Trip Start Jun 04, 2010
Trip End Feb 08, 2011

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Where I stayed
YWAM Base, Tijuana Del Mar

Flag of Mexico  , Baja California,
Sunday, January 16, 2011

We have been experiencing the most incredibly stunning weather these past weeks... with 'winter' temperatures reaching even as high as mid to late 20C ... ahhh, the perfect way to acclimatize for the much anticipated New Zealand Summer :)

The beach is merely a 7 minute walk away from our little orange house...and such a temptingly wonderful draw card when a little time is to spare. Despite the gorgeous sunshine, the water is extremely cold and not quite so appealing for a dip. It is lovely to be able to seize the opportunity for the chance to squish your toes through the white sand though, and take a stroll down the shores edge together. I love it.

 As an official welcome to all the students taking part in the schools running here, a week or so into our time, the place was decked out in great Mexican fashion, complete with stunning cuisine and the most entertaining Mariachi Band ever -- they were first-class brilliance and had us totally captivated during the course of the evening. To polish off the celebrations, several piņatas were set up in the middle of the dining hall for some party fun. Good times!

We generally get one day 'off' each week here (on paper at least...) to rest and recoup.
One such Saturday we had the pleasure of joining the DTS group in going to the Tijuana Cultural Center then delighting in the succulent flavours of fresh Tacos, just bursting with zesty qualities.
Life-changing, as one friend put it.

Each Friday evening, an invitation is extended to indulge in the lavish generosity and hospitality of some very open-handed people, who offer their home to anyone here who would wish to come. The food is displayed in such bountiful measures that no matter how many may be crammed in to enjoy a great evening out, it is never in short supply. Games are set up in many rooms of the house and lot's of laughs are shared as we join in the fun of the evening. Apparently, who knows how many years on, this has been a tradition in this house since her children were teenagers...

Our time here continues to keep us busy right throughout each day.
After a time of all coming together for worship or intercession in the mornings, all the short-term staff (or 'Mission Builders' as they are known) meet together to discuss the happenings and schedule of the day . . .
Samuel is in high demand for all his many talents and well appreciated in being able to fix, repair and maintain things here around the base. Never a dull moment for him there! He finds it hard to keep his hands out of the sink after each meal, helping out the clean-up team whether he is on the roster or not. What a gem.
Between helping out in hospitality, organizing the teams for work duties, and helping to prepare meals, I am really loving doing the baking for the cafe. Trying to adjust to the considerable differences in ingredients here, and the lack of scope that the pantry offers certainly adds to the fun of the challenge - and often calls for the need to max out the improvisation!

There are a number of different areas of ministry that are run out of the Tijuana Del Mar base.
There are so many many families here in TJ who are unable to send their children to school due to lack of resources for travel and books etc. --  and yet just a few hours a week can make a monumental difference to the lives and future of these kids. Circulo Andante, or 'Walking Circle', is a reading and math club run by the staff here at YWAM Tijuana del Mar; with the goal of teaching the children to read and write. Two afternoons a week we pile into the 15-passenger vans and bounce along the terribly rutted dirt tracks, stopping off several times to collect a few children along the way. We pull up to the destination and coming to a halt, the doors slide open, and even in my first week the children pour in for hugs and attention. School is set up on the concrete basketball 'court' in a local community where they offer fun, brief lessons on the basics of reading and arithmetic - covering four different grade levels for as many as 70 kids that attend. The parents of these children are deeply grateful for every effort made.

The community where Circulo Andante is held has received many Homes of Hope houses - providing another contact point with the families and children that were blessed with homes. One of my friends asked a little boy there if he lived close by, somewhat assuming his family had already received a home from Homes of Hope.  He said that he didn't want to show her his house because he lived in cardboard. 
Hopefully his family will receive their home soon...

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