Where we are

{The kids getting some school work done first thing after breakfast and before going to work at WHO}

Every trip is different, but many things stay the same.  We have been coming down to Baja Mexico as a family since 2005.  Back then Aili was just four years old and Roman was two.  We lived in a smaller trailer for a couple months and then were able to move into "motel 6".   We came again in 2009 for another six months.  This time we had three children (Silas was the resident two year old) and we lived in this same camping trailer the whole time.  During those first couple trips we were staff at an orphanage.

A couple years later we were back.  This time we had one year old Cece along and we rented a house in town.  We were only permitted by social services to be out of the country for 6wks because we were still fostering Cece.  We weren't really affiliated with any particular ministry for our next couple visits.  We kept busy with a few odd projects, and visiting the friends we had made over the years. 

This year we were able find a ministry that we could plug into.  I know it really shouldn't be that hard to find somewhere to do volunteer work, but it can be kind of complicated... especially with a family. 

This fall we were thrilled to find out that our good friends, the Machado family, and a Mexican man that we have known and respected over the years were asked to be the new directors of a ministry called "Welcome Home Outreach".   This ministry is in the same little town that we always come to. 

This year we decided, for a few different reasons, to bring our trailer one more time.  We came not knowing what to expect or how much we would be needed or involved at WHO.  I knew that Nathanael would be kept busy...he's the guy with skill after all, but in all our time coming down I had mostly always been on the outside with the kids.  I didn't actually begrudge the situation, after all we have children and I enjoy just being down here. 

Our time here started a bit strange.  This was the first time I have ever parked in Baja and not been very happy.  Honestly after we pulled our trailer into the backyard of someone else's house (a stranger to us), a yard that is used to park vehicles and consists of dirt I wondered what we had been thinking.  I wondered "what on earth are we doing here? I have a nice house...and now I'm living in a camping trailer with five kids in a lot that consist of Baja dirt (a whole different kind of dirt).  No where to wash the clothes, no clothes line, no where for kids to be without getting filthy.  I went to bed and shut it all out until the roosters started to crow at about 3am, reminding me of where I was.  That first night I just wanted to go home.  The only reason I'm writing about that is because it's so strange.  I have never felt that way here.  I'm always sad to leave, and eager to get here. 

The next day we were warmly greeted by our friends at WHO and invited to not only send my husband over to work but to eat our lunches there and to be involved. 

Despite a rocky start this has been the best trip we've had I think.  The trailer can get pretty cozy with 7 big bodies in it but it also feels familiar.  The laundry and yard situation is a bit challenging but we've managed to work with it.  I wash some smaller essentials by hand in the little bathtub during the week and the Hubster hung up a small line.   Once a week I do about two loads at a laundry mat.  We use and use the same clothes until they are very done.

                                      The Little's spend their days playing with friends.

Our trip down here happened to overlap with another family from Canada.  We met and became friends with Nicole while working at an orphanage back in 2005.  She was a single nurse back then.  This time she came back with her husband and four young children.  It had been 8 years since we had seen her but we quickly picked up where we left off.  Our children enjoyed playing together too. They left for the great white north this week and we will miss them here. 

{Nicole, her daughter and Aili making pizza for lunch.}

 The WHO cook Cande is at the stove.  A sweeter, kinder woman would be hard to find.  She is an amazing cook too.  We LOVE eating her food each day.  The meals always consist of fresh foods, tons of vegis and salads..and even fresh fruit juice.  She does well with what she is given and is such a hard worker.  The kids love her...mostly because she gives them cookies if they sneak into the kitchen.  Elijah has a new "Abuela".

The main ministry of WHO is the Daycare.  WHO began about 30 years ago as an orphanage but changed it's vision and became a ministry that helps to keep intact families together.  A daycare in this area meets a definite need.  Single moms, and lack of responsible fathers, leads not only to poverty but to children being left alone while their moms work long days in the fields.  Over the years we've witnessed so much and this is one thing that I feel does make a practical difference to children here.  A safe, nurturing place.  Two healthy meals.  Mom having peace of mind, knowing her children are looked after while she works.  Not having to make that hard choice to leave them at a Children's Home in order to survive.

We don't have a lot to do with the children, which in fact is a good thing.  They have some Mexican ladies who are their daily teachers/caretakers and they are given stability and protection from rotating visitors.  We enjoy eating our lunches with them though.  There are fifty five children here each day.

Cece and Brielle have been little friends now for three years.  It's fun to see how much they've both grown when we meet up.


Silas loves Baja.  Well mostly he just loves the tacos, strange candies, and these "Tazos".  They come in little bags of cookies or chips.   I guess they are awesome.  Each year they become an obsession.

The Hubster has been busy helping Saul on a house building project for a family who has a teenage daughter with CP.  We have known this girl for 8 years now so it was a privilege to get in on some of the work.  This week he is helping to build a school in a community that gets no government funding for a school. 

For the first time ever while down here, I have been able to work hard each day and contribute something as well.  It's a bit of a juggling act with kids in tow but it's such a relaxed family friendly atmosphere here that the kids are either pitching in, or playing while I work.  I'm mostly doing cleaning/decluttering jobs around facility which has actually been fun.  It is so nice to be useful and be able to serve in a practical way this time.  There are plenty of little odd jobs that the hardworking staff just doesn't have time to get too. 

It's been a privilege and very refreshing to work alongside and serve at a ministry that is well run, has good stewardship and is led by people who genuinely love Jesus and love others and lead with integrity and humility. 

We also love tacos...and churros. 

Buenos noches amigos!


Anonymous said...

Hmmm, not so weird to me. That would be my normal reaction, being the selfish person that I am. Then I would push through it and God would show me again, that it is so much better to give than to receive. My flesh fights it every time, and every time I am so blessed. You would think I would stop fighting for selfishness so much. ;) What a blessing to be there serving the least of these. More than anything, what a blessing for your kids to see the gospel lived out right in front of them (and obviously for the beautiful children you are serving too) What a blessing that they get to experience the gifts that they have to give at such a young age. For them to be able to see how God wants to use them too, no matter their age, He has a purpose and opportunities just for them.

Chantel Klassen said...

Thanks so much for sharing your journey Carla! I love your honesty. I'd absolutely LOVE to do something like this on a regular basis.