Friday I went out on “day 2” of a house build, I was the driver and (assistant - and suuuper rusty) translator. I got to take the family receiving the house and some of the x-sport group with me to a store and buy groceries and stuff for the house. The team had done well the first day of the build, so the house was well underway when I arrived. We still had a good day of work to complete it though, but when we were done, and could hand over the key to the family, it was a nice home with more room and space for the family that was ready. It is always interesting to see how the family receive the house - some cry, some are just quiet. This family was quiet, but I believe really thankful!
The team was the dream team - and even though I was super languages confused juggling 3 languages at once, it was very fun to have Norwegians down there! On Saturday morning we had free time, so we went down to Playas, which is part of Tijuana close to the beach, with a boardwalk and part of the U.S. border. In the afternoon we invited a bunch of local youth to the base for a fútbol (soccer) tournament, dance and volleyball (or just hang).
On Sunday we went to church (very Mexican one, in a poor neighborhood) before we went to the market to get tourist souvenirs. I was dumbfounded when I met the team again. After chilling out at a cafe with the other staff (who has seen the tourist shops one time too many..), we meet the whole group dressed in ponchos and sombreros. It will probably be an interesting group to have onboard on the plane back to Norway…!
On Monday we split the group into two, and my group went to a poor family where we helped them upgrade their house a little (replacing dirt floor with cement and replaced some rotten boards they had in the walls). The whole house was smaller than my bedroom and 5 people stayed there (and had three beds …). Its amazing how big differences there is in the world, and event though I have seen the scenario before - and know it well - it keeps amazing me how people can be so joyful and happy with what they have! The mother of the house (or shack if you want) was smiling the whole time, and thanking us, and I got to share with Daniel, her grandson who also lived in the house, how important it is for him to stay in school. I hope he keeps that in his heart, and that what we did to them, and the others we met during the week, had an impact on their lives.
On Monday night, the team wanted to go to Wal-Mart to hang out (haha, I know… Well - we don't have Wal-Mart in Norway!), so that's when I jumped in my car and crossed the border, to go back to school and “my life”. Such a big difference! It was an awesome time in Mexico, with MA and all the amazing Norwegians, and I hope the MA cycles to come are just as impacting as this one was!
Martine Tonnessen, originally from Norway, did a Discipleship Training School with YWAM San Diego/Baja at our Ensenada Campus in 2008 and is currently studying in San Diego, CA. Martine helped staff our Mission Adventures ministry in Ensenada for several seasons and a was one of my many roommates through the years while I lived in Ensenada. If you speak/read Norweigen, feel free to follow her adventures on her blog.