stocked stores we picked up grocery items and then enjoyed "gorditas" (the Mexican version of pocket bread made from either corn or flour dough). Now the fun began--right where the pavement ended! The girls were spared Daddy's nervousness in navigating the washboard road by riding in Grandma's truck, which had been parked opposite the police station. Except for a few narrow places where the eroded sides plunged some 15 or more feet, safety really wasn't a concern. We were just rattled in mind and body after the crowning water crossing that followed 50 minutes of eating Grandma's dust.

That evening we got to see the miniature house and more ample office Grandma owns as well as the store and medical clinic adjacent to her property. A brief but intense rain shower relieved the hot, heavy, humid air. Mom also gave us a walk-through of the building she is erecting, which you can read about here. She would like Arbol de Vida to take a group down for a retreat, which would be refreshing, although it would require logistical planning.

Friday was spent in seeing the village of some 200 people and the only church and water facilities. The girls were excited to see the chicks, turkeys, donkeys, and especially the horses up close. Just as cars and motorcycles speed past our city home, cowboys gallop up and down the main road past Grandma's, kicking up a cloud of dust that filters into every nook and cranny of her house. To Rebeca's utmost delight, a neighbor gave them guided horse rides in the afternoon. I'll be sure to share the photos and video when I get them.

A magnificent view of this hilly, semi-arid country can be seen from atop the hill where the town has a well and water holding tanks. Each afternoon the families can collect free purified water since the piped vital liquid has toxic amounts of arsenic.

Most of the village economics revolves around beef cattle and bean, chile and oregano crops, but some members have found alternative means. One of my favorites is a pecan orchard that employs several local men and boys. One young man pulls 24 hour shifts for the local police in the town at the other end of the dirt road.

At 7 o'clock Saturday morning Rebeca and I went to see if she might milk a cow, and we found the lady of the house making corn tortillas, just like most of the women do daily. In the afternoon they prepare the corn for the following day. They also keep very busy with the family laundry, many washing by hand and all drying the clothing under the intense desert sun. These hard-working ladies cook and pack lunches for the men going to work and children headed for school. Cleaning the endless dust, ironing and needlework consume many additional hours each week. Even so, most of the daughters drop in to visit their mother or mother-in-law or another relative each day.

My own mother reads the Bible most afternoons to an elderly couple. Only God can measure the fruit of taking Scripture to them and to outlying villages. Only He knows the impact of living among them, devoted to the Lord and simply sharing love and burdens.

Two nights and one full day was enough to set my family's heads spinning with possibilities. Especially when we perceived the girls' longing to live this seemingly idyllic lifestyle. Before our excursion, Chuy never would have entertained the idea. Now, however, seeing the spiritual fields ripe for harvest has set him to imagining a plan for ministry. While we don't actually envision going there ourselves, we would like to oversee a native missionary and remain connected to the people. May the Lord provide the right person/family for the post!

Thanks for coming with us on a trip out to Grandma's!


  1. Excellent! Sounds like a fabulous time and I love how God can open our eyes to possibilities. He is the best Author!

  2. Good writing; clearly depicts your journey and the reactions your family had to this village. It was good to hear Chuy's new awareness of another mission field, especially the idea of working with a native missionary. I'm sharing this on my Facebook wall for my own set of readers. Thanks!

  3. Wonderfully written, Rose, and I, too am excited about the possibilities for Arbol de Vida.