For the past twelve years Bethany United Church of Christ in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, has sent a volunteer group on a building mission to Tijuana, Mexico with the Esperanza Foundation out of San Diego. The volunteers work alongside the family for whom the home is being built; local technicians provide expertise as well as labor. The work involves digging trenches for the foundation for the cement block home, pouring a concrete floor, building the walls of concrete blocks, and possibly pouring a concrete roof. It’s amazing what can be completed in a week’s time with many willing hands and strong backs!
One of the great things is that with the Esperanza program we not only work with the families to build their homes but we also build relationships with them. We have been able to go back and visit families with whom we worked several years ago. One family welcomes us with open arms and insists on cooking us a meal. As we sit around the large table we share news about ourselves, the volunteers, and we catch up on news from their family.
In February of this year our group took 30 Peace Pals from the new Pod at Bethany to give to the children. They were all given to local children in the La Gloria and Las Cumbres neighborhoods of the greater Tijuana area; some Peace Pals went to the children of the families with whom we worked, others went to children passing by on the way home from school. As you can see from the photo(s) they loved them!
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