Esperanza International. We worked on two sites and got the roof poured on one house before we left! Yay! I wish I could have stayed forever, though. The work we do there is so fulfilling and wonderful.
Before we went to Mexico (we build in Tijuana/Rosarito area but we stay in a small town called La Gloria), we stopped by the San Diego Zoo. My brother and two of my nephews drove down from Orange County to spend the day with me. It also happened to be my birthday! It was truly a happy birthday. :)
After the zoo, we crossed the border to Mexico and didn't look back.
On Sunday, we always go to La Bufadora and spend the day there. Melissa and I like to go get a drink by the beach so this is part of our tradition.
Here's the house when we started building.
Ariel and I were working on making the beams longer so that we could use them to hold the plywood up for the roof pour (the whole house is made of cement but we use wood to make the mold, so to say).
Dirty boots. We hauled cemento three of the 5 days we were there so we were filthy, to say the least.
Here is the house finished. We leave the rebar hanging out so that they can add onto the structure if they want, so from here Rosa can build up or out, either way.
Here is our group with Rosa. She was so sweet. Part of their responsibility is to feed us while we're working so every day she had to prepare a meal for all of us. She's a single mom of 5 kids, 2 of which are still home and in school. It took her 2 years to get her house because part of the program requirements are that they save money but because she is a single mom, it was difficult for her to do so. She persevered and now has a home to show for it.
I had such a fulfilling and wonderful week. I'm sure you'll be hearing more about it from me and if you want to read my updates from while I was down there on my blog, you can head on over and do that. I can't wait to go back next year. I'm hoping to maybe speak to some local churches and help them start a group of their own. Unfortunately, everyone believes the hype that Mexico is a terrible place to be, when it isn't. If you don't go looking for trouble, there's none really to be found. We walk around at night just fine, we are left alone, and if anything, we are safer where we are because the people in our community know who we are and why we're there.
I really hope that more people take the opportunity to go work with Esperanza. They're a wonderful organization and the time we spend there is absolutely wonderful and inspiring.