Last week, we welcomed a group of Alaskans to work with us here at the Pagiel church in the Mexicali Valley. And this week, a group from Arizona came to help at the orphanage and build a few houses in Francisco Murguia. We welcomed them at the orphanage on Saturday afternoon. As they pulled up in their fancy trucks, about a hundred good-looking blond men, women, and children invaded the compound. We helped them get their camping gear all set up (not many had camped before!) and then we helped them unload the building materials to each building site.
We spent a few days helping the groups build the houses and since one of the construction teams was a little confused, I was instructed to help them out as much as I could, since I’ve worked on these houses before. They worked really hard the entire week!
A group of the kids from Francisco Murguia, who I love dearly and have known for years, hung out at the work site all day every day. They didn’t help much with the construction, but they loved being there.
The whole week, I picked them up from their houses and took them home after dinner. Every day, all the kids would cram into my van and we would blast music and drive in circles on the dirt roads. They absolutely LOVED it.
The Arizona group painted the orphanage as well. They did a great job and it looks so much better now.
At the end of the week, they had dedication ceremonies for both of the houses, in which they turned in the keys to the family and gave them their new home. The homes turned out fabulous.
The home decor was out of this world.
They even had wood floors and baseboards!
And a back door!
And the other house looked like a hotel room, with wall paper, fans, and baseboards.
The whole group did an amazing job and the families who received the houses were so grateful.
While the Arizona group was here, we still had a week full of teaching, church, and youth group. The Saturday before the group arrived, we had a sleepover with middle school girls in our little casita. We blew up air mattresses, which filled up every inch of walking space. We ate junk food and watched Sweet Home Alabama in Spanish. Then we woke up really early, ate blueberry pancakes, and did each other’s hair and make up for hours (because you know, when you have a group of middle school girls, they need a lot of time to get pretty).
On Tuesday night, we went to church in Oaxaca and afterwards, we went to Los Poblanos, the best taco place in town.
Yum yum yum… look at that Carne Asada :)
On Tuesday afternoon, a sweet lady named Nachita invited Jessica and I to her small 300 square foot home to chat with her, eat cinnamon roles, and drink coke. Isn’t she just beautiful? You can just see strength and endurance in her face.
I helped build her house six years ago and although she did not remember me, she took me in like a long-lost friend, because I had, at one time, helped her. We talked for hours and she told me about her twin sister, who died at age nine and of her eight children, five of them who are still living. Now she survives on a few dollars a day by taking care of some elderly people in the village. Through everything she’s been through, her beauty and strength still remain. I asked her how she kept her hair so beautiful and she said, “I have always used Saliva and Shampoo de Chile.”
Throughout the week when the Arizona group was here, Jessica and I still had to teach every morning. Teaching has been going so wonderfully. We have two third grade classes and a fourth grade class. We just finished the alphabet, numbers, and colors. They also know how to say “What is your name?” “My name is…” Right now they are learning “What time is it?” and “How old are you?” and the responses to both of the questions. I am so proud of all my classes. They are learning so much and absolutely LOVE learning English. And I have also learned that I LOVE teaching. This experience of teaching has only confirmed my desire to be a teacher one day.
Here are some pictures of my fourth grade class. I know I’m not supposed to have favorites, but how am I supposed to not absolutely LOVE this class when they all come running to give me a giant hug when I enter the classroom?
We did some skits last week… and here are Pedro and Miguel performing.
Because they were making a big deal of working in partners with someone of the opposite sex, of course I had to teach them the word COOTIES.
And here’s sweet Juan. Not only is he in my class, but he goes to my church and is our neighbor as well.
This week was crazy busy, but super fun. Next week, the Oregon groups come! I can’t wait to see my friends. Stay tuned for next week’s adventure!