A Quick Trip to Mexico with BWOB
Updated: Jan 14
The HopeSaC Project
Mexico November 2021
Builders without Borders of Utah
Every year Builders without Borders of Utah runs a Humanitarian trip to Tijuana Mexico. This was the 13th year members of my extended family went down with the group. It was my third year. Most years the number going with the group hovers around 100. This year after, a year off thanks to Covid, there were 40 on the trip. This is me and my sister-in-law Kelly who runs the trip.
Builders is all about Building – obviously. We divided into a couple of building project groups, and everyone went to work. It is amazing what can be done in 5 days with lots of help. The house I visited had a floor added to the top of the existing structure. Before the group started the place was in pretty bad shape, basically four walls to live inside of. After five days, there were stairs leading to two bedrooms and an open space, a living area downstairs, bedroom, and kitchen with a new counter.
These trips are not only about building. We also plan other activities throughout the week. This year we offered a variety of classes held at a local church. The classes were well attended and included, tying quilts, thermal cooking, how to make yogurt, scripture marking, embroidering dishtowels, and making hair clips. We also visited and orphanage, filled and distributed Christmas stockings and assembled 75 totes of food for local families in need.
The HopeSaC Project was my focus. With the help of my new friend Maria, I taught a class on thermal cooking. The women loved the class! They understand that thermal cooking is going to save them fuel ie money. That’s the easy benefit to see with how often they cook beans. But they also realize how using the HopeSaC thermal cooker can free up their time.
The second day they stuffed their own HopeSaC thermal cooker. It was so nice to finally visit with the women as they stuffed their HopeSaCs, so often I am just there to teach and don’t get that much one on one time. In the past this is a step that has been done after I leave, it felt so much better knowing that their HopeSaCs were ready to use when they got home.
We were able to donate over 40 HopeSaC thermal cookers to the women in Tijuana thanks to the generosity of women who sewed them locally in their homes.
One of the stories that really touched me had to do with sourcing the shredded foam to stuff the HopeSaCs. We decided to try and access the shredded foam in Mexico instead of taking it down with us.
I was grateful when I heard it had been sourced but didn’t realize until we got to Mexico that it was being sourced by a man who made furniture in the area and that meant something totally different than it does here.
This man has a special place in his heart for our group, Builders without Borders of Utah. The last evening of our trip he shared his story.
He said that several years before this group had built an addition on his house, not only did they do the addition but went even farther to build a roof over an open area so that he could utilize all the space for his business.
He told us that for years he had been trying to support his family building furniture, but was really struggling. He had to build his furniture outside and the weather was a problem, if it was bad he could not work, sometimes for days. It was very difficult for him to get ahead because of this circumstance.
After the addition was added his business has thrived and he is always searching out ways to serve and mentor those in his community. He makes a difference to others just as others made a difference for him. He was so extremely grateful for what the group had done, it has literally changed every aspect of his life.
When he heard that we needed shredded foam he spent his extra hours manually cutting foam into pieces for us to use in the HopeSaCs. When I realized what he had done I was truly humbled. To me the HopeSaCs filled with the hand cut shredded foam are the ones filled with the most love, I wish I had one. I will always remember the kindness of this man and his example of what can be done when you are given a had up!