Monday, May 26, 2014

A Foundation for the Week

The walk to the Taco Stand was as as simple as
our crossing the border into Mexico
Upon arrival yesterday, many of us were expecting a full search of our luggage, showing of passports, and a dangerous environment. We were surprisingly underwhelmed. We went through a turnstile and we saw a sign that said "Welcome to Mexico." From there, it was just like walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. Once we got to the other side of the bridge, a customs official asked us to push a button, and it was green which meant we did not need to be searched and we could just enter Mexico. We were picked up by the Esperanza staff immediately upon arrival in Mexico. We were driven to The Posada where we will be staying. Since we were all pretty hungry after the day's travels, we decided to go to the local Tacqueria and had some delicious tacos! We got back and had Mass and we settled in for the night.

Today, we were all pretty excited to begin working on the house, so most of us woke up before the alarm. We had breakfast and got ourselves together, and then Eduardo, the volunteer coordinator and head technician of Esperanza International, came to give us a brief orientation. He asked us why we decided to go on this trip, and listened intently to every answer. He then gave us a brief rundown of our duties and what to expect at the work site. He also gave us a brief synopsis of how families are chosen to receive a house. After that, we then collected our supplies and got on the bus to go to the worksite.

Rebecca and Amanda working on reinforcement bar.
When we arrived at the site, we became acquainted with the family receiving the house and other local volunteers. Then, the fun began. Our tasks ranged from cutting and bending rebar, passing buckets filled with sand or cement, jackhammering, and manually making cement. Today, we built the foundation, not only for the house, but for the work ethic of the week.
Miguel Montalvo with one of the children.

While doing these tasks, one of the volunteers momentarily got lightheaded from adjusting to this new environment. The family was very welcoming and hospitable. Their Mexican hospitality promptly returned the volunteer to the worksite within 15 minutes, and worked the rest of the day without a problem.

Covered in dirt, sand, and cement, we cleaned up our supplies and returned to the bus to go back to the posada. Evening came, and we ended our day with a traditional Memorial Day BBQ. Though we are tired and our muscles are aching, we are still excited for the work to come!

                  -Written by Rebecca Phillips and Amanda Kelly

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