Happy Thanksgiving! Today, World Vision writer Kari Costanza describes the best meal she ever had, in San Mateo, Mexico — where a VisionFund microloan empowered Kari's hosts, Yolanda and Silverio, to open a taco stand and better support their family.
I will never again order Chicken Mole in a restaurant (pronounced mo-lay, Spanish for “sauce”).
This was a silent promise I made sitting in the middle of a street in San Mateo, a small village in Mexico’s Michoacán, the state that stretches west from Mexico City to the Pacific Ocean.
Michoacán is famous for its monarch butterflies. Each year, 300 million of the beautiful creatures flutter from the Oyamel fir trees of the region’s forest to Canada and back again.
But more than butterflies take flight from Michoacán. It is a challenging place to live. Powerful drug cartels hold economic progress hostage. Men and women attempt to cross the border to the United States to look for better jobs and higher wages to send home to their struggling families.
That’s why it was so deliciously refreshing to eat a peaceful meal in the middle of the street in San Mateo.
We were hosted by a family you can read more about in the World Vision magazine. They reminded me of my own family — a hard-working dad, an enterprising mother, and beautiful, black-haired, dark-eyed children with impish personalities, just like my son and daughter.
Because of a small loan from VisionFund in Mexico, the mother of the family, Yolanda, was able to open a taco stand in the village. Her income quadrupled. She and her husband, Silverio, spent part of the loan to start a carnitas (pork) business as well.
Today, the family has what it needs — and more. Enough to make me the best dinner I’ve ever had.
The family and their neighbors blocked off the street, set up a small table and chairs, and began to prepare the delicious mole. Mole negro (“black sauce”) has at least 20 ingredients — most of them spices — so it took all day to prepare.
With each passing hour, more and more heavenly aromas infused the village breezes — scents spicy and peppery with whiffs of rich chocolate.
Yolanda (red/white apron) and her neighbors serve a delicious mole feast to World Vision staff Kari Costanza and Jon Warren and their interpreter, Norma (red coat). (Photo: 2013 Jon Warren/World Vision)
And then it was time to eat. It’s difficult to describe that Chicken Mole. It was beyond delicious. The sauce was a deep mahogany, spicy, rich, and creamy. The chicken was tender. The warm tortillas, fresh off the burner, were made from blue corn.
When I was no longer hungry, I ate more.
This Thanksgiving as I substitute turkey for Chicken Mole, I will give thanks for people like Yolanda and Silverio who work hard, take advantage of the kinds of programs World Vision provides in places like Mexico, and then give back to their neighbors, their community, and even visitors like me.
Happy Thanksgiving to us all!
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