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.
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.
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.
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