with Elizabeth H, DTS student
Our team was prepared for scorching Mexican heat. What we got instead were three days of nearly constant rain. It didn't take long to see what the heavy rains could do to the dirt roads and houses built on sandy soil in Juarez.
The Summer DTS — Children at Risk and Community Development tracks — have been in Mexico for six weeks now. In Juarez, we split into groups to do needed maintenance around the mission center, to work at Rancho los Amigos (the children's home), and to serve at the local soup kitchen, El Comedor.
The rain definitely kept things “exciting,” especially as our team headed out for work projects.
Many of the roads to El Comedor had been turned into rivers from flash floods, so we took the pick up truck. Most of us rode in the back as rain soaked us until the truck jerked to a stop! A road up ahead washed out and the muddy water/sewage rushed by us. We all climbed out of the truck on the high side when some of our neighbors towed us graciously out!
Later that day the projects team returned to the washed out road and helped some of the locals dam it up and divert the water into an underground drainage system. It was a great opportunity to meet our neighbors and bond over the minor local crisis. Initially they wouldn't ask for help. But we watched them carefully and jumped in once we saw what was needed. We could tell they appreciated our care and the fact that we were making ourselves part of the community. Later, we were able to take some debris over to them for further damming, and the water was successfully diverted from the road into a drainage system.
While we (the community) have not yet had the resources to fix the road, by working together with the community, the DTS helped to prevent more damage from occurring, and we were able to show the neighborhood that we consider ourselves part of the community here.
While the rain provided some adventure, it also underscored for us some of the needs here. The rain caused significant damage to the buildings, collapsing parts of the ceilings in addition to creating many leaks in the roofs. Our team at Rancho experienced first hand what the children go through every time it rains. We were also able to help a family move some of their items into storage while repairs were made to the damage done by the rain.