Tales of Retirement in Paradise
|Chapter 10: Dreams Do Come True|
Polly G. Vicars
Luz María Rodriguez, a young girl from a pueblo just north of Puerto Vallarta, had a dream. Even though she was just a girl, and even though she was from a large family with very limited economic resources, and even though her father thought formal education was for his sons, but not his daughters, she dreamed of becoming a doctor.
|Dr. Luz María Rodriguez after receiving her degree as a Doctor of Cardiology from the prestigious Academic Hospital in Maastricht, The Netherlands. |
|Dr. Luz María with Hubert Vicars, AKA Husband during a visit to Puerto Vallarta.|
|Luz with Bernice on her last visit to Vallarta before Bernice's death.|
|Luz and Bernice in Bernice's Puerto Vallarta home.|
A Doctor! What a dream for such a poor little Mexican girl! But dreams do come true and there are fairy godmothers! Amigas told her about the generous gringa, Bernice Starr, and her AMF that helped students with good grades, high ambitions, and little money to pay for their schooling.
Luz María qualified in all aspects. She approached Bernice, and there was an immediate affinity. She was awarded a scholarship for junior high, then senior high, and then university. With the Foundation scholarship and her own hard work, she realized her dream - she became a Doctor of General Medicine.
The relationship between Luz María and Bernice flourished. Bernice, the fairy godmother, evolved into Bernice, Mother-Father-Advisor-Friend! Luz María was not content; she still had much to learn! She continued her studies and earned the title of Doctor of Internal Medicine. She was then earning her own money and came to Bernice and the Foundation only for encouragement and moral support.
Still the dream urged her on. She applied for and was awarded an exchange scholarship at the University Hospital of Liege, Belgium. There she studied and worked for several years, distinguishing herself, her sex, her country, and her sponsor, the America-México Foundation. She then transferred to the prestigious Academic Hospital in Maastricht, The Netherlands.
Her mentor-mother Bernice, who incidentally in "her other life" had been a school teacher, traveled to Maastricht and huddled with Luz María over her heart research papers. After both determined that every "i" was dotted and every "t" crossed, Luz María presented her research to cardiac physicians and researchers in Europe, Canada and the United States.
These research papers, corrected for proper English by Bernice, became the basis for Luz María's thesis. The thesis was accepted, and on April 29, 1994, with Bernice proudly in attendance, Luz María Rodriguez, received her Doctor of Cardiology!
Doctor of General Medicine, Doctor of Internal Medicine, and now Doctor of Cardiology - - all degrees earned by a little Mexican girl who had a dream that wouldn't die! I'm sure you now see why we work so tirelessly to raise funds for the education of Vallartense boys and girls who have big dreams and little money.
(When Bernice had trouble getting her magnificent book, "Bartholomew" published, Luz María stepped in and got it done. (See AmericaMexicoFoundation.com to order this book.) She visited Bernice often, never forgetting the woman and the organization that helped make her "Dreams Come Through!" Sadly, Bernice is no longer with us. Happily Dr. Luz María continues to amaze the world with her brilliance as a doctor in The Netherlands. She is an internationally renowned and sought after speaker at medical conferences, is an inspiration to all her know her and proof that your donations truly do change the world.)
Polly G. Vicars and her husband of 57 years, Hubert (a.k.a. "Husband") retired to Puerto Vallarta in 1988 and soon became active members of several charitable organizations. Polly is the author of "Tales of Retirement in Paradise: Life in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico" [a sell-out!] and "More Tales of Retirement in Puerto Vallarta and Around the World." Proceeds from the sale of her books go to the America-Mexico Foundation, a scholarship foundation that is their passion.
Click HERE for more articles by Polly Vicars.