Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My trip to TJ- days 3 & 4

Day 3- Tuesday- Have you ever dug a hole in concrete?

Tuesday morning we went off to work on a new project on the outskirts of town. We drove clear out (through some areas showing serious lack of proper watershed management, really, I
could help them out with their erosion problems! I even took pictures. I'm too nerdy) to the southwest end of Tijuana. We could see the ocean from where we were working! Our job was to put in a barbed wire fence around the land that will be the site of a future building for Charity Anywhere, since if you don't claim your land fast it will be taken over by others/resold. This process began with digging holes for the fence posts. After about an hour and a half of swinging pick axes, crowbars, and shovels into soil that resembled concrete, our local helper, Julio, saved us by delivering a jack hammer.
That's right, jack hammer.
What kind of holes in the dirt require a jackhammer?!?! Well after that, things went a bit faster. Plus since the boys were mostly in charge of doing the jackhammer, the girls were either helping shovel out loose rocks as the guys went or working on the top layers of a few holes that were softer soil. Instead of doing the original 50 post holes that were planned for, we did about 16. We put a post in each hole (which was depressing to go around filling back up holes so quickly that had taken such a very long time to dig out...) and pretended like we knew how to string barbed wire around the bottom part way around the fence.

We were super super tired at the end of the day. We didn't know it then, but the next day us girls couldn't use our fingers or close our hands into a fist without it hurting. This is us relaxing at the end of the day, waiting for Julio or Mirna to come lead us back to the clinic.
From left to right- me, Hailey, Erin, Is, Courtney, and Bryan

Tuesday night we had a surprise birthday party for Stephanie, that she shared with some of the other kids who have March birthdays. It was a great dance party, complete with lights set up and DJ, and we had lots of cake and a pinata. We played musical chairs, danced on a rooftop, and even did the "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" line dance when he happened to play that song. This is Ellie, dancing with the pinata.

After that, we stopped at the taco stand just down the street from the clinic. I had a great time with a new fabulous friend I made. I'll talk about her later; I think I'll add a post titled "People" after I'm done with days. That wrapped up Tuesday evening!

Day 4- Wednesday- Bryan, you can't just make your own road!

Wednesday, we got sent back out to our fence to finish the barbed wire and add a few posts to make it that much more accurate to defining the land that was purchased. Luckily, because we had a lot less to do, we finished pretty early on.

When Mirna came mid-morning, we asked what we should do when we were finished. She gave us permission to have Julio show us down to the beach, which the kids from the neighbors who'd been playing with us over the two days had told us was reachable by the road we were on via bicycles. So we finished the fence (with the help of Julio, who instructed us how to REALLY string barbed wire) and packed up all the extra poles and the equipment.

We took it over to Julio's property and unloaded it there. Then we started a mini-adventure. Julio took us out of the valley we were in, into the next valley over.

Did I mention Julio is one of the craziest little mexicans I've ever met? That's his car. The loudspeaker was usually playing some advertisement, that Is said was for a rodeo or something carnival kind of thing. Sometimes he would play music on it. Sometimes he would yell stuff at us over it. Other times he would play chicken with other mexicans and yell taunts at them over it. Well we follow Julio over some crazy hills to a highway going along a cliffside down to the ocean, with a little pull out. Julio hops out of the car and practically skips over to our car and is like "see look, ocean!" We all look at Julio with disbelief. "Tocar Julio!! Queremos tocar la mar!!" we say to him. "Oooh!" He says. "Beach? Sandy Beach?" "SI Julio! Beach!!" So he motions that he will lead us somewhere else. Back in the car, back over the crazy hills, through a toll road (where he stole like 10 bucks from Bryan, pretty sure he never gave him back the change). 20 minutes later (as we're all thinking "I thought the beach was just down the road from where we were... this was NOT supposed to take this long...") we park at the Tijuana Playas.
Our group FINALLY at a beach after staring at the ocean longingly for two long days!

It was very very fantastic. After playing around on the beach for a bit, we had Julio take us back to the Clinic. We then walked down the street to a little shop and had some ice cream (paletas), courtesy of Is. After that, we decided to head over to Ellie's house to see how they were doing there, and if they needed our help. So Bryan starts heading off south, convinced that he knows the way to Ellie's. I pipe in that I can't remember exactly how to get there, but I don't think we're going the right way. We end up in the right valley, but at the south end--as if we were heading to our work site. I say oh well okay, this road by the river will take us up to Ellie's house, this is how Gordon brought us out of the valley on Sunday when we took the refrigerator to her place. However, Bryan's car isn't looking like it can make it down this road (I have NO idea how Gordon took the 15 passenger van down it). So we turn around and head back, all of us expecting Bryan to retrace the way back up to the rim above the valley to look for the more northerly road into the valley. But instead of turning left to head back, he goes right. We are all like "uuhhh.. Bryan?" and he insists that he will find a road above the one we are on, on the west side of the valley, that will get us there. The rest of us know that this is absurd. He continues on, and turns onto a higher road. "Bryan, you can't just make your own roads!" exclaims Courtney. I laughed so hard. Well, in the end, he turned around and headed north and found the other road and I didn't have to strangle him. Well we didn't do much at Ellie's house. Then we went back to the Clinic, and a group of us went from there to the LDS church house where some of the youth were having a kind of Mutual activity, playing soccer and eating elotes.
Unfortunately, there were a lot of people buying the elotes, and Missy and I were at the end of the group, and the corn hadn't had as long of time to cook. Hers was pretty undercooked. Which was unfortunate. But mine was pretty tasty! And watching the boys play soccer was super fun.
After that we went home and collapsed into deep, exhausted slumber! (Possibly after talking way way too late. Or it might have been one of the other nights. Or a couple of the nights. It's all a blur now).

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