535Fw: Latest on the Rio Bravo Mexico Project
- Mar 7, 2006The Heart of Texas RPCVs in Austin sent this following update on the Rio Bravo Mexico work project later this month:
Please sign up today!
Feel free to use the internet sign-on or email me with your information: how many people, ride details (if you have a ride, if you need a ride, or if you can give a ride), and anything extra special we should note.
Remember that there is a $40 registration fee that will cover your lunches on-site (Friday and Saturday), a finale dinner on Saturday night, a commemorative t-shirt, and a donation to the community. You can send that to Rob and Julia Foree (checks made out to Amigos de las Escuelas), or better yet, bring it on Sunday...
Get excited for the BEST-TRIP-EVER - with these details, courtesy of Sam:
Well, we are coming up on another project. Man, I can't believe it is already here. I have been to Rio Bravo probably 20 times since last March, helping the things you did then, to grow and blossom, and we have some very excellent kick-butt things going on. Those of you who haven't been there since March will be pleasantly surprised by the changes. Here are how the changes can affect you:
1. we now have clean, working flush toilet bathrooms at the community center
2. With a little organizing, I can put the cold water shower into useable condition. (Oh Boy, Sam, I really want to suffer thru a cold water shower!)
3. We have the kitchen rebuilt, with stove, fridge, and microwave all operational, and will have the run of it for the project, meaning, that with some planning on your parts, we can do breakfasts (and other meals) at the community center, as well as being able to have cold drinks on hand for all.
4. We are using hotels within walking distance of the community center.
5. We have a wireless high speed connection to the internet at the center, so bring your laptop, or borrow our desktop computers if you can't be away from your email for the 4 days you are gone. IM too.
Exciting, huh? Well, here are the ideas for what I would like to do this project. If you really like one, bring job specific tools if you have them, as well as work gloves.
Projects on the March Agenda (dependent on how many volunteers come, so let us know soon, so I can be sure to have what we need to do the work)
1. Complete the community center roof
2. Add an entry foyer/airlock to the computer lab
3. Complete the cementation of the floor under the roof
4. Renovate third classroom in colonia Vamos Tamaulipas, and pour cement floor in it
5. Plant some trees in school in colonia Vamos Tamaulipas
Maybe Projects if we have enough volunteers-
1. fence school in Vamos Tamaulipas
2. Begin construction of storage above bathrooms in community center
3. Concrete floor in cancha in Kinder in Monterreal
4. Start construction of water storage and filtration system
If you want me to bring my guitars again, let Jamie know when you sign up, and she will tell me.
As usual, we will need key people to organize lunches (and maybe breakfasts too), and one or two people with vehicles for jobsite liaisons. We also may have some artistic small projects in the works, like painting some graphics.
Being as we are under the evil eye of the department of homeland security thanks to that idiot in the white house, (sams opinion only, and does not reflect the beliefs of Amigos de las Escuelas), I must issue the disclaimer that projects may change at the last minute due to budget constraints, political conditions, and weather.
Speaking of which, I would like to throw out my personal opinion about the problems along the borders that you have heard about on the TV, not that I ever watch the evil thing...
I have been to Mexico a lot this year, and my personal experience leads me to believe that there is little if any danger, and at least no more than in the past, to our volunteers who come along to work. Never forget that travel in a foreign country is inherently dangerous. Other countries are not the United States. Lest we forget, we live in a terrific country, and not all countries are as lucky nor as free as the United States, and just because we suffer under the reign of king George, does not change the fact that, at least for now, it is basically safe to travel anywhere we want here.
As we work in a small town in Mexico, that has little tourism, the problems that you hear about in Nuevo Laredo, Piedras Negras, and Eagle Pass and Tijuana, don't really apply to us. There are dangers, like higher concentration of drunk drivers, and the fact that driving skill and ability has nothing to do with getting a drivers license in Mexico, for which you only need to fill out an application and pay the fee, and which I am sure less than 40 % of the drivers have anyway. There is corruption, some of which is due to paying their public officials much less than a living wage. The systems like garbage collection, waste and chemical disposal, and generation of electric, are much less regulated, and don't work nearly as well as the ones you are used to. As an American, in a country where people in general don't look like Americans, you are somewhat of a target, just by your clothes, cars, and skin color. You may be exposed to hepatitis, tuberculosis, dengue fever, and giardia in Mexico. Common sense, not driving outside the city at night, using mosquito repellent, drinking bottled water (available everywhere), washing your hands, and being careful of where you eat can go a long way toward minimizing the risk of these things, but they are there. Even so, I have found such a depth of humbleness and generosity in the people I have met and become friends with, that I feel as safe and cared for there, as I do here. I have yet to find a country with totally honest police and politicians, with perfectly clean air and environment, with excellent drivers, and without racism or crime. When you find that country, let me know about it.
Meanwhile, remember that the work you do, from the generosity in your hearts that brings you along with us, goes a long way toward providing the foundation necessary to address all of the above problems. Every single nail you pound, kid you play with, friend you make, has the potential to set in motion the changes that are necessary to make the greater world a better place to live. My favorite dicho (saying), and I say it a lot in Mexico, is... "The longest journey begins with a single step." "El viaje mas grande, inicia con un pie enfrente del otro." Well friends, I figure I have started at least 100 journeys since Jim first invited me to come along to Rio Bravo, and I imagine many of them are longer than the rest of my life, but somebody has to start them, or nothing will get better. Ya ever want to hear about them, just ask me.
Come along and make a difference for your great grandkids thru your work today.
Wow. I didn't know I was going there when I started this email. But hey, that's my story, and I'm stickin to it. I'll be waitin there for you, havin me some fun. Love you guys. Sam