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.