Los Gatos UMC Makes a Difference in Mexico
By Dave Wolf
San Jose District Coordinator for UMVIM
(excerpts published April 21, 2008, in the
In what has become a tradition, youth from
The youth participated on all levels of the construction – and in fact took the lead with the plumbing and did much of the electrical work, with adult supervision. (The lights went on!) Karen Noe, youth minister Alex Hardt, and I headed the team, while Mike Parker and Chris Munson were foremen for at the respective homes. A local carpenter worked with us, and delicious dinners were provided by Senora Francis Jackson, who helps coordinate this and many other projects for the poor in the community.
The 240 sq. ft. homes, first designed by Jim Horne in January of 2001, consist of a kitchen area with a fine wooden sink counter manufactured by Jim's company; a bath with shower; a sleeping area; and a small sleeping loft for children. The paint schemes run from gray to radiant pink. The two homes just completed stand on the high hills east of town, one with a view of the ocean in the distance. The homes now cost about $3,500 each to build and the front door key is handed to the new owners after only four and a half days of construction (on an already-in-place pad). The new owner families work side by side with the
There has been discussion about changing the construction style from wood frame to concrete block, which might be a less expensive material and is certainly more durable. The suggestion is to have local labor construct the block walls, with volunteer teams doing the roofing, electrical and plumbing, and completing the interior. The volunteers would also do the painting, both exterior and interior. New plans will have to be drawn up if this change-over in approach is adopted.
Over the last eight years, the
The town has warmly greeted the volunteers and has been enhanced not only by the homes, but also by construction of a kindergarten, senior center, and a 10-plex which now includes a medical clinic. The Delgado (an official similar to a county supervisor), the chief of police, and other officials joined us at our last dinner in Colonet in April and expressed their appreciation.
Several families are waiting in line for future homes, to be constructed by groups from our Conference wanting to lend a hand and receive the warm hospitality of the people of Colonet. Will one of those teams come from your church?