Okanagan Group Hard at Work in Mexico

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Monday, Feb 22nd. First day on our Hero Holiday.With excitement, our team left our San Diego hotel and boarded the Hero Holiday coach bus for Vicente Guerrero, Mexico. The border going into Mexico went quite smooth – get off the bus, pick up your suitcase, and walk across the border. But push the button first to see if you were randomly picked for a search. The only person who got a red light was me! I was LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute)ly delighted to discover that I had not grabbed my suitcase, it was Blair’s. No problem. A fairly quick stop in Ensenada for a bite to eat and purchases for our house. Then continued the great trip down the Baja and surprised to see it is verdant green! The peninsula had been inundated with rain in January, which ruined the bean crop near Guayabitos on the mainland and some of the strawberry crop in the Baja. The rain also wiped out a few bridges along the highway south. One passage way we forded and the other was being “filled in” with dirt (ingenuity). The rain also caused most of the villages to become mud bogs, so getting in and out was an adventure (Alan, we needed your dune buggy!). The water just sits on the top layer of the compacted soil so it is not going away soon.Tuesday, February 23rd.With our Hero Holiday hosts, Andrew and Dawn, we took a 40 minute bus ride out to our building site. Our team has grown to 14 people: Nora from Princeton, Lance from Kelowna, Randy, Art and Marcia from Summerland, Elisa from Kamloops and Blair from Kaleden/Penticton as well as 6 participants in the SOL (School of Leadership) and their fearless leader Brett. Our new extended Mexican family quite excited to see us, Grandfather age 81, Grandmother 70, madre Anastasia (mom), her sister Fortunada, Anastasia’s son Carlos, 12, son Jiovanni, 11; daughter Alexandra, 9; and son Sevastian, 4. Our first day on the work site was productive. We completed: 4 roof panels (and painted); 3 ½ walls; a partially dug hole for the bano (outhouse for you gringos); fascia painted (by grandfather, little girls, and Nora); some long boards that I have no idea what they are for (also painted). But most of this done by our crew and the SOL class. Roberto has been hired by us to dig the hole as no-one in the family is physically able to do this hard task. I am unclear on the amount this will cost (perhaps $60. USD), but it is great to have Roberto there for translating, particularly medical problems, as Sandiego and Andrew had to leave for a medical crisis elsewhere. Grandfather has been told by a doctor that he needs hearing aids. I think we have arranged to get him to a clinic tomorrow to see about this, as well as change his catheter. Hopefully we can have Alexandra’s cleft palette receive some attention . Grandmother, Sabrina is a wonderful gardener. When I showed a little interest in her garden she took me around and showed me each plant – and named it! I surprised her when I gave her the Spanish name for cilantro. “Cilantro” I said. Same, same! Several peach trees decorated her garden which she started by seed. She offered me a few of her bedding plants but I pantomimed that I could not get them back to Canada. I wish I had brought some of my heritage seeds. We were taken to a Taco stand for supper.Wednesday, February 24thWork completed: Four walls and the roof went up today, bano built, a free standing shower house that looks exactly like the bano on the outside but more like a sauna on the inside (slatted floor, 4 walls, no bench). The rule for showers is a BYOW “bring your own bottle of water” policy. The Bano hole is down about 6 feet. Supper at  John’s Place: Roasted chicken, salads. Yummy!Wednesday was very different for me. At our request, Andrew loaded Santiago, me, Modesto (grandfather), Anastasia (mother) and Alexandra (9 year old daughter) into the van and headed to the clinic in the Orphanage in Vicente Guerrero for medical help for Modesto and Alexandra. Both were seen quickly by Ellie, a very helpful nurse. Modesto’s needs attended to quickly and also a referral to a hearing doctor in Ensenada and for Alexandra, a booking for cleft palette reconstruction May 7 also in Ensenada. At this point, all travel is arranged!!! Santiago received a date and time for Modesto at the hearing doctor – so we all leave early tomorrow for his 11:00am appointment. Meanwhile, back at the ranch… Two purple “outhouse” looking structures are looking very spiffy!~ A participant on the Okanagan Group’s Hero Holiday

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: February 25th, 2010