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Mesquite Rotary Club members just returned from a weekend of service in Cerro Azul, Mexico on the annual Corazon SuperBuild Saturday, May 3, 2014.  Four Mesquite Rotary Club members joined forces with 120 fellow Rotarians from Rotary District 5300 and built two homes for needy families in a day in this tiny hillside community.

Corazón’s “Build a House in a Day” program takes a group of dedicated volunteers into the marginalized communities of Tijuana and Tecate and builds an eligible family a home, all in just one day! Many families live in shacks and improvised shelters, often with no flooring. The Comunidad Corazón program is not a handout to the poor, but a method of assistance that allows the participants to help themselves.  Corazón helps the poor by letting them earn their way out of poverty and into a brighter future.

The first step is a family’s desire to improve their way of life.  By performing community service on neighborhood projects, the Comunidad members can earn hours that they then exchange to fulfill many of their basic needs, such as food, clothing, tools, and building materials.  More importantly, they become eligible for scholarships for their children and job training for themselves.  The result is a stronger family living in a better community with hope for a brighter future.

It’s a busy and long day of building.  Everyone meets at 6:30 am to caravan across at the Tecate border crossing approximately 40 miles east of Tijuana.  Cerro Azul is located in the foothills 7 miles south of Tecate.

Materials for the homes are on-site and a cement 16×20 foot slab has been poured when Rotarians arrive.  District 5300 then sets to work building a wood-frame structure with plywood sides, a shingled roof, four windows and a door.  A sleeping loft and small ceramic counter are added to the interior.  The family provides a moderate, typical lunch for the workers consisting of beans, rice, pork carnitas, and a tortilla.  At the end of the day the family receives the keys to their new home.  Mesquite Rotary President Roberta Bird noted, “It’s a very emotional moment to realize that you have played a part in changing the lives of a family to help them have a better life.”

This year six Beaver Dam High School Interact Club members also went on the trip.  This is the first year student Ariana Quevedo has gone on the SuperBuild trip.  Of her experience she says, “The Mexico trip was a huge learning experience for me. I learned not only how to build a house, but also how lucky and blessed I am to have the life I have.”  Ariana continued, “This trip helped me see life from a whole different perspective and also helped me to at least get an idea of how other less fortunate people in this world live; without running water, electricity, or indoor plumbing.  I am thankful to have had this experience and hope everyone else feels the same way too and gets inspired to do more just like I am.”

Bird added, “Seeing our Interact students work hard to help others was so very rewarding.  Most of them have never been outside the U.S. or experienced anything like this.”

Other members of the BDHS Interact Club also making the trip were: Joseph Guimond, Zack Hurt, Jacinda Hurt, Shanna Glendon, and Marah Cobian.  Both Shanna and Marah have been on the trip with Rotary before.  They both agreed with Arianna that “helping others in this way makes a difference.  That’s why we wanted to go back this year.”

Accompanying students this year were Mesquite Rotary Club members Roberta Bird, President; Linda Gault, President-Elect; Jeff Bird, John Berard, and BDHS teacher and Interact Advisor Ken Atwood.