by Brian Beaumont (from January/February Briefs)
My son and BPYG alumnus, Xander, invited me to join him on his third trip to Maneadero, Baja California, Mexico, to build a “tiny home” for a family in need – a team-building and “giving back” event for his firm in San Diego. That’s right, my son invited me on a company event with his colleagues. This was the first of several surprises over a three-day weekend. Similar to Wednesday Night Dinner ministry, building a tiny home with Baja Bound ministry is just the tip of the iceberg of what it takes to support these migrant farm workers not welcome across our border: https://www.facebook.com/bajaboundbuilds/.
We arrived at the job site on steep muddy dirt roads outside Ensenada. A young couple with their baby greeted us and ran alongside the road to a level patch of land on a hillside next to a plywood lean-to. This family, making around $5.00 per day working the fields, had qualified for a loan and bought this land through Baja Bound, and was now ready for us to build their home on a slab of concrete after they had carried stones for a retaining wall and filled it with dirt. The construction was efficient with 15 volunteers painting, sawing and hammering along with a local foreman and hired worker. Two nights before, this family slept in mud. This was what I had expected from Xander’s Facebook posts years prior. The next morning expanded my horizons.
We started the day at Campo de Esperanza, or Fields of Hope: https://www.facebook.com/campo.esperanza/. This partner organization of Baja Bound started a generation ago teaching Spanish to indigenous people from Mexico and Central America and providing needed services and education to reduce child labor and provide hope. I learned that, like in the US, indigenous people are easily identified by their darker skin and hair, attire and native dialect. As in our country, they are not treated as well as those with European heritage speaking the language of the country. Put simply, they are exploited.
We served an auditorium filled with children and women, a breakfast of chicken, cabbage, root vegetables, broth and tortillas while the men worked in the fields. We delivered and distributed donated food, clothing and toys to many smiling and grateful kids. None of these children were separated from their parents in cages, but were loved, educated, exercised and taught the love of Jesus, all very economically. No kids died ignored due to lack of medical attention in detention cells like in the US. This makes me weep. I am convinced ministries like Baja Bound and Campo de Esperanza are better equipped than we are in the US to care for these families and for far less money. I will be back. If you would like to join me, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.