Crossing the border into TijuanaEarlier this month twelve women from the Orange County chapter of Women of Vision traveled to Tijuana, Mexico for the day. The team spent time at the Las Palmas Community Center cleaning, painting and working in the garden. They were able to do all the work alongside their World Vision sponsored children. Today, Liz Broedlow shares her impressions of their day.
I admit, heading to Tijuana is strenuous, but not because you are crossing the border into Mexico. NO it’s just a long day. We began at our meeting place at 6:30 AM, drove to the U.S. side of the border, and crossed over on foot. Then, we were met by the smiling face of Barbara, with World Vision. In a van we drove 30 minutes into the hills of Tijuana towards our destination. During the drive I noticed the austere surroundings, cinder block beginnings of buildings left undone, now graffiti and weed laden, and finally unpaved roads, as we bounced up the grade towards the Community Center. Our WOV Orange County chapter helped finance this building. Dust and straggly dogs ran along side our caravan. I couldn’t help but think what this area must be like in the rain, and how difficult life must be. The horizon was filled with tires that hold up the hillsides and are used in foundations for the ramshackle abodes that are homes to thousands.
As we entered the Community Center, we saw a long table in the center and chairs which lined the newly painted blue walls. Our sponsored children, some with their mothers and siblings, were sitting awaiting our arrival – what joy!
In the adjoining room was a preschool class filled with beautiful faces eager to learn and their teacher/volunteers. I entered and immediately saw my sponsored child. We have met twice before, but it has been two years. He has grown taller and I was greeted by his warm and genuine hug – I returned the hug, just a beginning of hugs throughout the day…
Not everyone in our group had a sponsored child in attendance. But there was plenty of work for us to do:
Painting the inside back wall which completes the blue interior.
Painting the outside facade a bright salmon color.
Weeding, despite the fact that there is no garden just dry dirt, filled with rocks and debris. The terrain is unbalanced filled with crevices – and red ants!
Atop the Community center was a cement flat roof, where the children play ball. We had a bright-colored parachute and played games with the children – us singing in English and they in Spanish. We may not understand each other’s language, but the language of love is understood by all!
We were treated to barbeque’d taco meal, cooked by the hands of the many local volunteers. Mostly women, they welcomed us with big smiles and friendly hugs. The interpreters helped us in our introductions and acknowledgments of those whose hands help make this community work. At the end of the afternoon we said our goodbye. We’re not sure if we will be back as this ADP project is coming to an end; while we’re pleased with the success of this World Vision project, leaving is indeed bittersweet.
The journey back home included the long line at the border. It’s not a long distance but a world of difference. As we drove home, our time was filled with wonderful conversation. I love my fellow women of vision; their hearts are filled with love for others and the desire to be used by our Lord in helping make life a little better for the underprivileged – even if it’s just for a day.
As I drive home I see the clean, safe surroundings – a vast contrast to what we have seen today. I picked up dinner to bring home, I put my feet up, and although I was tired, I reflect upon the day. That night I took time to thank the Lord for my blessings, and I prayed for my sponsored child and wondered what is his future.