South of the Border~Part 4

6 May

A Slice of Life
 Bill Lites

Work had progressed great the first two days, but then Wednesday night the rains came, and the dry parched earth turned into a quagmire. That kind of rain is seldom seen in that part of Mexico, and the rainwater does not sink into the soil there like it does in our Florida sand.


Even though the rain had stopped by Thursday morning, when we arrived at the work site, the mud really slowed down the day’s operations. Some of our vehicles got stuck in the mud more than once that day, and much valuable time and effort was spent pulling them free.


The mud was so thick that we had to be very careful walking through it because it would suck the shoes right off your feet, and your next step would be in that mud in your stocking feet. An added disadvantage of all that mud was that thick globs of it stuck to the bottoms of our shoes, and we tracked it into the houses every time we came in, and more time was required to scrape it off the floors. This also got in the way of any activity going on above the floor level.


Because of the high summer temperatures and “zero” humidity, once the rain stopped, the area dried up fairly rapidly. Then once the water had dried up, the deep mud ruts hardened into sharp ridges in the streets, which could cut a truck or van tire if the driver wasn’t careful where he was going.


In spite of the rain and all that mud, the work pretty much got back to normal. We were able to continue with most all of the unfinished work on the two houses (doors, windows and final trim) and included getting the mud and debris cleaned up. The electrical lights and switches were wired up and tested, so everything was ready for a final inspection. This allowed us to completely finish the two houses by the afternoon of the third day.


On Friday, we drove to the building site, and once the final inspections were completed, and the work areas were cleaned up, we gathered the colonia (unregulated settlement) dwellers at one, and then the other of the new houses, for a prayer and dedication service for each. Pastor Santos (Pastor of a local church in Nava as well as the John 3:16 church there in the colonia) officiated at these services with our own Diana translating his words for us.


The Mayor of Nava and his wife attended the dedication service, to praise OSM and all the team members for their continued service and support of their city of Nava and especially the people of this colonia.


And then, each team had their picture taken, standing in front of the completed house they had built, to remind us all of just how much can be accomplished when a group of people get together and put their effort into a worthy project.


One of the most memorable and gratifying things I have ever been honored to be called upon to do, was when I was selected to be the one who presented Jose, Estela and their family with the keys to their brand new house. They were overwhelmed with gratitude, and it was a special thrill for me too!


Of course, not every family in the colonia can have a new house today, but it has always been OSM’s goal to provide this kind of housing for as many of the colonia families as possible, as workers and funds became available.


By 2010, OSM had provided almost 100 houses for Nava’s colonia families. Unfortunately, in the last few years, the drug wars and terrorist activities in many parts of Mexico (including the Nava area) have curtailed the house building activities for OSM, along with many other organizations who participate in these, and other much needed humanitarian projects.


—–To Be Continued—–

One Response to “South of the Border~Part 4”

  1. Old Things R New May 9, 2015 at 7:37 pm #

    Bill, this is a wonderful story. It is sad the program has had to draw back due to the danger.


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