Tijuana, Mexico: A taste of pragmatic solidarity

The sound of the cement saw is still buzzing in my head, what a glorious day of work with Roberto, Eduardo and Julia’s family. Today we cut 4 inches away from the edge of the concrete roof so that we could chisel out a 4×4 spot for the new roof to be joined to the existing roof. Julia is the woman whose house we are building, she has cooked us food for lunch every day this week. What a wonderful woman. Roberto and Eduardo are two employees of Esperanza, a non-profit that builds houses for people who need the help. I have never seen anybody happier with as little as Julia and her family have, there are 7 people living in two 8×10 feet rooms. But, they have each other! This is such a glorious experience.
I think that if anyone needs an inspiration to make them appreciate our beautiful area we call home, they should come to Tijuana Mexico. Water is precious and hard to come by down here; we must drink purified water and can only take minute long showers. I will continue to take my minute long showers when I return to Seattle and challenge you reading this to use only the water that you need. There is trash everywhere, on the hills, on people’s properties and in the streets amidst the wild dogs running around. We are privileged in Seattle to have garbage and recycling pick up in our neighborhoods, so that our trash is hidden from our daily lives, it makes me prideful of our city just thinking about it sitting here in the Esperanza community room. When there are things to complain about, I am going to try to remind myself of the daily life in Tijuana so I can realize that I need to appreciate what I have.
Today we went to the Casa De Immigrante a place for travelers from all over the world who are in need of a place to stay for a few nights for free. We had the privilege of eating dinner with the migrants. With limited Spanish and their limited English, we were able to talk about their lives and why they were there. I sat across from Rocco and Immanuel who had been deported from the United States. Rocco had lived in Washington and had been working in the state for more than 25 years and a week ago he was deported. He had done nothing against the law, just moved in the state based on the season; doing metal work for Redhook Brewery around Seattle, including West Seattle, where I grew up and Yakima for picking fruit. I don’t understand what the reason was for sending him home, other than he didn’t have papers that claim he is a human being. I shook his hand and knew that he was a real human being. Immanuel was a father of 4, a loving husband and skilled carpenter in the Sacramento area. I think that some business and resource restructuring for Mexico could be something that would provide Mexicans more jobs. This would allow us to truly share our specialties with each other.


The Crew
The Crew

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