Thursday, April 25, 2019

Additional Pictures

Here is a link to a few more pictures from the 2019 Esperanza mission trip.

Note that we have four pictures of the house with the finished roof taken 4/24/19.

Link to more pictures

Friday, March 15, 2019

Final Thoughts....

It's almost 11pm here in Tijuana, and we are scheduled to depart at 2am for San Diego. My muscles are sore, my tummy is still full from our final mexican dinner, and I can barely keep my eyes open as I write this post. I therefore plan to write this post as a series of random bullet point rather than the lengthy, thought-out narratives I usually like to write :)
1. I first of all wanted to mention that we did complete the foundation for the home we've been working on all week and what an amazing feeling that is. Today we worked with barely any breaks as we passed thousands of heavy buckets of cement for hours until we finished. After we completed our work we had a fiesta together with the families and community members with the most delicious food and cake to celebrate what we had completed.
2. Our bodies were pushed to the limit this week. And we're sore. We've got bruises and bumps and cuts and blisters to prove it. But it feels good. I've always liked feeling sore because it means I worked hard for something. I think that's why I'm so drawn to athletics and sports - because it feels so good to physically work towards a goal. I was talking to some of the other students on the trip today about physical labor and exercising. We talked about a quote that recently circulated, "working out should not be a punishment, but a celebration of what your body is capable of." If my body is able to dig out trenches with a pick ax and pass buckets of cement for 5 days, then I will happily do that, especially if the result is a new, safe home for someone. My volleyball coach always says, "embrace the opportunity to play because there are so many people who would love to be able to play." Every aching muscle and knot in my back has been worth it this week. And the bruises look cool too :)
3. Though this week has been a bit of a break from writing my undergrad thesis (which is due very soon), I was amazed to make so many connections between what happened on this trip and what I am writing about in my thesis - ethnic and national identity. Within our group of Wooster students, we have a Cameroonian-American,  Lithuanian-American, Colombian-American, Mexican-American, and an Ethiopian. Any time we drove somewhere in our big white and maroon vans, we had the best conversations about the ethnic and national dynamics within Mexico and how those relate to our personal experiences and our respective ethnic communities. We talked about migration, leaving one's home country, retaining cultural practices and traditions, and how people identify both ethnically and nationally. I am extremely thankful for the wide variety of perspectives between all of us students on this trip as we experienced the culture of Tijuana together.
4. Lastly, I just wanted to express my gratitude for all those individuals who made this trip so memorable. First of all Nate and Phil who did most of the organizing and coordination for this trip - flights, packing lists, and communication. Second, the members of Trinity UCC, with all their construction knowledge and experience for guiding us novices through new and unfamiliar tasks at the work-site. To the Esperanza staff - Eduardo, Stanley, and others - for their hospitality and guidance throughout the week at the Posada, at the work site, and out in the city. And lastly, the families and community members for working along side us and for the amazing food they cooked us for lunch everyday. To everyone and anyone I interacted with during this trip, and all of you back home who supported from afar - thank you for a perfect, humbling, and fulfilling week :) goodnight.

Marija Cyvas

Friday Evening

This is Phil Starr typing again.  We finished up the work week!!!  We finished up the foundation brick and poured the cement for the foundation!  It was nearly a 50 cement bag pour!  Our group is working so well together.  We are all tired.

We will have a closing circle with Eduardo then go out to eat.  We plan on leaving the Posada at 2:00 am for our 7:00 am flight.

Just wanted to make a quick post...

Phil