Four: Update on Martín Reyes Mercado
Martín Reyes Mercado (whom his family thought was fifteen, but who turns out to be sixteen, now that we have checked his birth registration) is at present in California, seriously studying English in preparation for entry into Terman Junior High School this September. Arranging all of Martín’s papers was a hassle too prolonged and tedious to relate. It involved multiple visits to no fewer than sixteen different offices in three different cities, and nearly every office collected its fee, until the total expenditure was over 500 pesos. The visa itself was free.
The present plan is for Martín to spend one or two years in school in the states, and then return to Sinaloa to train to become a teacher in the villages. During the latter part of the summer, Martín has been staying with the family of Bob Graham and Shirley Graham in Monte Vista. Shirley, who had worked for several years with the language program of the Lark Foundation, had taken him on as a full-time student. Martín is learning eagerly and rapidly. He not only is learning English, but has already mastered the bicycle, has been studying math and has made many acute observations on American culture. Almost everyone who meets him, loves him, and all who spend time with him delight to see the old things we take for granted brought into fresh perspective through his new and wandering eyes. While Martín misses his family and the modest village food, he appears happy and astoundingly adaptable. He seems to have the knack of assimilating his new environment without being assimilated. He remains and promises to remain very much Martín.