Category Archives: Mexico

Looking back on a great year…

It’s only a few days into 2018 and already I’m in full swing:  planning, organizing, scheming and plotting.  Haha, so many fun things coming up soon!  But before I get caught up in what’s next, I find myself looking back and thinking “WOW”.  2017 brought so many truly special moments.  Many of them were centered around my volunteer travels and none of them would have been possible without so many wonderful supporters.  Let me say that again to make sure it’s clear.  I couldn’t do any of this without YOU! 🙂

In 2017, I was fortunate enough to build homes with Habitat for Humanity Global Village teams in China, Mexico and Cambodia.  I worked with over 40 volunteers to help 3 families build safe and secure homes.  And along the way, more than 20 donors and supporters helped me to raise over $3000 to further this mission – thank you!  Truly amazing numbers.  But the numbers tell only part of the story.  It’s the special moments on these trips are what really get you.

In each location, the families, teams, building techniques and culture were extremely different.  We never knew what to expect until we arrived.  And I can honestly say that none of the trips were what I imagined as I was planning for them – they were all much better. 🙂

In China, our team of 8 volunteers worked with Mr. Long as he built a home for his multi-generational family.  Soon 13 people will be living safely here all under one roof!  You can read more about our trip to China here and see some photos of our work here.

 

In Mexico, a large team of 18 volunteers worked with Margarita – a widow who lives with her 3 daughters, 2 sons and daughter-in-law.  After her husband passed away, Margarita had to take on all of the household duties.  Life is challenging but she never complains – in fact, quite the opposite.  Margarita shared her smile with us daily and after we left, she said that she was still “dreaming about the work that was done and all the faces of the people that helped.”

    

The Big Build in Cambodia was a whirlwind of activity (read more here) and at the future homes of Sopheap and Sophary, you could feel the excitement.  Our team of 18 volunteers helped raise the walls of their homes and were inspired by their stories and outlook on life.

    

2018 will take me to many new places including (Vietnam, Jordan and Brazil) and I continue to be grateful for your support.  To those of you who have traveled around the world with me, thank you for the investment you’ve made!  But you don’t have to join a team to participate.  Whether it be a ride to the airport, a gift of tangible items or monetary donations to share with families around the world or even a message of encouragement, your involvement in this mission is paramount to it’s success and I am so thankful to have you on this journey with me.  Continue to ask questions, I love to talk about the trips!  If you want to be more involved, let me know and I’ll give you a slideshow – we can share the word together!  And remember, when you are ready – there’s always room for you on the next trip. 🙂

Just in case you’ve gotten all the way through this post and these words move you…I’m currently fundraising to help families in Brazil, Jordan and Vietnam .  Click on the country of your choice to access my fundraising page or let me know if you’d like to send any donations of clothing or other supplies. 🙂  Thanks in advance!

Chiapas, Mexico (July 2017)

My team to Chiapas is now full!  Below is the information from the “official” trip flyer to give you an idea of what we will be doing.  If you are able and interested in financially supporting this trip, all donations are welcome through my fundraising page – tax deductible! 🙂

Build with indigenous communities in Chiapas, Mexico, where families need a hand up to improve their shelter situation.

Join this team and stay in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, one of Mexico’s best preserved Spanish colonial towns. The setting is beautiful, but 76 percent of the indigenous people there live in poverty. Your team will build decent, sturdy homes using cement blocks.

This community does not often encounter outsiders, so the build will be a great opportunity to see inside of a unique culture. Our volunteers will learn as much as we contribute and strive for a true person-to-person exchange.

Trip highlights

  • Build with and learn from indigenous families.
  • Visit Mexico with Habitat’s local staff, who carefully plans the trip to maximize volunteer safety.

Global Village sends volunteers to build with Habitat for Humanity projects across the world. Get your hands dirty on the work site, meet families whose housing situations have been improved with Habitat’s help, experience the country like an insider and do it all alongside a team of like-minded volunteers. No experience is required! This build is your next step with Habitat to make the world a better place.

Program donation and fundraising

US$1,940

About half  of the trip cost is a direct contribution to Habitat’s work, and the rest covers your volunteer experience.

You may fundraise or give the program donation. Fundraising is as easy as telling your friends, family and co-workers about why you build with Habitat for Humanity. They may even ask to join the team! We set you up with a great website and coaching for success. Volunteers are encouraged to set a fundraising goal over the minimum. Every donation you raise keeps Habitat building after your team returns home and helps us serve another family.

Itinerary

  • Day 1, Arrive. Fly into the Chiapas airport, where Habitat for Humanity staff welcomes you and takes you to your hotel. Get to know your team over dinner.
  • Day 2, Orientation. Learn about Habitat’s innovative work and your team’s project.
  • Days 3-7, Build. Skilled construction workers will guide you and your team as you build. The team will have time for excursions, rest and reflection meetings in the evenings. Cultural activities will be mixed in along with a farewell ceremony on Friday.
  • Day 8, Explore. Free day for you to soak up more of the beautiful region. We’ll have suggestions for the team, or you can opt to do your own thing. At the final team dinner, reflect on your experience and what it means.
  • Day 9, Goodbyes. Depart for home or independently continue your travels in Latin America.

Your safety in Mexico

Habitat for Humanity’s first priority for volunteers is safety. We send volunteers only to locations where we have confidence that the team’s build site, accommodations and transportation are secure. Contact the team leader if you have questions about security during a Global Village trip.

Meals and accommodations

The team will stay in modest, comfortable hotels in double-occupancy rooms. Lunch will be on the build site, while breakfast and dinner will be a variety of cuisines prepared by locals.

Tasks on the work site

Volunteers will have the opportunity to assist in different stages of the home construction process.  Therefore, typical work may include carrying bricks, mixing cement, moving and compacting dirt, and of course, stacking and cementing bricks for the assembly of the houses. Tasks will be assigned and supervised by expert construction workers.

What’s next?

Apply now.

We will connect you with a team leader within two business days. The team leader will tell you more about the build and learn about you. After speaking with the team leader, donate or fundraise your deposit to secure your spot on the team. The team leader will help you prepare and lead you during the trip.

Contact this team’s leader

Ready to join the team? Have questions? Tricia Vos will lead this team in the field and would love to speak with you.

When asked about previous Global Village experiences, Tricia said, “On a build in Kyrgyzstan, I had nine first-time volunteers on the team. To watch them come together as a group and fully embrace the experience was incredible! Even now, several years later, teammates keep in touch and recall their experiences in the community with incredible fondness. To me this is what Global Village is all about – bringing together a diverse group of people for a common purpose, making new friends and helping a family to whom you will be forever tied. Join us, it’ll be an experience to remember.

Tijuana, Mexico (December 2015)

In December 2015, I worked with One Small House and a team of amazing volunteers in Tijuana helping three families into new homes they desperately needed. Below, you’ll meet the families we were able to help.

Meet The Families

The first family we built for is the Guzman family. At the time of the trip, this family comprised Jose Antionio Juarez Guzman, who is 79 years old, his 89 year old wife, Maria Treinidad Medina and their son Jose Manuel Valezuela Medina, who is 53 years old. The wife and son in this family are completely blind, and the father has extremely poor vision (blind in one eye and hardly sees out of the other). As a result, the family is unable to work and survives off of the kindness of neighbors. Sadly, they had been living in a decrepit home that hardly protected them from the weather. Our goal was to provide them with a safe, warm home this winter.

Guzman_FamilyIn addition, we were also building a home for one of their neighbors, who help the Guzman family – in fact two families who are currently living under the same “roof.” Although it is their home, their current house is in terrible condition. Living here are Alejandro Feliciano Diaz (39 years old), his wife, Yolando Guzman (40 years old), their son, Jesus Alejandro (2 years old), along with Benjamin Leyva Romero (27 years old), his wife Griselda Maldonado (26 years old) and their two children, Jesus Maria Leyva (4 years old) and Cristopher Nicolas Leyva (3 years old). Benjamin and Alejandro are cousins and this large family will benefit greatly from your support his December.