Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Silver Teeth, Cement Burn, and Too Many Tortas

The day opens on a turtle-green hillside, slightly littered with old tires and Tecate cans, as a small group of Americans begin to stir in the egg yolk-yellow walls of the barbed-wire rimmed sanctuary they now call home.

Now that the scene is set- day two of the work week is coming to a close. My group worked primarily on pouring concrete into the walls, which is no easy task. All hands were on deck, volunteers and community members alike, taking sand and stone and turning it into a home. The concrete is made in a mixer loaded with buckets of sand, gravel, cement, and water which is then scooped out of a trough and passed down our line in buckets, lifted to a very dedicated, strong member of the team on scaffolding. It's then poured down into the cement bricks which make up the wall. This process took about two hours and a lot of sweat. In all honesty, of the four other times I've been here, today was the hardest I've worked myself- handing buckets up to Rick to pour into the walls and scooping out the cement from the trough. Major muscle work out. Today was also one of the most rewarding days of work. I also got to pet the family's cat. Which is a big deal if you know how much I like cats and the fact that Tijuana is run not by government, but the enormous amount of stray dogs.

We called it quits after the walls were all poured and came back to the posada to get ready to go play with the girls of a local orphanage. These girls are amazing. Ages 5-18, the kids are orphans or are placed there by parents who cannot support them. They are all totally excited to see us and get down to some serious playtime. Jump rope, soccer, friendship bracelets, balloons, piggy-back rides- not many of of can speak Spanish, but no one really cares. That's the great thing about kids, they just want someone's hair to braid, conversation is not a major concern. I've always gravitated to the kids we meet at the work sites because I feel more at ease with not being able to string together a proper Spanish sentence. They seem to like me too, but that may be because I'm usually carrying a few kilos of candy on me.

After the orphanage, we reconvened at base camp and then took off for dinner at the glorious taco stand. Now everyone is dispersed around the posada, playing games, heading to bed, coloring (actually just Heidi is coloring), and catching up on homework. I'm looking forward to another day of hard work and Hibiscus water. Hasta luego.


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