The following is a postcard from Lucius and Sarah, GlobalGiving's In-the-Field Representatives in Mexico, about their experience volunteering with Un Techo Para Mi País
6:00 A.M. - Half-asleep, our heads bumped vigorously against the car’s windows as we made our way through unpaved roads to Las Vias del Amor, loosely translated into The Pathways of Love. Do not let the name fool you, however. This is a community of tin shacks and stray dogs, located next to an abandoned railway track and a rubbish dump. More surprisingly, this shanty town lies just thirty minutes outside Mexico City.
Sarah and I walked along the dirt road towards the first shack, cautiously avoiding the muddy puddles that had formed from last night’s rain. We were greeted by two staff from Un Techo Para Mi País, which helps to build sturdy houses for these poor families.
They told us to put our bags down and join one of the many volunteer teams that were already hard at work. After all, what better way to learn about an organization’s work than to volunteer for them.
For the next twelve hours, Sarah and I hacked away at large rocks and dug deep holes in the ground to lay the pillars for the foundation, and hammered away tirelessly as we put the walls and roof up onto these new houses. Meanwhile, the beneficiaries of these new houses, many of whom were unemployed and living well below the poverty line, made us coffee and cooked us a simple lunch. During lunch, we all sat in a circle and heard about their histories and dreams, and how this house would afford them a modicum of dignity.
Finally at around 8:00 P.M, as we tightened the finishing screws on their new roofs, the heavens opened up with a torrential hail storm. My team of volunteers scurried and huddled together with the poor family of five in their new house. Although sunburnt and blistered, we were happy and dry, for we knew that our job was complete.
Many other families are still in need of a roof over their heads.
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It´s been almost a year since we first approached to Lomas. In that first approach we made almost 80 interviews to know the familys better, we wanted to know top to bottom each family and make a propper plan for the whole community.
Today after knocking in many doors we can take the first step. We went a tell the story of the families to as many people as we could, and we are happy to tell you that by the end of the month 30 students will be visiting the community to update the information and select the first 12 familys that we consider need the most a transitional house.
This is only the beggining, everybody is really excited about the possibilities. Now we begin a long term relation with a group of people with tons of potential to make many programs (infrastructure, education, micro-credits, legal and basic skills training).
The 21st and 22nd of june over a 100 volunteers will be partipating in the construction of the first 12 transitional homes. We thank your generosity and hope you can continue to help us.
Lomas del Tizate is one of the most excluded slums in the city of Guadalajara in Mexico.
About 100 families live there since 2011, more than 600 habitants. Among 50% and 80% of the families lives in disrepair houses with dust ground, without access to public services such as electricity, drainage and water.
Lomas del Tizate is part of a huge common area with different landlords. It has been difficult to the families to live there, because although it hasn't been any attempt of eviction, they don't have the security to build a life for them to long term.
Besides this, it is a united community who lives with tranquility most of the time.
TECHO started works in June of 2012 and we identified a minimum but a good organization among the families that work together to improve the condition of all.
After several diagnostics, visits, socio economic studies and observations, TECHO has identified along with the community the priority of the need in habitat theme.
That's why we are working to build transitionals houses to 17 families in Lomas del Tizateas our project to short term, to bring dignity to everyone, to accomplish a lot of family’s dreams, to develop also other programs after the construction, that will finish poverty among the community, such as Health Plans, Educational programs, Legal consulting, labor training, etc.
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