Monday, August 27, 2012

Have You Ever Slept On A Dirt Floor?

I haven't, even when I've gone camping, I got a cozy sleeping bag and the protective bottom of a tent liner. 
The picture of the family below has only ever known sleeping on cardboard boxes on a dirt floor. 
This post is about my recent trip to Mexico.
My journey gave me back so much more then I could ever give to this family.

 I was one of 24 people that helped build a home for this hard working family trying to make a better life for children.

 I like nice things, clothes, Egyptian cotton sheets, a new car, vacations, etc. 
Who doesn't?   
All the luxuries and non-necessities are nice, don't get me wrong, but this trip was another reality check of just how incredibly lucky and blessed I am.
Mostly, I'm just lucky that I was born in the United States and not 100 miles south. 

I thank God everyday for the roof over my family's head,
but I thank him a little more after this recent trip.
John Rose, the Pastor of our church Rancho Vista,  started an organization called Baja Bound many years ago.  The mission of Baja Bound is to build homes for the working poor of Baja California.  John is a husband, father of two, baseball and softball coach to his kid's teams, and somehow he still finds time for this worthy cause. 

He and his non- profit volunteer organization take church groups from all over the United States down to Mexico to help the poorest of the poor locals in need.
It was our church's turn and I was privileged enough to get to go this time.

Ensenada is about an hour and half drive south of the San Diego.
I haven't been down to Mexico in years.
I forgot how beautiful the coast line is. 
Think La Jolla minus all the buildings.

 We stayed in two large, "rustic," dorm style houses just south of Ensenada.
Another reminder of how good I have it back home.

The family we built the house for are field workers. 
They have saved for seven years to buy a little plot of land to call their own. 
Grandma uses a walker, but still works in the fields picking vegetables.

The family lived in a 15' x 15' home constructed of cardboard boxes. 
The floors are dirt and the roof is a paint tarp. 
I can't even imagine what it's like to live in this when it's cold and raining.
This is their outdoor kitchen/living/bathing area.
There is no running water, electricity, or plumbing.

I will never look at flat screen TV boxes and paint tarps the same way again.

There are so many families living like this in Mexico.
Working hard to provide for their families.

You can't imagine their joy at being chosen to get a new home.
The children were ready to help paint.

They took pride at being able to help with the building process.

The family picked the paint colors.
They have four little girls, so pink was the perfect choice.

Most of my contribution took place on the roof.
That's me on the far right.
Not my best look, but all for a good cause.
I met some incredible people on the trip. 
You form a quick bond all working for a common cause

My feet kept sliding off the tar paper so I stretched out on my belly while someone braced the ladder for my feet from below. 
We all worked as a team.

The father joined in with the construction when he returned after picking vegetables in the field all day. 
Here he is on the ladder handing up the tar shingles. 
I have a new respect for professional roofers, it's really HOT up there!


The mom and her darling little girls watched expectantly as their new home was constructed.

Their local Pastor led the house dedication and blessing.
The family was so appreciative and grateful for their new home. 
They made us a huge meal as a "thank you" for all our hard work.
 I can't imagine how much money was cut out of their monthly food budget to feed all 24 of us?

There was no better sound then hearing the children giggling and playing in the loft after we had finished their new home
No more sleeping in the dirt. 
No more living in mud when it rains.

No more drafty, cold, winter nights. 

This is a new beginning for a very deserving family.
As much as we were able to give to this family,
the payback to all of us involved was

I am forever changed by it.
If I ever forget how privileged, lucky, blessed, etc. I am, please kick me in the head and tell me to snap out of it!
 I wish them many years of health and happiness in their new home!
We are going back in September to add insulation and drywall. 
We didn't have enough funds to get that part of the house done on this trip.
I can't wait to go back and bring my girls this time. 
Thanks for checking it out. 


  1. Bless your dear heart and bless that lovely family.

    I love that their new house is pink!!! I am looking forward to your next trip to see the drywall go up.

    Shannon, please consider removing the captcha code to leave a comment, I'm on my 4th try now :(

  2. Wow! It sounds like an amazing opportunity! God bless you for doing that. :)

  3. Lovely, Shannon! I was so glad you joined us, and gald it was a positive experience for you.

  4. oh my...tears of joy while reading this post. just precious! I love the color!

  5. Just think, if every American family did something like this! Just once. So many lives would be enriched on both sides of the equation. Such a lesson in perspective and values. Hugs and kisses all around.

  6. Thanks so much for sharing all the photos. Fantastic job. I don't know that I could've endured the heat on the roof. so glad you could. Hope you get some good sleep tonight.

  7. Shannon - that's lovely - bless you for your kindness!

  8. This is so wonderful, Shannon...and something so incredibly worthwhile.
    Their smiles say it all, don't they?
    I love your big, caring heart.
    Can't wait to hear what the girls think.
    xxx, Tina


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