I apologize for not getting the blog up last night. It was a long, but good day.
We continued spreading dirt at the Siloe clinic for the future community garden and play ground. They are needing to raise the ground about 3 feet because it is on a flood plane in the valley. We had a great crew stucconing the outside wall of the day care. There are some great stuccoing students on this trip!
We also moved a big truck load of rock from a local “rock quarry.” The rock quarry is one young man with a sledge hammer and a breaker bar that breaks rock all day. Sadly the old flat bed truck broke down on the way back to the clinic and we had to leave it until the workers at the medical clinic could come and get it.
The Primo Tapia team did an amazing job of tiling the bottom and top floor. They almost finished the job. Once again we have students who can tile a floor! This was an incredible team of students who worked really hard and did really well.
In the afternoon we came off the work sites early so that the students could have extra time down at the orphanage. Students held babies, played on the play ground and played soccer.
We will head to the border around 11 am. It is about an hour drive to the border. Once at the border, the border line could take us anywhere from 1 1/2 – 3 hours to cross. The Tijuana/ San Diego border crossing is one of the busiest border crossings in the world. There are lost to a million people who cross the border every day. Once across I will send out a text message that everyone is across. We will stop at In-N-Out before heading to the airport.
Please monitor the flight info to see if we are delayed or not.
It has been an amazing week with your students. Last night at during our last meeting, many of the students expressed how close they have become with each other. There are some really cool friendships that have developed this week. This is one of the closest groups we have had and it has been fun to watch. We have been immersed in this culture and your students have been working hard, getting dusty and dirty every day. They have been without cell phones or any media for a week. Some students’ re-entry can be a little rough. Like I stated, they have been immersed in this culture and as they return back to their home, they may become slightly overwhelmed with the change. Some students will be ready to talk your ear off till 3 am in the morning, others will need a day or two to talk about their time here. You know your student best, so please be aware of what might happen to them as they arrive home. With that said, I will tell your student tonight that they NEED to debrief this trip with you in the coming days. It is when they verbalize what they have experienced that it moves from their head to their heart. This is what will happen because that is when life change happens.
Below are a few questions you can ask your students when they get home:
– What was it like crossing the border from the US into Mexico? What did you see, smell and hear?
– What was the orphanage like?
– What was the Open Arms DayCare like?
– What did you think or feel about the old Tijuana dump?
– What job were you on and what did you do?
– What are two things you enjoyed about the trip?
– What was the hardest part of the trip?
– How do you think you have changed this week?
– What is one thing you don’t want to forget this week?
– What is something you learned about yourself, life, this world, God, and others?
– What do you remember about DJ’s story? Daniel and Heidi’s story? Sarah and Brenden’s story?
– What has this week meant to you?
I hope this gets the conversation going. Finally, Mindy and I are grateful that you would trust your student with us in Mexico for this week. They are great kids and we have enjoyed getting to know them. We have also had some amazing adult leaders with us on this trip who gave up vacation and time away from family to be here to make this trip a possibility. For that, we are very grateful!
– This year Be2Live will be hosting its first ever Be2Live Student Leadership Retreat the first weekend of November in Sonoma. Look for information in the coming months. We would love to have all the students join us.
– November 16-28 we are hosting a Ghana Service and Learning Trip. There is great information on our website about this trip as well as how to apply. Any student who has attended the Mexico trip is a Junior or older, including adults, are invited to apply. There is an application process.
– We will open our 2018 Mexico trips on November 1st. Both trips this June sold out so be on the look out for e-mail updates and reminders for sign ups. We would love to have your students go again next year.
Once again…THANK YOU!!
Today was a day of work and fun! Well every day has been like that.
This morning we continued working on both of our projects. At Siloe, our team moved and leveled dirt for a future community garden and playground. We also had a group hanging drywall and doing a lot of cleaning in the medical rooms. They hope to open part of the medical clinic in about two weeks.
We also had another team at Primo Tapia. Jeremy, the American director of Open Arms Day Care (they have been leading the project for us) told me that he has never seen a group of students lay tile as fast and as good as this team! They continued laying tile today and hope to finish it tomorrow.
After lunch we headed to the La Mision beach. Many of the students got in the water. The water isn’t much warmer than the San Diego water. Warm enough to get in without a wetsuit, but too cold to stay in too long. Some students rode horses while others took a nap on the beach. We then headed to La Fonda’s a restaurant on the cost for dinner. After dinner, DJ, the American director of the orphanage shared his story of coming to Mexico and his perspective on life. In short, he shared that life is better when we are serving others and he encouraged everyone to do something great with your life, don’t settle for the status quo.
Tomorrow we will finish our worksites and come back to the orphanage a little earlier so that students can play with the children. Also tomorrow, I will post some important information about re-entry as well as some questions to ask you son or daughter about the trip. We hope that this is an experience that your student shares with you.
Today started off like any other day here at the orphanage. Most of us woke up around 7 and did whatever we wished until breakfast at 8. For breakfast we had french toast with sausages and a watermelon-blueberry fruit salad. We had a hard day of work ahead of us so the great breakfast was definitely a plus. After breakfast we completed daily cleanup and journal entry writing. As soon as we were ready to go we split into two groups. About a third of us went to work at Primo Tapia (a private home) and the others went to work on Siloe (the medical clinic). I was part of the larger group that worked on the medical clinic. Today we took shingles out of their cases and placed them on the roof. To do this we made a long man-chain stretching from the case all the way up to the roof. To entertain ourselves with the repetitive task we sang songs for the first half of the day, until one of our leaders came with a speaker. After lunch (at a local day care that served amazing Mexican food) we were able to quickly put up over 2400 shingles on the roof.
What I found most inspiring about today was that every person touched every shingle, making our work so much more valuable because we’d accomplished it together as a community. Although the task itself was quite tedious and tiring, everyone’s positive attitude made the work exciting. And upon completion we felt very rewarded.
Back at the orphanage we were given free time to interact with the orphans. While some went and played soccer with the kids, others, including myself, visited the nursery. There we were able to hold and play with the children, ranging from ages one to three.
To finish off the day, we gathered once again at the upper camp ground for dinner. Phil followed up with an inspirational Ted-like talk about our purpose in life and how God plays a role in that. Small groups, a campfire, and sleep closed out another great day in La Mision, Mexico. Tomorrow we are heading off to the beach (to stock up on mangoes, coconuts, and ride horses!!!!!)
The Primo Tapia team did an amazing job tiling the floor. Jeremy, one of the directors of the day care, told me that he has never seen a team of students tile a floor so well so fast. They knocked it out of the park.
It has been fun seeing everyone interact with each other and just have fun together. There has been a lot of laughter and hopefully great friendships are forming. We had a number of students join this trip not knowing anyone. They have all met new friends and are doing great.
Tomorrow we will work for a half day before heading to the beach and then dinner out.
Hi everyone, my name is Ben Kropelnicki, this will be my second trip down here and I got put in charge of the blog for today. So when I write I always like to start with a quote, today days quote is, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Probably created by some kids parent to show them that their broken three wheeled truck isn’t completely obsolete. However, for the people down in the canyon, this quote is a way of life. For them, a truck with three wheels is probably a blessing.
The canyon, (for those who don’t know) used to be the old Tijuana dump, but for the poorest of the poor, it’s their source of profit. They salvage whatever recycling they can find and turn it in for money. Unable to pay for both a bus pass and food, people just started to build their houses on the dump. However when the dump moved, the houses stayed along with the people. Now let clarify here, by houses, I mean shacks loosely assembled and made of whatever they could find: Tires, garage doors, scraped wood, you name it these people use it to make their living. So I guess the phrase can be re-written as “one man’s trash is another mans living.” So what does that have to do with us, well for today everything.
Phil took us, a group of 37 down to the canyon to help out in whatever way we could. We had the meal group, the paint group and the fence group (my group). The meal group went off and served the people lunch, and the paint group painted something that needed painting, and for myself and a few lucky others, we repaired a fence for the community school that was in need of repair. The one thing that I noticed was the people. Yea that football without a strand of leather left on it, they used it in a game they played. Or that kite with a tear in the wing and a bent frame, the youngest ones were still getting it to fly, and when they saw us, they dropped everything they were doing and asked how can we help. I was cutting some wire to mend a few holes and three kids at about the age of fourteen came up and talked to me, and we just laughed together. So maybe theres a lesson to be learned here for both us and you back home, let focus on all the good we do have, family, food, clean water, and less on the stuff.
Thanks Ben! Today was a great day for everyone. After the Canyon, we headed to the wall that separates our two countries. We hear so much about building the wall, that it is good for us to know what is being talked about as well as the human element involved in this issue. The Mexican people have made the wall an art piece. There are a few pictures on Facebook of the wall. People have painted their feels about the wall. Most of the students saw sadness and hope expressed on the wall. Tijuana is built right up to the wall and on the American side, there are a good 10-15 miles before any building. It is quite the experience.
Tomorrow we will continue on the medical clinic and the house in Primo Tapia.
Yesterday we had a great day of travel. We heard that soon after the students landed Oakland Airport had a power outage. Glad we booked our flight when we did. After stopping at Costco in Chula Vista for supplies for the week, we traveled across the border. Driving across the border things change quickly. Students observed unfinished buildings, poverty, and the wall that separates our two countries. You can see the skyline of San Diego from Tijuana through the fence that runs along the border. It is always interesting to hear students experiences crossing the border.
We arrived at Door of Faith Orphanage around 5:30 and immediately received a tour. Door of Faith is an amazing orphanage and one of the nicest ones in Northern Baja. There are about 120 children who live here ranging from infants to high school students. The orphanage treats their children like family.
Today we woke up to overcast/foggy skies and after breakfast headed to our work sites. We divided into two teams. Team Primo Tapia and Team Siloe.
Team Primo Tapia worked on a house that Be2Live has been helping build since last year. We are building this in cooperation with Open Arms Day care. The house being built is for two people, husband, and wife, who work for Open Arms. The students learned and began installing laminate flooring in the upstairs. Then after lunch, another team began painting the bottom floor.
Team Siloe broke into many smaller teams. There were two groups stuccoing the outside wall, others were moving and leveling dirt while others were drywalling an apartment for future volunteer doctors and medical professionals.
All of the students worked really hard and did a great job.
Oh…almost forgot. Before we start work today La Mision had their weekly market. We all had a chance to walk through the market where people were selling clothes, used tools, housewares and other items. Some students got ice slushies (yes filtered water) while others bought pizza.
Tonight we just heard from Brendan and Sara, the directors of the Siloe clinic. Last year they saw over 2500 patients. Many of the people in Mexico cannot afford medical care. Even basic medical care is a luxury. Siloe is here to provide needed medical attention and advocate for those who do not know their rights as Mexican citizens within the Mexican medical care. They have already saved lives. Our students get a chance to be a part of this story by helping them expand their ability to help more people and meet real needs of those who are in desperate need of it.
Tomorrow we will head to the Canyon, the old Tijuana dump where we will serve meals, paint and fix a fence a school. After our time there we will drive to the wall that separates our two countries. The people of Mexico have made the wall their art piece expressing their feelings about the wall. It is an opportunity for us to step into the shoes of someone else and see the world from their point of view.