October 2007 Mission Trip

If there’s one thing we’ve learned on Capstone Mission trips, it’s that flexibility and the ability to multi-task are our best friends. The October trip was no different, as 11 almost-over the-hill adults and 1 enthusiastic teenager made the long trek to Tijuana to tackle several jobs we had already committed to. Our first priority is always St. Joseph’s, and this trip found the place dripping with jobs. And that’s literally. There was a leak in the laundry room, the kitchen, a bathroom, and most distressing, a sewer leak on the hillside below the girls’ dorm. This proved to be the most troublesome, as it required digging through the brick wall in the neighbor’s garage and first locating the leak, then repairing it and filling in the newly dug tunnel and opening. All of this required much dirt removal, many plumbing parts, two trips to a tire shop for rubber inner tubing, and some involuntary “splashing”. Thanks to Marvin Makay’s professional expertise and supervision, all water was draining into the appropriate plumbing fixtures only when we were done.

Another of our other work sites was Olga’s. Many of you may be familiar with her situation. Her home burned down last December in a bad neighborhood fire, and Carmiña has been slowly raising the money to rebuild her place. We poured the cement floor on the March trip, prepped a bathroom in June, and were able to tile and install plumbing in that bathroom on this trip. Although it’s a tiny space, it looked great with the light rose colored tile on the wall and white tiled floor. Through the generosity of Good Shepherd parish in Driggs we were able to purchase a hot water heater for her. Although the rest of the house is not finished, they are living in a small room at the front of the property and will be able to enjoy running water, a flush toilet, AND hot showers.

Our third work site was Verdad y Vida, another familiar location to many. This home shelters approximately 20 single moms and their children, helping them get on their feet. It’s run by 3 very devoted, loving nuns and we’ve done many projects there on the last few trips. Their chapel is a very important part of their home and it was in real need of a “makeover”. In June we prepped the floor for tile, anticipating laying it on this trip. The most difficult part of the job was getting the very heavy dura rock up the winding stairs and into the chapel. Fortunately, we were able to find a couple of (younger), stronger men to help. Everyone quickly found their niche and the work proceeded with the usual Tijuana efficiency, that is, get supplies, get instruction from Marvin, go for more or different supplies, attempt the job, get different tools, correction and more instruction from Marvin, another Home Depot run, and eventually success! Not only did we get the chapel and sacristy tiled, but we were also able to give the rooms a fresh coat of paint and wash the windows and window shades. What a beautiful worship space we were able to provide, and we’re looking forward to celebrating mass there on a future trip. Of course our time at Verdad y Vida wouldn’t be complete without the curiosity and “help” from the children, lots of warm smiles and hugs, and the delicious sit-down lunches served each day!

Each member of the team worked hard and contributed to the overall effort and although tired at the end of the week we treasured our time together and the time we spent with our friends both old and new in Tijuana.