Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Walls up: Roof Preparation

Yesterday, we once again split into two groups and both groups did prep work for walls and roofs.  The day was cooler than Monday which was a blessing.  I'm not sure how hot it was yesterday, but in my memory, it was one of the hottest days we ever worked here.  We appreciated cloud cover yesterday.  As beautiful as it all is with bright blue skies, bright blue skies say HOT.

Part of the group did more excavating and getting the foundation for the house set.  That will mean cement today.  The group will be larger there because of all the demands of mixing cement, carrying it and finally pouring it.  The extra help will be welcomed.

The other group prepared a roof. When we arrived four walls were up.  We moved lumber in and put down plywood and underpinning, which will hold the cement roof until it cures.  Today that group will make beams and 're-bar' supports.  We will pour that roof on Friday.  That can demand up to 120 tons of cement moved one-half bucket at a time.  The prep work is crucial so that it goes smoothly.

After the day's work, we headed to the 'border' where the now famous wall has been in place for years.Actually, it's two or three walls depending on where you stand.  It is about 15 feet high, and the second wall a mostly strong chain link fence perhaps another 100 feet in.    The people have painted the wall on the Mexican side with messages about how it feels to be behind such a wall.   The Mexican side of the wall hosts a large beach village.  Much like any beach town, there is much activity.  Kids swimming, families walking the board walk, eateries, and places for kids to play games.  The US side there is 'nothing.'   The beach is empty, there are just dirt roads, some grass and the border patrol going up and down.   It is sad.

We returned to the vans, and for a while it's quiet as our workers let the experience sink in.  Some people slept on the way back, but slowly the energy returns and we had a pizza party.  People relaxed and then headed to bed.   The crowd is gathering now for breakfast and soon we'll head out for day three.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Digging, Blocks and Baseball

After a morning orientation with our Esperanza representative, Eduardo,  we were split into two groups and headed to our work sites.   I will have to get a report from the other group but I do know that both groups did digging and setting of blocks for the foundation.  Yesterday was particularly hot. Much warmer than usual, but with plenty of water breaks we all survived.  We were greeted by the family receiving the house.  Presently they are living in something most of us would not store our lawn more in, but for them, it protected them wind, heat, cold and rain.   In about one month they will have a much larger brick home.   The family of a little boy and mom and dad will now be safe from the elements.

It was a long day.   We rushed home because we were had a chance to go the baseball playoffs, we cleaned up and headed to Toros Stadium to watch them win 6 to 3.  Mexican baseball is a very different experience where these as much entertainment going on in the stands as there is on the field.
Although tired, everyone had a great time.     We are finishing breakfast and heading off to more work today.   Thankfully it is cloudy and a bit misty today which should make work easier.

Here are some highlights'

Monday, August 14, 2017

Yesterday we spent the day soaking in a bit of Mexican culture.  We started with Mass at the little chapel run by Esperanza's good friend Fr. Jaime.   He welcomed us warmly and gave a one minute synopsis of his homily in English.  He talked about how Christ extended the hand of tenderness to Peter caught in a stormy sea and saved him.   He said, we here at Esperanza, do the same things.  We extend the hand of mercy and save many from the storms of a live in poverty.

We returned to the Posada, relaxed,  Many of us are still catching up on our sleep from the time change, and then headed to Puerto Nuevo, for a bit of shopping and exploring this little fishing village.  We were delayed because of the annual bike rally, which attracts thousands, yes thousands of motorcyclists, but once in the village, we enjoyed fish tacos and other goodies.   Some of the group headed to the cultural center and others back to the Posada. 

We had a great dinner of chicken, potatoes, and salad, with a cake to celebrate Fr. Ted's 40th Anniversary of 1st Vows.  It was a grand celebration.

We now wait for "Eduardo" the head technician to join us for an orientation and then off to the work site.  It is now 6:45 AM here and people are beginning to move.

Morning prayer today says:  Happy are those who dwell in the house of the they pass through the Bitter Valley, they will make it a place of springs." (Ps 84)  We hope that our presence will make some the burden of life a bit lighter.   Off to the work site!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Everyone arrives today and we'll join folks from the West Coast.  The group is called "The East-West Group."   Please pray for us.  We'll do our best to blog here and keep you up to date on what is happening.    Here is the list of those going so you can pray for us by name.  (Sorry last name first)
Van Orsouw Ashley
DeLaBruere Stephanie
Delabruere Samantha
Maureen Isbister
Cardinale Christie
Bugaj Janine
Briana Bowdish
Curran Brittany
Rufo John
Rufo Gina
Mazo Catalina
Cuellar Alex
Edmund Stanley   
Brown        Fr. Ted

Keep Checking!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

2017 Trip is doing it's prep work!

The second group sponsored by the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette is in the final month of preparation to head to La Gloria, BC, Mexico to build houses for those in need of human, dignified housing.

From August 12-19, fifteen people will be digging, mixing cement, and laying brick under the bright Mexican sun.  We go to bring the Good News of Christ, which is that in God's eyes everyone is valued and has dignity.

Although its not our group, this is what a typical week looks like!

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Pilgrims of Hope

We arrived safely on Saturday, and as we got to the Posada, the skies cleared.  The place where we stay (The Posada) is beautiful.  It is a very comfortable volunteer center.  We met the rest of the members of what is called the "East-West" team.  There are 18 people in total.  Seven are with us, and 8 from the Seattle area and 3 from Montana.  The group is warm, friendly and full of fun.  Although not explicitly Catholic, all members have come before with other Catholic groups.  We have gelled quickly.  

Sunday we went to Mass at the local parish (in Spanish of course) but Father Jaime welcomed us graciously.  We wanted around the flea market, grabbed  bite to eat and then headed out to Puerto Nuevo which is a beautiful little fishing village.  We did some shopping and managed to get out before 2000 (yes 2000) motor cycles arrived.   We came back had a great pasta dinner, cooked by our own Grant Haley.    Evening went and morning came, the first day.  We hit the beds and were ready for our first day of work.  More to come on that.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Change of team Change of Name

Although Father Ted has been transferred to Attleboro, "Team Esperanza" still continues.
Since we are from La Salette Shrine we are now Pilgrims of Hope.
A small 'founding team' has been formed and will be heading to Mexico on Saturday for a week of house building.  You can learn about what we are doing here:

 It is an intergenerational team: different ages with different experiences.
Those going are:
    -Grant Haley
    -Mary Petersen
    -John Rufo
    -Gina Rufo
    -Stephanie  DeLaBruere
    -Samantha DeLaBruere
    -Fr. Ted Brown, ms

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You can see pictures and reflections there.