Brayan’s Story

We first met Brayan at the beach in Cabo San Lucas. It wasn’t a planned encounter.

Teresa and I were playing tourists, enjoying the 75-degree winter sunshine of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Brayan approached us with his homemade potato chips and Valentina Hot Sauce, asking us to buy. We soon discovered his needs and those of his family were much greater than just making a sale.

Brayan was easy to identify. Among the kids selling food and souvenirs on Medano Beach that day, only one child had an eye permanently wandering in the wrong direction—a condition known as ” strabismus.” Brayan was unable to align both his eyes upon the object of his attention.

Some might call it an accidental encounter with Brayan. Depends on your prospective; others would say it was preordained. Either way, this was our introduction to the kids that live on the other side of Cabo, about five kilometers up dusty dirt roads and far from the fancy tour at hotels.

Throughout our marriage, Teresa would tell me about her experiences growing up poor in Chihuahua, Mexico, near the Texas border.  We would compare he life with my rather privileged upbringing. And sitting on the beach that day with our new friend, Brayan, we could no longer be “just” tourists, enjoying the beach in Cabo anymore. We needed to find a way to change lives, to be part of the solution to the poverty found in Mexico.

Our encounter with Brayan turned out to be part of the answer to the question we had been asking each other, and God:

“How can we find our niche to help poor people in a city filled with both rich tourists and impoverished residents?”

Months before that day we had ventured into the streets on the poor side of Cabo, learning about the people’s needs and the extent to which these needs were rbeing met. During those trips in our aging minivan we came across Amigos de Los Amigos, an organization that gives free operations to kids in need. Among those surgeries—eye operations.

That day on the beach, as we munched on Brayan’s potato chips (Teresa’s with hot sauce, mine without), asked Brayan to join us for lunch on the beach the following day to talk about the possibilities of surgery.

He arrived on time—along with three other children from his neighborhood who heard that a couple of Americans were buying lunch! Our group of your friends had grown to four! Teresa then invited the four to go to the movies. A couple days later, our four new frieneds walked five kilometers to meet her at the theater—along with six other kids who had heard a couple of Americans were buying movie tickets! Our group of young friends had now grown to 10!

Several months late, Brayan became a candidate for the free eye surgery. The operation was successful! His outlook changed—visually and socially. At school, Brayan went from the boy who was laughed at to the young man the girls wanted to date!

And so, the “dots” began to connect. Our desire to change lives has now grown to 50 children and their families on the poor side of Cabo.