Acapulco woman makes street children her missionFrom: www.cnn.com
Ask Rosa Maria Cruz-Muller how many children she has, and she’ll answer you with a shrug. The answer is in the hundreds, perhaps thousands. The 53-year-old government employee has three biological children. The rest she rescued from the streets took them home and gave them a new life … away from drugs, abuse and an early death.
Everybody calls her Mama Rosy. She describes herself as somebody who “gives love to street children.” By all accounts, she has done that for a long time.
For more than three decades, Mama Rosy’s mission has been to rescue children from the streets in the Mexican beach resort of Acapulco. Where others see petty criminals, drug addicts and young prostitutes, she sees abandoned children in need of love.
She goes to places many would consider dangerous, looking for children nobody cares about. Most often, she walks around a bridge near the Acapulco pier, where many street children find shelter from the tropical sun.
During a recent walk around the bridge, Mama Rosy gave some children clothes. She took two boys who were particularly hungry to a nearby supermarket and bought them food and sandals with her own money. “They need so much love,” she said as she saw them walking away.
She has gained the children’s trust by always being available, always. “I go with them and I talk to them and when a new one comes here the other ones (tell) him, ‘Here’s Mama Rosy. When you need something, this is the address, go with her’ and it’s like a chain,” Mama Rosy says.
She also frequently goes to the pier looking for children begging for money or doing drugs. This is also a place where they’re picked up by pedophiles so her goal is to try to get them away from there as soon as possible.
One of the children she rescued is now a young man who works at the pier maintaining boats. As soon as he sees her at the pier, he comes out of the water and gives her a wet hug.
Children are welcome at her home in downtown Acapulco 24 hours a day, where they can always get a hot meal and a shower. Others keep coming back now as adults with a family; Mama Rosy already counts 24 non-biological grandchildren.
Dythra Lopez, who was lost in a world of drugs when Mama Rosy found her at age 16, is now a manager at a convenience store. No matter how much she resisted, no matter how many times she ran away, Mama Rosy, she says, was always asking her to quit drugs in a loving, patient way. “She earned our love, trust and respect little by little and became like a mother to us, the mother none of us had,” Lopez said.
But for every success story there’s heartbreak. Many of the kids she tries to rescue simply disappear without leaving any trace. Others move to different cities. Some have been violently murdered or ended up serving prison time.
Last year a 16-year-old girl who called herself “Jahaira” and who, according to Mama Rosy, was working as a street prostitute to pay for her drug habit suddenly became ill. Mama Rosy took her to the hospital where doctors gave her a serious diagnosis. She was dying of AIDS. Mama Rosy scrambled to find any relatives and managed to bring Jahaira’s grandmother to her death bed. The 16-year-old girl died the following day.
Mama Rosy cries as she reads letters from Jahaira. “I always remember her. She was a beautiful girl. Very happy, how do you say, traviesa, a prankster! But she was only a girl and only 16 years old.”
Mama Rosy has three biological children, including Vanessa Santoyo, who routinely helps with the children who suffer from both physical and emotional wounds. Santoyo describes her mother as her “hero; the best mom of the world for me and the other kids.”
Her nonstop labor of love also includes visiting marginalized neighborhoods, bringing gifts and hope. Mama Rosy admits that sometimes it’s overwhelming, but says she’s not about to stop helping children anytime soon. “As long as there are children in need,” she says, “there will always be Mama Rosy for them.”
Word of the Day
Wound: \ˈwünd, archaic or dialect ˈwau̇nd\
Origin: Middle English, from Old English wund; akin to Old High German wunta wound
First Known Use: before 12th century
1: a : an injury to the body (as from violence, accident, or surgery) that typically involves laceration or breaking of a membrane (as the skin) and usually damage to underlying tissues b : a cut or breach in a plant usually due to an external agent
2: a mental or emotional hurt or blow
3: something resembling a wound in appearance or effect; especially : a rift in or blow to a political body or social group
Beg: v. to ask for as a charity
Chain: n. a series of things linked, connected, or associated together
Decade: n. a period of 10 years
Marginalize: v. to relegate to an unimportant or powerless position within a society or group
Overwhelm: v. to affect (someone) very strongly
Petty: adj. having little or no importance or significance
Pier: n. a structure (as a breakwater) extending into navigable water for use as a landing place or promenade or to protect or form a harbor
Love those Phrasal Verbs
Run away: to flee or escape; leave a place of confinement or control with the intention of never returning
- Randall ran away from home three times.