We just returned from an expedition building houses in Tijuana. This was our third trip together with Charity Anywhere Foundation. This trip was a little different though. A few months ago we had told Gordon Carter, the foundation director, that if he was ever unable to go on the trip that we’d be willing to go in his place, and he told us that he did need someone to go in May. So we were “Gordon” for the trip, which ended up being more stressful than we both imagined…but at the same time rewarding. We did a lot of running around…going from project to project to lumber yard to project to somewhere else and so on. And I’ve never understood why running errands like that is so exhausting…you’re just sitting in a car most of the time. But either way it mentally wore us out.
We had a small group for this expedition, only 13 of us total. Most of which were students from USU, but Emily’s parents also came. We split into two groups.
Project #1: was building a latrine and cleaning/painting a house for a single mother with three boys named Azucena. The mother has diabetes and was even blind for 3 years because of it. She must leave early in themorning to go to work and does not get home until late at night, so the 13 y/o son acts like the mom/dad to the younger two brothers. This family had just joined the LDS church a few weeks ago.
Her house is just a two room shack with no plumbing and “borrowed” electricity. The conditions when we got there were VERY poor. They did not have a functioning bathroom, they had a disease infested couch, etc. So we took everything out of the house and exposed every square inch of it to Clorox. Then we painted and repair the walls, built some shelves, built them a table, rearranged the furniture, and lastly built them a beautiful latrine. Honestly, the latrine is nicer than the house.
Project #2: There is a family that has been helping Charity Anywhere for years. The mom, Ellie, has been cooking for groups for about 4 years now, and it wasn’t until a few months ago that we discovered that she was living in poor conditions herself. She is a fun but stubborn lady that doesn’t want to accept charity. The woman just gives and gives but will not take anything. While she has a small home, she has a big lot (by Mexican standards) and we asked if we could build an addition onto her home so that we could store supplies at her home. The location that we have been storing supplies has been a nightmare and so we were looking for a newplace to store stuff.
So anywho, we are building a second story onto Ellie’s home so that the two children can live up there and we can store our materials downstairs.
Ellie’s daughter, Arely (16), had a school talent show while we were there and all 13 of us Americans went to it. It was highly entertaining.