We had a full day today, from seeing the poverty of the migrant workers camps to experiencing the beauty of the landscape and La Bufadora, and then visiting a farm that raises 500 sheep, chickens, turkeys, goats, and of course some puppies.
The migrant camp was an experience I will never forget. Our first stop was at Calimax - a grocery store in Ensenada, where we bought 30 litres of milk, 30 bags of rice, 30 bottles of oil, and 30 bags of pasta. Then across the street we bought 2 crates of oranges. After driving a ways to get there we stopped at the bottom of the mountain, where a few shacks were set up. It looked deserted but after Darrell honked the van horn, slowly but surely a number of women and children came out and walked toward the van. We didn't know what Darrell was doing and thought we'd be getting out there to give out the supplies we had but he just opened the doors and in they climbed! I ended up with a beautiful babe on my lap. We crammed in as many as we could and then another bunch of kids climbed into the back of Brian's pickup truck.
The owners of the farms also own the land where the camps are and some provide the camps with water and sanitation - these are the good camps.
We drove about half way up the mountain on the bumpy dusty road and pulled into a levelled off area where some shacks were set up - the camp. We all piled out and met the others that lived in the camp. The kids immediately lined up in 2 rows ready to kick one of the soccer balls we brought into the hole in a piece of plywood we brought up. If they get it through the hole, they get to keep the soccer ball. This went on for a half hour or so until one boy skillfully lined up the ball, took a shot, and YES! got it in. He was one happy boy!! And both of the balls we brought were won. :)
Then we brought out the clothes, tooth brushes, candy and blankets that we took along and divided them amongst the Moms and kids. Some will stand right beside you and try to take everything you bring out of the box. It's a bit of a zoo at that point, but the need is great and the people are anxious to get what ever they can. After this the Moms stand in a line and receive a bag of food and then everyone gets one or two oranges.
I talked (mostly with actions and the wee bit of Spanish I have learned) to a 16 year old girl who just had her second child..a beautiful boy. She was so proud of her 2 children, showing me her new son, nestled in her snuggly. I prayed a prayer of blessing over her new son, that he would grow up big and strong, and we were on our way.
I left thinking about what it would take to transform that little migrant camp to where it didn't have to exist anymore because all of the inhabitants would have their own house, work that could provide a decent living for them, and education for the children and the young adults that are no longer in school because they have children. That would be the end goal of transformation in that community...meeting felt needs through education and support until they are supporting themselves. Another step in the direction of eliminating systemic poverty one person/community at a time.
Darrell and Maureen frequent that camp as they take each team that visits them there doing what we did. The people there respect them and they have become family to them.
It was difficult to leave there and carry on with our day. We drove further south and reached 'La Bufadora'. After a tasty fish taco lunch from a place that Darrell and Maureen also frequent (a brother to one of the "house dad's" at Casa Hogar), we walked down the street lined with venders, all wanting our business, to the end where we saw the guyser/blowhole. It performed without fail and we enjoyed the spray of the cool ocean on our faces. http://www.visitmexico.com/en/la-bufadora-in-ensenada
On the way back to the orphanage we stopped in at another friend of Darrell and Maureen who they help to support. Sarah has 2 children, Angel and Jesus. Jesus has epilepsy and is mentally and physically handicapped. He just stared at us and smiled as we held his hand and prayed over him. Sarah is a remarkable Mom with a beautiful attitude and carries such joy in her despite her difficult circumstances. Her son Angel is a huge help to her as he loves on his brother, and she was so proud of him, showing Darrell and Maureen his recent report card with excellent marks. This is actually a success story compared to what we witnessed in the migrant camps - there is employment, a home (albeit a trailer with an added plywood room for Jesus), and education.
We arrived back at the Orphanage to another wonderful meal prepared by Rosa and Patti, 2 women that Darrell and Maureen employ to cook for the groups that they host. After dinner we chatted with Brian, Alice, and Susan (3 retired snowbirds from that drove up from Yuma...that's another story...) and then called it a day. Thank you Father, for your provision, faithfulness, and love that never fails. We are grateful for the opportunity to be your hands and feet in this fallen world.