• James Parry

Locals rally to support Mexican migrant worker who lost everything in recent earthquake


While sad at what awaits him in Mexico, Mauricio Mendoza (4th from left back row) together with his fellow Mexican migrant gardeners Isidaro Paulino and Cavlos Medina Cruz (centre and whose homes have not been destroyed) says he is thankful for the support of St. Lazare residents Alejandra Maldonada (left) and her children; Elaine Wright (third from left), as well as Champs de Rêves owner Mark Rassi (third from right), Clementina Garcia and Emily Latour.

Every spring for the past five years, Mauricio Mendoza has bid his wife and five children in Mexico a fond farewell to head north to Vaudreuil-Soulanges for six months working as a gardener with other fellow Mexicans at Champs de Rêves garden centre in St. Lazare. He sends money back home and, while he enjoys his stay here, is always looking forward to being reunited with his family.

This year is different as he has no home to go back to. It was totally obliterated in the earthquake that struck Mexico just days ago. And while his family is safe and now living under a tent outside the pile of rubble, Mendoza has lost literally everything - his house and all the family’s possessions.

What he does have, however, is the positive and heartfelt support of several people in our local community who - as of this week - are doing all they can to help him rebuild his life and that of his family in Morelos, Mexico.

People like St. Lazare resident, Elaine Wright, who first broke news of his plight on social media after learning about it from her sister-in-law, Emily Latour, who works weekends alongside Mendoza at the gardening centre.

Said Wright in an exclusive interview with Your Local Journal, “When I was watching the news of the earthquake on TV, I felt so powerless. I wanted to help but I didn't know how. And then I learned about Mauricio and I felt compelled to help this family.”

Her posting on Facebook caught the attention of another St. Lazare resident of Mexican origin, Alejandra Maldonado who’s scheduled to take the very same September 28 flight as Mendoza, taking him back to Mexico and helping out as best she can.

Said Maldonado, “When I read what Elaine had written about Mauricio, obviously it touched right deep into my heart. I know where he comes from. I come from there too. And it's like life put us right in front of each other for me to get involved personally and help him out from the beginning of his return home, until he gets to see his five kids and his wife.”

Added Maldonado, “This is not a matter of nationality, not at all. I mean, I can perhaps understand better than many because I know what my people are going through, I lived there for 27 years, and all my family is still there.

“It's a matter of helping someone in need, someone who's suffering, and who needs help to get up again. I would help anyone in need with my eyes closed if I could. No matter the religion, sex, beliefs or whatever. It's a matter of being human, being considerate, and putting yourself in other peoples' shoes. Like Elaine, I'm just glad I can help him out in whatever way we can.”

As is the case with Champs de Rêves owner, Mark Rassi, who told Your Local Journal, “Mauricio is such a good guy and an excellent and conscientious gardener. People perhaps don't realize how much migrant workers like him sacrifice in being away from home for so long to provide for their families. He has become part of our family here, and right now he and his family really need our help. ”

Through an interpreter, Clementine Garcia, Mendoza told YLJ, “I know that my family is safe in Mexico but I did not have any news about them until two days after the earthquake. I was so worried and I was very sad. But now I am happy that my friends here in St. Lazare are ready to help us. It is something that we will never forget.”

If you wish to get involved go to www.gofundme.com/rebuild-mauricios-family-home or call Elaine Wright at (514) 831-2663.

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