So there's a bit to tell you about! I spent all of last week in San Luis, Mexico. It was so cool. I went with a group from Eugene who goes every year to build houses for needy families. We were literally in the desert. Some of the houses in the area were a bit nicer, built out of brick and stuff. An empty lot in San Luis goes for about three thousand dollars. A lot of the places were just shacks though, built out of used shipping pallets. I led one of the three projects we took on this year. It wasn't a full house, which would have been easier, but we added a fourteen foot by sixteen foot room onto a shack. The shack is owned by a lady named Esperanza, a single mom with five kids. Her shack was about the same size as the room we added on to it. Normally the group would have built her a whole new house, but she didn't want to tear down her shack so we did it this way. We pretty much just built a standalone structure with a door opening into the shack. I had a great time. I learned a lot too... leading that sort of a team was a whole new challenge for me. The work itself was easy, but I had anywhere from 15 to 25 people at a time on my site who didn't really know anything. Everyone had a really great attitude, which was awesome. I dove into it at the beginning thinking I could get a lot done and keep everyone organized and working at the same time. Yeah right. Maybe there are people who could do that but not me. I had to learn to chill out, step back, and organize and lead in a whole new way. When you're a builder you speak a whole different language than most people, so I had to slow down and make sure people new what I was talking about. It was cool. There were so many great people to get to know as well. From Austin, the 12 year old who worked his butt off digging a ditch; to Howard the guy in his late 60s who grew up in Texas. So cool. I really enjoyed it.
It rained on the Monday night we were there... at three in the morning. I was sleeping outside so it woke me up pretty quickly. At first it was just a light sprinkle, so I just rolled over and hoped it would stop. However we had a pile of sheetrock in the open on my project that we hadn't covered up. It didn't occur to me that it might rain in the desert. So when it started to rain a bit harder I packed my bed up and put it in the back of the bus, and a guy named Kevin took me to go cover the sheetrock. He was with a group from LaGrande (eastern Oregon) that met us there and worked with us. They didn't have a bus. No, they had three 2009 suburbans. Now, an 09 suburban is not exactly a car you see in a shanty town in the Mexican desert. To boot, in the dark... we couldn't find my site. We knew the basic quadrant it was in, so we started trolling slowly up and down streets trying to find it. At 3:30am. Yeah. That might have looked a bit suspicious. We were driving down one street, actually the street that ended up being where my project was....
and got pulled over by a police officer. As we pulled over i realized that my ID and phone were back at camp. So were Kevin's. I was pretty sure we were going to Mexican jail for a minute. After a remarkably stressful exchange with t a Mexican cop who didn't speak hardly any English, it finally occurred to Kevin to show the cop the insurance papers for the suburban. It worked and he let us go. I'll tell you what I think happened. I think he realized he couldn't communicate to us that he wanted a bribe so he gave up on us. What a relief. So then we found the site, and Esperanza had already covered the sheetrock up with some plastic. So we hadn't even needed to go out. But it was an adventure.
I had to leave a little earlier than the rest of the group.... so I could make it to the airport on time to pick Deborah up :). That's right, she's here in Oregon. Which is freaking cool. And a bit surreal. But so awesome.