We had a fantastic trip, due in no small part to all the prayers offered for us, and our guardian angels. We're always so thankful for how smoothly the trips go, and this one was no exception.
One dark spot, though, is that Adrianna has left St. Joe's. We didn't get many details, but she has moved out and is living with her brother. I don't know anything about him or his circumstances, but as I understand it, she has quit school and is basically on her own. It was awful not seeing her there and we all need to pray for her, Sr. Monserrat and all the kids.
The rest of the kids all seem to be doing very well, and had a great time playing with the team and talking to our three Spanish speaking students from CSI. Benjamin asked me on Friday evening if they were going to get to do a "project" that night! Sr. Monserrat might not have liked our mess in January, but I guess the kids really liked it, so we'll have to plan some sort of craft or project for each of our trips.
We did some patching in the girls' dorm and painted both rooms; one light pink, and the other light lavender. Sr. Monserrat didn't care what color we painted, so the little girls gave their opinions and that's what we went with. On the next trip we'll paint the bathrooms, which needed some plaster work and weren't dry enough to paint before we left. The floor in the new side of the dorm will need replacing down the road. It was installed by Tijuana workers, who don't know how to work with linoleum, and is cracking.
At Hacienda de la Inmaculada we built and installed more shelving on the girls' side. We also did some mold repair in the ceiling of the boys' bathroom, and had a little time to play with the kids. There is another group there right now, building a classroom, computer room, and small library space for the school. It's the culmination of a thesis by a student from Woodbury College. While working on it, he decided to try to raise the money to actually do the project, and is partnered with Corazon de Vida on getting it completed. We met the guy (Chris) and he wants to continue his involvement with the Hacienda once the project is completed.
There continue to be many challenges there, but we saw some minor improvements in discipline and cleanliness, although there's still a long way to go! We saw George from Corazon on Tuesday, and he said they've been awarded a grant for a psychologist to spend 2 days a week there for 16 weeks. The person will work with the adults on discipline and parenting skills, as well as with the children. George is hopeful the grant will be renewed after the initial 16 weeks.
There seems to be increased interest in other groups helping out, which is desperately needed.
At Verdad y Vida we tiled a newly built small room, and built some shelves for it. The room will be used by the schoolchildren for homework. There was a 2 day old infant and his 13 year old mother there, and we got a chance to coo over her new little one. There are so many challenging issues there as well, and we're glad we can continue to help them out.
We didn't have any safety issues, although when we went to the Artisan's market on Friday afternoon there were a ton of TJ police vehicles heading to one particular area, and many others driving around the vicinity. However, all was calm at the market; otherwise we would have just turned around. We only saw a couple truck loads of Federales (also Friday afternoon), which is a real decrease over previous trips.
Thanks for all your prayers!