Mexican kids seeking end to coronavirus as Epiphany gift

By Ines Amarelo

Mexico City, Jan 5 (EFE).- Mexican children in this capital still hope to receive toys and other fun gifts for Epiphany, but they also are asking for abundant health for all of their family members and a definitive end to the coronavirus in 2022.

“I only ask them for health for me and my family … that my family is healthy all year so I can be with them more,” said Judith Evelyn, a 10-year-old girl who went with her parents Wednesday to a Three Kings fairgrounds located across from Mexico City’s Monument to the Revolution landmark.

The fair is serving as a much-welcomed family reunion space for hundreds of people in Mexico, where despite the lack of draconian restrictions seen in other countries many families had kept children away from their grandparents and other non-nuclear relatives as a health precaution.

“(What I do) with my cousins is play and with my family is be together,” eight-year-old Jimena shyly noted.

Despite the arrival of the Omicron variant, which has continued to spread in Mexico since the first official case was reported there on Dec. 3, the Epiphany fair in this capital boasts more than a score of stalls where performers dressed as Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar receive letters from gift-seeking children.

Each of those spaces is decorated differently, some with a traditional Nativity scene and others with modern characters like those from the Pokemon and Frozen franchises.

After waiting in long lines with their relatives, the young children finally get their chance to have a photo taken with one of the biblical Magi and assure him they have been good all year and deserve the gifts they are requesting.

Dolls and action figures, play kitchens, remote-controlled cars, roller blades and bicycles are some of the presents they covet the most.

But many of the children wrap up that face-to-face encounter by expressing their desire that Covid-19 does not ruin 2022 and prevent them from enjoying a normal life with their loved ones.

“That they take good care of themselves and not catch the bug!” 8-year-old Grecia, who was accompanied by her mother and siblings, requested of one of the Three Wise Men.

“I ask the Wise Men to make Covid go away,” her 9-year-old brother Gael said when it was his turn.

Grecia’s seven-year-old sister Alexis, meanwhile, wished for the quick recovery of an aunt who is suffering from a heart ailment. “And that we stay happy,” she added.

While enjoying the fairgrounds’ neon lights, games, giant slide and a bit of cool weather, a visitor to the site might momentarily forget about the pandemic, which has claimed nearly 300,000 lives in Mexico (fifth-most worldwide).

The ubiquitous anti-bacterial gel and mandatory mask use, however, quickly bring adults and children alike back to reality.

Kevin, 9, perhaps best summed up the various sentiments of those in attendance.

“For Mexico I ask for health, for my family good luck and for me a remote-controlled car I can move by hand,” he said. EFE


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