Each year Rotarians across Rotary District 5300 make the trip to Mexico to build homes for needy families. This year was no exception when five members of the Mesquite Rotary Club, along with family members, three BDHS Interact students, and BDHS teacher, Ken Atwood, left on Friday, May 1st and returned on Sunday, May 3rd after completing this year’s build. President-elect Keith Buchhalter recounts his experience of this year’s build for you.
“We arrived at 9 am at the job site. A small 20 X 16 concrete foundation was waiting for us in the small village of “Pueblo y Gobierno” located about 15 miles south from Tecate, Baja, California in rural Mexico. We were welcomed by a group of kids with handmade signs that read “Bienvenidos Rotarios”. My family and I traveled with 4 other members of our Mesquite Rotary Club, 3 members of the Beaver Dam High School Interact Club and several members from other Rotary Clubs within our District. The goal for the day: Build a house in eight hours for Rosa Acosta, a single mother of three, who works several hours a day sewing in a clothing factory. Rosa joined Corazon a year ago.
Corazón is a nonprofit and nondenominational organization focused on meeting the immediate needs of low-income Mexican families. Corazón has built approximately 1,500 homes and has served over 7,000 participants in 7 different communities over its past 35 year history. The Corazón program is not a handout to the poor; rather it is a proven method of assistance that allows the participants to help themselves. In the process, they help their neighbors and their community to grow and prosper. Rotary International partnered with Corazón several years ago and has participated in the building of several homes in the Baja California area.
During the day I had the opportunity to interview Rosa and her family, what surprised me the most was the answer I received when I asked her, ‘Since joining Corazón, what has made the most impact in your life?’ I was expecting her to tell me helping her build a house; however her reply was when Corazón facilitated tutors to help her 11 year old daughter, Magali, learn how to read and write. Magali was standing by my side, she grabbed my hand and told me that she never thought she was going to be able to learn how to read and write, and now that she does, she feels that a new world of opportunities just opened for her. She has hope. I choked. That moment is what we Rotarians call a “Rotary Moment.”
At 5:30 pm a group of about 40 volunteers, handed over the keys to Rosa. Rosa now has a place she can call home. A home she will share not only with David (14), Magaly (11) and Christian (4), but also with her parents Antonio and Lucrecia.”
This was the first time for both Danielle Garlick and Gabriella Buchhalter to experience this kind of community service and both came away with a new understanding of what “Service Above Self” really means. Both said “it felt good to help others,” and they each expressed an appreciation for what they have and enjoy.
If you would like more information on how to help or participate in one of the projects of Corazón throughout the year, please visit www.corazon.org. If you are interested in learning more about Rotary, the Mesquite Rotary Club meets every Tuesday at 12:00 noon at the Mesquite Vistas Club House, 851 Pinnacle Court. Come and join us for friendship and some lunch!