Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Yesterday, Monday May 27, was day one of working in Mexico.   The main objectives  completed were making bricks and continuing to dig the foundation.  When we arrived at the worksite, we gather around and met the family were helping.   After introducing ourselves to one another, we went straight to work.  Each person was put to work in a different station.  Some people shoveled sand into buckets and sent the to the next group who mixed the sand with cement  and water.  After the  cement was mixed , other volunteers  shoveled the mixture in the brick maker.  The bricks were formed  and placed in the sun to dry for 15 days.   Freshly formed bricks are incredibly fragile, but the will oiled machine that are the Builders of Hope finished the job before lunch.

A lunch of a variety of burritos and juice was prepared by the family and we a enjoyed a meal together as a community.

After lunch the volunteers were assigned  different tasks to do as we moved onto the next  stage of building  the house.   Some of the foundation was dug out before we arrived, but there was still much to dig out.  Some volunteers  were digging deeper  into parts already dug (we needed a 4 foot depth). Others took on the challenge of literally breaking new ground which involved using a sledge hammer  to break up pre-existing  concrete , using a pick axe to break up the dirt underneath the concrete.   While others shoveled the dirt and rocks into a wheel barrel  to be wheeled out to a place across the street where there was nothing but more dirt and sand.

For every small group of volunteers, it started out as everyone working on the same stage, but the more we worked, the more we realized  that each person had a different skill to offer that they enjoyed doing.  For example, one person liked sledgehammering more than they liked pick-axing and visa versa, thus each person was able to do the work more effectively because they enjoyed doing it.   This also meant  that while one or two people were working hard others where able to take a break which was needed in the hot weather.

After we completed our first day of work, we went back to the Posada (where we are staying)  to clean ourselves up from all the dirt and cement.  In Tijuana the people try to conserve as much water as possible, so here we take a 'two minute shower.'  It's a humbling experience  to take a quick shower and  realize  that it's taken for granted in the US.  

Being Memorial Day, we had an US style barbecue meal with hamburgers and hotdogs waffle fries and reflection on our day.  It was interesting hear the different views and experiences  of each of us, whether we were a new volunteer  or a returning one, able to speak Spanish or not.

As exhausting of a day as it ws, there is still much work to be done and more cultural experiences to be had with new memories to make.  We never know exactly what will need to be done  until we to to the worksite, but after work on day 2, we will be visiting an orphanage.   Stay tuned!

Mike Riggs and Amanda Kelly.


  1. Thank you Father Ted, for making this great experience available to our wonderful students. And, thank you Mike and Amanda for a great Day 1 report. We are VERY proud of the generosity and hard work you are willing to share with families who need your help, and who can share their appreciation and cultural insights and social values with you. GO POST!