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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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

"Off The Border" by Kim Corona and Sharon Sextus

The 2015 Builders of Hope have safely arrived to Tijuana, Mexico on Sunday the 31st.  Everyone arrived  separately at the airport.  We quickly greeted each other and made our way to the border. We took a bus to the Santa Fe Trolley Station and caught the trolley to border.  In comparison to NY, San Diego is diverse.  As we got closer to the border there was a significant change in the surroundings.  The closer we got, the conditions were worse.

 Once we arrived at the border we went through Mexican Customs, which was an intriguing experience.  As we went through the gate, we were told to push a button.  If the light was green we could pass through with no inspection, if it was red we would be searched.  The light was green for each of us and we passed through without even having to show identification.

We are staying at The Posada, in La Gloria, just south of Tijuana.   The grounds and campus are beautiful with many forms of native plants growing as well as a flowing fountain in the center of the campus.

Monday was our first  day of work.  We arrived to a beautiful landscape with a view of the Pacific Ocean in the distance.  It provided a bit of a breeze, as there were no trees.  The current house of Paola (and her three children) is located at a higher elevation.  We are to build an addition to their small home giving them "dignified human housing."  Our first task was to take up the old floor which was approximately 10 x 12 ft.   We were able to finish by lunch time (sooner than the Esperanza staff expected).  This would allow us to begin to dig the foundation trenches after lunch.

Paola and her friends prepared a delicious lunch for us.  We had pasta salad, frijoles (beans), flavored rice milk and tamales. Muy deliciouso!

After lunch we began to dig the trenches  to create the foundation of the home.  This is back breaking work and was very tiring under the bright blue Mexican sky, with the hot sun beating down on us.  This is only day one, but seeing Paola's family's reactions to our hard work and dedication  motivates us to keep going for the rest of the week to come.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Safe Arrival

By 12 noon today all "Builders of Hope" arrived.  We left the airport around 1pm, took the 922 bus, and then the Trolley and by 1:50 we were at the border.  We walked across and found our way through customs.  No one was stopped!  Yay.  By 2:30 the Esperanza bus met us and we arrived at the Posada.  Dinner, Mass and relaxation.  Work begins at 8 am.  Most have headed to bed.   Watch for our postings!

photo by Sharon Sextus.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Builders of Hope 2015 Ready to Take Off

In just a few days another group from LIU Post Newman Community will be heading off to make a difference in a Tijuana neighborhood.  Fourteen members and friends will be lifting cement buckets, shoveling gravel, digging foundations and playing with the kids.   This is trip number 15!  Over these years we have worked on 32 homes, 1 school and 1 community center.  We've delighted the children at a local orphanage, given encouragement to a few elderly couples and hope to a family who had resigned themselves to living in a nailed together home of old doors and few boards.

Last Sunday we celebrated Pentecost, where we prayed "Come Holy Spirit, Renew the face of the earth."  How does it get renewed?  When people let the Spirit in and then do what they can.  We like to say Newman is renewing the face of the earth 250 square feet at a time.  We work with God to make the world a better place.

We hope to have a blog up every day beginning June 1.  Sometimes the internet is sketchy or our days are long.  Watch for us though.  Something will be up almost every day!

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Watch us work, pray for us and pray for the people we are serving!  Newman for Good!

Want to email us words of encouragement?  Leave a note here or on the FB page and we'll read them at dinner each night!

Thanks for all the support!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Bucket Scrapes, Cement Burns and Burning Hearts of Love.

The retaining wall and foundation completed.
Friday was our last day on the work site.  It was true when Fr. Ted said 'these next few days will fly by."  Providence  High School students from Burbank, CA, joined us making today a memorable day.  We all worked extra hard to finalize the last step before the concrete floor could be poured.  It was such an amazing experience where we started  on Monday with just digging a trench, to building up a nine foot high retaining walls, laying a brick foundation and now seeing first hand what we did as a team.  We helped make a family's dream come true.  Helping that dream come true made this mission trip worth it!

Melly, on the right in white, thank Miguel and Stanley.
Melly, (the mother of the family) and her family welcomed us with open hearts on the day we arrived and worked with us with giving arms.  They embraced us with smiles and and hugs.  All of us became part of her reality, a home to call her own.  As we said our farewells, emotions  were conveyed and Melly expressed to us how she hoped to expand her family because of her having  own  sturdy, safe home.

It truly amazes me year after year how Esperanza International does such wonderful job to create sustainable communities.   I can say I return for the uneven tan lines, the cement burns, or the brick scratches, but in the reality I've returned eight times in the past seven years because of a piece of my heart stays with the people, the cause and the 'fundacion.'  We can't forget to thank Eduardo, Roberto, and Rigo (engineers) for permitting us to work along side them.  Esperanza is a beautiful organization and I take with me more than words can express.

I've learned that the Holy Spirit is renewing the face of earth, sometimes 240 square feet, at a time, and for that I am ever grateful.

With faith and unity all things are possible.

Con mucho carino,

Aida Vera and Paolo Mancuso
Melly's Son, a friend and Miguel play with race toys we

2014 Builders of Hope!  Job Well Done!