What in the World is an "Aguinaldo"?

Aguinaldo is the Mexican name for the grand old tradition of “Christmas bonus.”  Here in Oaxaca that tradition is extremely important—rising almost to the level of sacrosanct!  People depend so much on their aguinaldos that come December and time for the Christmas bonus they would be absolutely devastated if the aguinaldos failed to materialize.  It is so vitally important to each worker's personal economy that the Mexican government has made it a legal obligation for employers to provide. This non-optional requirement consists of a minimum of 15-30 days' pay. Aguinaldos are due by the middle of December—in other words very soon! And as you might have already guessed, we do not currently have the funds to pay all of our staff aguinaldos. 

The Casa Compasiva collective aguinaldo bonuses this year represent a chunk of change—approximately $1200 US.  Lest you think this is exorbitant, remember that our midwives and doulas receive 30-43 pesos per hour.  With the recent plunge in the peso following US elections, this translates to only $1.50-$2.10 US per hour. Since we were not able to increase salaries this last January, the devalued peso means that they are now actually making LESS this year than they did last year. To their credit, nobody is whining or complaining about their financial hardships—these are quality, godly women and they live out their faith daily in hard work and joyful dedication.  In fact, these verses from 2 Corinthians that describe Paul's sufferings give a pretty apt description of the life of a midwife (with slight creative license). :)

 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and (in uncomfortably cramped positions).  Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the (pregnant mamas and their babies).

These  women are the best---and believe me, they REALLY deserve their aguinaldos!  Please give generously to supply this need and to affirm these excellent servants of Jesus in their sacrificial work for the mothers and babies of Oaxaca!  
Lila Joy

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