I haven’t written poetry or a blog post in a while, and it’s not just because we have lost Wifi. I’ve been pretty busy.
I spent five days in Pedregal de Santa Julia, visiting Rosa and her family and also working with a house-building group from Union Church in Seattle. Those few days were surprising, both in how welcomed I was by the group from Union and the generosity of the family we built for. Lubia, her sister Gloria, her daughter Diana and her little nephew Axel were an absolute joy to work with, as well as her boyfriend Alfredo, who put up with a lot of our bad nailing. On Saturday, Lubia gave roses and handwritten notes to everyone on our site (the men just got carnations, for cultural reasons, one wouldn’t give roses and notes to the opposite gender). That gesture is one of the sweetest, I have ever seen in any of the houses I’ve worked on. I personally think that Doxa does a good job of avoiding the neo-colonialism that can occur in house-building trips because the families are such a big part of the process. Every day that we arrived on site, Lubia and her family were there hammering with us, painting and putting up the roof. There are lots of house-building groups in Tijuana, if you do a quick Google search, one can see that there are lots. And to be frank, I don’t know a lot about them, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with Doxa even for just a few months.
After that I went across the border and got to see a friend from Camp, I also fell off a truck, but that’s another story for another time (I’m fine by the way). Since then, we’ve been doing tons and tons of stuff at Unidos por Siempre. We have finally finished getting new beds for the girl’s room, painted both the girl’s and boy’s rooms orange, painted the stairs, painted the sala white, gotten new doors for the bodega and the girl’s bathroom. We’ve also had our fair share of rainstorms. When it rains here, the children do not go to school, because there are no paved roads and it becomes dangerous to walk and drive in the dusty mud. Normally we watch some movies, play games, I do a lesson on math- we’re working on simple multiplication and advanced adding and subtraction right now. One day we covered the table in plastic bags and all of the children got to paint, which was really fun. Today, Sunday, we’re hanging out in the post-rain sunshine and enjoying ourselves, after the cold that seems to have crept in.
I’m going to try to get back to posting weekly vignettes for the last two weeks that I am here, before heading back home for a little break.
Thanks for following along!