Monday, July 27, 2009

Becoming Accustomed

I was thinking this morning about how some things never change. For instance, the shower in my apartment has stunk forever. It stunk 3 years ago, and it still stinks exactly the same stink. I tried everything to get that stink to go away, and it never did.

That thought led to thinking about becoming accustomed to living in Mexico. In the early days (years ago), coming to Mexico meant packing special things, preparing for the worst, worrying about what could happen, and being nervous the entire trip. Fortunately, that's waned over the years, and I've been thinking about how one becomes used to the every day way of life here in this town, and yet how different it is from living in Portland.

After a while you get used to having to go to three grocery stores to find what you're looking for. You get used to nobody having the brand of milk you're looking for, because obviously the Jersey truck is still due for a trip into town. You're used to the incredibly bumpy, dirt roads that ruin cars, and the incessant dust that covers a newly washed car. You're not quite used to thinking in pesos, but you're getting there. You get used to the trash, and the newly paved highway that's already falling apart. You're used to the warm hospitality of the people, the ocean breeze, the smiles of the children, the really wonderful food.

It's sometimes hard to think about what it must be like for someone coming for their first, second, third trip to Mexico. It's still so foreign, so different, and scary sometimes. They pack baby wipes and hand sanitizer and medicines galore. They pack lots of snacks (in case they can't find any food). They have to write and call home every day. I forget what I felt the first time I stayed here for 10 weeks. Now this place has become home and when I get here I usually breathe a sigh of relief. It's so comfortable.

AND I'm getting used to living in a small town. THAT'S the weird part. When you drive around town and see who's shopping at what store, or you find out who knows who. It's hard to wrap my Portland brain around that.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

What a day

You may be wondering what we do on a normal day around here. During the summer we either have a work group building a house during the week, or we are prepping a house for the next week. And by "we" I mean the guys. Although I have shoveled gravel two mornings while I've been here (and felt the pain the next day), I'm mostly at home. The every day business of running a daycare happens day in and day out, and Heidi and I help in the kitchen and help mom with errands.

This week we have a dental team in. They are incredibly hard workers and have been putting in long days. They examined our children and staff on Monday, had a public dental clinic on Tuesday, went to a retirement home yesterday, and are continuing public dental care today and tomorrow.

This morning dad and I started off the morning by driving down to a migrant camp to look for a boy we've met before. He's 12 and has teeth growing out of the inside of the top of his mouth. After talking with an older gentleman from the community, and on the advice of the crowd of children, we found Raul off playing with his brother and friends. After showing them the temporary tattoo I had on my arm (they were quite interested, I tell you!) I arranged with him to get picked up tomorrow morning so he could come and see the dentist.

I got back and organized some clothes with Heidi for a camp visit we are doing tomorrow, where we will distribute clothes (left from last week's group), and shoes (that this dental team brought).

Amidst all of this, the dental team that is here (one dentist, two assistants, one hygienist) was running out of anesthetic. We were really worried about this because we have a line of people waiting outside, and a list of names of people to see. Mom called at the orphanage clinic across town to see if we could borrow some, promising that the dentist we have now will repay them. Well, it turns out that they are having their biggest clinic of the year next week, and would need the anesthetic to be repaid this weekend. How could this happen if our dentist was not leaving until Saturday?

God works. Mom called the youth pastor of the group that is coming this next week. They will be stopping in California, and can stop by this dentist's office, where one of his workers will give him anesthetic to bring down on Saturday. Through this, the clinic can be repaid by the dentist that is here this week. How amazing is that? We could have been having a team from San Diego or L.A. coming and we would miss this opportunity, and possible miss the ability to treat all of this people who are waiting for the dentist. But no, God works, and instead our next group is driving (not flying, like a lot of groups do!), and driving straight through this dentist's town on their way to Mexico. God is good.

And hey - all that happened, and it's not even lunchtime yet! And I just got reminded by mom that the dental assistants need help pumping up soccer balls for their soccer outreach this afternoon. I'm OFF!

Thursday, July 09, 2009


I don't have much to say, but I have some pictures to share.

On the 27th Stephanie came down from Ensenada and we went to the quinceñera of a friend. A quinceñera is a celebration when a girl turns 15. A small ceremony and party. We got dressed up and wore dresses and that was a special occasion in itself... quite the momentous day.

The birthday girl, Arely, and her parents:

We're just pretty normal here - day to day operations. We had a group last week from San Diego, and we have a group this week from New Hope church in Portland. Everything's going really smoothly and we've had some really big answers to prayer as far as finances go. We are thanking the Lord for those.

I can't help but post this picture, because it's adorable. Josiah is one of the interns, and Obed, in his arms, is really, really fond of him.
One day we went out to a neighborhood and helped with bible study/food distribution. I made a friend, Lesny, who buzzed around me and asked questions, and hung on my arm for the afternoon.
Lesny also wanted to use my camera, and she took this great picture of Mom and me.