Thursday, March 26, 2015

On a Mission

D and I travelled on our fourth Project Help Mexico mission this week. We went with a couple we have known for years, but don't really know at all. They have both just retired from education and are as lovely to be with as their kids were when I had them in Sunday School and Youth Group years ago.
We flew to San Diego and met up with our friends, old and new, from Calgary.
 Chicken tacos at the foster home where it all started. Carlton built a feeding station for the children of the very poor hillsides outside of Tijuana, and some of them didn't have homes to go to.
 We brought crafts and toys.
 The next morning we split into two groups and headed to two build sites. We were the blue team. The house is a kit with all the wood pre-cut and we were lucky to have a foreman, Pablo, but it was his first time in charge.
 We start by all hammering together and raising the walls.
 Here's D.
 We had 6 youth of varying abilities. It helped that the weather was fine. We painted some of the wood before we put it up high. Such a pretty blue.
 The walls were up and the struts for the roof were painted and all ready to go at the right time. I took on the task of setting up the painting, having the wood ready in the right place and getting the women and small people working together.
 Our family even pitched in. The lady in pink is the mom of the little kids, and is surrounded by her cousins.
 Ash asked to borrow my pink tool belt and he rocked it. All the walls were up before 9 am. The roof was set up before lunch.
 We went back to the foster home for delicious make your own sub sandwiches and more playing.  This sweetie is an old friend I have seen grow up in the last 4 years.
 Carlton took us to church because it was Sunday and it was a delight.
 Return to work. Our house was down below the road and the path was a bit tricky. I did fall in the morning moving those large pieces of plywood and really hurt my back. It is only now starting to feel better. But we didn't have enough tools or man power to step back.
 Leanne was magic with the children and spoke lovely Spanish.

 Our family makes pizzas. It sounded like they make 50 pizzas most days in this tiny oven on a dirt floor.

 They deliver the pizzas on motor bikes, carrying the pizzas up the hill and rolling the bike up too.
Behind the house is a gully. It was dry, and a bit messy, but could be full of water in the rainy months. I took this picture as I walked around the corner to the Pemex station to use the washroom and buy water. The loo was clean and beautiful and sometimes we just went to get a break from the dust and the dirt.
Pablo came back at the end of the second day to magically help hang the door. And then we were off to one of the pastor's homes for a buffet. Each meal was made for us by friends who put the money toward the supporting churches and welcomed us into their homes. It got really cold at night, so I was glad I had my down vest to go over my paint stained camp hoodie.

 There is a real beauty in the colourful homes that crowd the terraces beyond Tijuana. The people are rich in the wealth of faith and family. Project Help Mexico has built over 300 houses in this area over 30 years.
 We love to stop at the michoacana ice cream stand. I always get the fresh strawberries that are just crushed and frozen. I was also nursing a few guys with sore throats, so they were pretty happy.
 Day 3: Dry wall and painting. This is not as easy as it looks. I have done it before, but always as the helper/ follower. Two of our men were pros and did most of the mudding.

Our painting team. My flowered tshirt hid the paint specs, but they were all over my glasses and face and arms. It was warm enough to do two coats, which it needed. Then the furniture started arriving and we had to prepare for the key dedications.
 The other team made a red house, exactly the same pattern. We had a fiesta lunch and gave them the keys.
Then we went back to our house to give our family their keys. It is always powerful. This is the group from our church.We also brought a cross that a friend from choir made, and some art from an artist who joined us on the trip last year.
Life can be very hard here, but it can also be enjoyed.

 We had such a great team and enjoyed spending time with the Mexican families. It was the hardest build yet because we didn't have enough people and tools to stretch to two builds. But, sitting in my living room, looking at the comfort we have, it was good to give.

1 comment:

Judy S. said...

Bless you! What a wonderful project.