Apr 092014
 
Volunteer Rotarians from West Sacramento and Winters framing the house during a Rotary International house building project March 14-21 in the hills near Tijuana. A family of four is now living in the house.  (Click to enlarge. Photo courtesy of Bill Bevier/Rotary)

Volunteer Rotarians from West Sacramento and Winters framing the house during a Rotary International house building project March 14-21 in the hills near Tijuana. A family of four is now living in the house. (Click to enlarge. Photo courtesy of Bill Bevier/Rotary)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — APRIL 2, 2014 –

By Rotary Club of West Sacramento members Carol Bogart, Ken Wilson and Peter Anderson, with Rotary District 5180 Assistant Governor Judy Foote.

Four members of the Rotary Club of West Sacramento – President Mike Campbell, President-Elect Ken Wilson 2014-2015, Bill Bevier and Paul Kolarik – were joined in Tijuana, Mexico March 14 through March 21 by Winters Rotary Club member Cecil Padilla. The group’s mission: Build a house for Ricardo and Sara Vargas and their two children.

A resident pig seems to supervise the construction project. Click to enlarge. (Photo by Bill Bevier/Rotary)

A resident pig seems to supervise the construction project. Click to enlarge. (Photo by Bill Bevier/Rotary)

The Rotarians and a handful of other volunteers, some as young as 18, slept in tents during the project. Wilson said, “The tent was great, but it was very cold in the mornings.” Nighttime and early morning temperatures were in the 40s.

Although Mexico can be hot when the sun is high, only once did the daytime temperature approach 100 degrees. The construction crew benefited from daytime temperatures that largely were in the 70s.

Local professionals hired by the Rotarians poured a level concrete slab for the two-room house. Perched on the side of a steep incline, the finished house will have views of the city below and the distant mountains.

Sometimes balanced on a sawhorse wedged between the back wall of the house and the hill, the Rotarians framed walls with openings for windows. Then, they added a slanted roof. Tarpaper and chicken wired tightened up the framing. The chicken wire supported two coats of stucco.

The Vargas family owns the land – a condition for ownership of the house. The Vargas family could finish the interior of the house and paint the stucco once it dried. Built into the side of a hill, the house will last 10 to 15 years.

While in Mexico volunteering for Rotary International, the Yolo County Rotarians visited a cancer hospital founded by two young men, cancer patients who eventually lost their lives to cancer. The group also visited an orphanage.

RIGHT: Mike Campbell, Rotary Club of West Sacramento President, receives a grateful hug from Sara Vargas. Click to enlarge.  (Photo by Bill Bevier)

RIGHT: Mike Campbell, Rotary Club of West Sacramento President, receives a grateful hug from Sara Vargas. Click to enlarge.
(Photo by Bill Bevier)

Over spring break, student volunteers from various colleges will be arriving at the site to build more houses for thankful families.

Before the Vargas family got its new house, the four were subsisting in a tiny hovel made of salvaged materials from a dump. Padilla gave the mother the first of four blankets, Wilson says, and when he did, “she was so thankful she cried and cried.”

As the volunteers told the gathered Rotarians about their trip, it was clear these men found the family’s gratitude very moving.

For more information about Rotary International’s worldwide projects and missions, visit www.rotary5180.org. For information about Rotary Club of West Sacramento (one of two local chapters), go to www.rotaryclubofwestsacramento.org or look for the club on Facebook.

With Tijuana in the background, the happy Vargas family poses for a photo with the Rotary volunteers who built their new house. LEFT TO RIGHT: Rotary Club of West Sacramento members Bill Bevier and Paul Kolarik; West Sacramento Rotary President-elect Ken Wilson holding one of four blankets the group gave the family; the Vargas daughters, Winters Rotary Club member Cecil “Pancho” Padilla, Sara Vargas and Rotary Club of West Sacramento President Mike Campbell. Two donated blankets were made by members of the Rotary-sponsored Interact Club at West Sacramento’s River City High School in West Sacramento.  Click to enlarge.  (Photo by Ricardo Vargas)

With Tijuana in the background, the happy Vargas family poses for a photo with the Rotary volunteers who built their new house. LEFT TO RIGHT: Rotary Club of West Sacramento members Bill Bevier and Paul Kolarik; West Sacramento Rotary President-elect Ken Wilson holding one of four blankets the group gave the family; the Vargas daughters, Winters Rotary Club member Cecil “Pancho” Padilla, Sara Vargas and Rotary Club of West Sacramento President Mike Campbell. Two donated blankets were made by members of the Rotary-sponsored Interact Club at West Sacramento’s River City High School in West Sacramento. Click to enlarge.
(Photo by Ricardo Vargas)

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Steve Marschke

Steve Marschke