Yesterday was a great travel day. After meeting everyone at the airport we stopped at Costco for some supplies and lunch. We then crossed the border.
The border crossing was smooth with no issues. We drove along the southern side of the wall. There are actually two large walls between Tijuana and San Diego. On a clear day, you can look north through the wall and see the skyline of San Diego. It is quite the contrast of perspective to see the United States from the other side of the wall. We had planned to go to Friendship Park, a place where you can walk up to the wall and see the art work on the wall. But there was a big fiesta in the area and a lot of people so we decided to come back on Tuesday.
We then headed south driving along the coast until we arrived at Door of Faith Orphanage. Many people are surprised by how nice, colorful and well kept the orphanage is here in Mexico. They provide a lot of opportunities for the children here to break the chain of poverty and orphans. Many of the children here have parents, but either their parents have abandoned them due to poverty or they have been rescued from physical or sexual abuse. Here, the will receive a good education with the opportunity to further their education in college or be supported as they find a job.
This morning after breakfast and solitude time, we packed up and headed to the old Tijuana dump, also known as the canyon. There is a large community of people who live on the old dump. Most of these families are here because when the dump was active they would come and grab medal to recycle and food toe eat when the dump trucks would dispose of their load. The dump has not been active for about 10 years, but the community is still here; some of the poorest of the poor in northern Baja. We broke up into three teams:
The Comedor – We had a team prepare grilled cheese, fruit and jicama salad. We fed 150 people a free lunch. For most people this will be the only meal they will have for the day. They cut watermelon, cucumber, made grilled cheese, and served a lot of plates of food.
Martitia’s House – Martita is an older short woman who volunteers at a community center in the canyon. She lives on top of the canyon in a small 8×16 foot house. Our team worked on adding on to her house to provide more space for a future kitchen. We framed a few walls and put plywood on the outside. Tomorrow we hope to have the walls ready for the roof.
Team Agape – The rest of the crew went to a local church that is housing some refugees and immigrants from central America. There are about 125 people living here waiting for their appointment with the US government. When we arrived we the cook told us all they had for lunch today was rice and beans. We headed to a local supermarket and purchased a bunch of fruit, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, cilantro, and tortillas. We took it back and cut the fruit and some of the onions so that they would have more food for their lunch today. Another group went to a party store and purchased balloons and paper. There was a refugee who had just given birth to a baby boy and was hoping to come back to the shelter today. We wanted to provide a little bit a welcome home surprise.
Tomorrow we will head back to the Canyon to continue working on Martita’s house, provide a meal at the Comedor and play with the children at the church.
We will be uploading more pictures today and a video tomorrow.