Niños Para Cristo - 2005
In August, 46 people from
The Valley Church
in Cupertino drove down to Rosarito (Mexico) to help work at
Grace Children's Home, an orphanage run by George and Stacey Palau. We weren't sure quite what to expect, but it turned out to be a great trip. We spent three days there, and were able to help out with various projects around the orphanage, and had a great time meeting and playing with the adorable kids there!
The official Team T-Shirt.
One of the team members designed and had printed TShirts for everybody in the group.
Grace Children's Home.
Here is the view of the house(s) from the lot. There are actually two houses in the picture - the boy's house is on the right, and the girl's house is on the left. They plan to build two more houses and an educational center in the future. You can see work on the septic field in progress. I got to learn all about "leach fields" during this trip.
All aboard the back-rub train.
After a hard day's work, there's nothing like a paint-roller back-rub train!
Actually, we hadn't even started working yet, but it was still fun. :)
Jessica & Zachary getting ready for some caulking action.
The kids did a lot of work including caulking, painting, cleaning up trash and nails, and of course, playing with the kids there.
Zachary & Jonathan in action.
Our kids had a great time playing with each other during the trip.
The existing paint wasn't too bad, but there were cracks in the wall which we needed to fill before they got worse.
Nate's mind was in the gutter for several days.
They don't have city water there, so they have water brought in by truck. During the winter, the roads wash out, and the truck can't get to them. Also, they spend about $20/day on water just bathing all of the kids! So gutters catching water from the roof-tops become a valuable asset. The gutter Nate worked on will collect water from four roof tops and send it directly into the cistern, and should save them hundreds of dollars/month during the winter.
Extreme Makeover - Mexico Edition.
OK, it wasn't that extreme, but we did completely surprise a few folks in town by showing up to paint their house when they did not expect it. These were people who regularly volunteer at the orphanage, so we wanted to do something nice for them.
Painting more houses.
This is the other house that our group painted.
Jessica wrestling with Elias.
Looks like she wore out Victor.
Zachary playing with Salvador.
Diane getting swarmed by kids craving attention.
We didn't have a lot of time to play with the kids since there were so many projects to be completed, but when we did take some timeout to play with them, they would swarm all over you, and then you had to peel them off of you in order to leave.
Nate playing phone with Edwin.
Nate would say, "Hola! Cómo esta? Sí, sí, sí, estás aquí." and then "Es para tu." and then hand the "phone" to Edwin. He had a great time with this game, and probably could have played it for hours.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch.
We stayed in dormatory-style housing a few miles from the orphanage. One night, we could hear a Mariachi band playing for a few hours.
The accommodations were quite cozy.
The bunk-beds were 3-high, and 46 of us piled into two rooms. The first few days, we had one bathroom to share, with two showers. (separated only by shower curtains) Hot water and water pressure were a luxury!
We basically had an empty garage for our dining quarters which worked out great. One family brought and prepared most of the food, and it was always delicious after a long day working out in the sun.
Here are a bunch of the kids at the home receiving gift boxes that we brought for each of them : Misael, Mariana, Salvador, Leo, Georgie, Iliana, Lupita, Jailin, Marisol, Eric, Elias, Victor, Edwin
All of the kids singing together in church.
Our kids learned the Spanish version of the song, and the local kids learned the English version, and then they sang both. "Tengo paz como un río. Tengo gozo como una fuente. Tengo amor como un océano en mi alma." This is Sunday morning in the Church that initiated Grace Children's Home.
The required group shot.
Here is the whole gang in front of the homes.
And a shot with just our kids.
Our kids outnumbered us - something like 27 kids and 19 adults. Hence our group's name, "Niños Para Cristo"
Here is a shot of just our family under the mural.
We didn't paint the mural, but we worked really hard to paint around it! First, we covered it up, so we didn't drip on it, and then a few people maticulously "cut-in" around it.
A bunch of our girls got corn rows on the beach.
The last afternoon, we went to Rosarito Beach and had a nice time there, even with all of the jelly-fish on the beach! We had a yummy buffet dinner at the Hotel there, and then bought lots of fun fire-works (which are legal there) and set them off on the beach.
See Ya' Next Year!
The official Grace Children's Home website.