Days 3-5 in Tijuana..in extreme brevity.
Well, I skipped day 2 because all we did, really, was stuff bags of dried goods. It was nice because it felt a lot more like we were doing something and we could see the results, but it wasn’t very exciting either. So onto days 3-5.
These days we went back to Banati’s old site that they had moved from. We had caught wind that they needed help cleaning up there, so we mozzied ourselves over there and did what we could. To be frank, the place was covered with layers of gross dirt and human waste, rotten vegetables, and most noticeably, sour leche (milk). Our job was to empty as much of the sour milk into the drains to get rid of it. But because the drain system is so bad in Tijuana, we had to squish the curds through a strainer to make sure it didn’t clog.
The flies were horrendous. In fact, I feel that by far they were the worst part of working there. The smell could be overwhelming, but God forbid you catching a fly in your mouth. Ew. Just gross. We had face masks, and when we bought them we had the intention that they would be for keeping dust from getting into our mouths, perhaps dilute the smell a bit. By the end, I was thankful to have a mask so that I could breathe out of my nose and mouth without fear of catching a fly. It was literally like walking through a waterfall of flies in certain areas. Sooooo gross.
I can’t describe to you very well how much milk we threw away. We emptied one extremely large walk-in refrigerator that was stacked high (like, extremely high) with milk cartons. We did a lot of work. And that was pretty much all we did for days 3-5. We had contact with more workers, which was really good. We found out later that only one of them was paid staff, and the others were all men from drug rehab working their community hours. They were really nice, and one of them, Jose-Luis, was such a sweetheart. More often than not, he would not let the girls carry the crates of milk from the fridge to the kitchen area. He’d stop them, indicate that they’d hurt their backs if they carried them, and indicated he would take them. It was cute, but also detrimental to him, in many ways. Honestly, our girls had no problem carrying them, but at the rate we were disposing of the milk, we needed to bring a lot at a time. So in taking the crates of milk from them, he overworked himself and was visibly strained at the end of our first day. It looked like his arms would give out on him every time he brought in more milk. He was still a sweetheart, though. Very kind, and though I spoke not a work of Spanish, our attempts to communicate worked well. All the teens really got on well with him, and I think that was in part because they saw that he was willing to pour himself out to help them in doing this task, so they in turn felt grateful for the gift of himself he was giving.
Anyway, I think this topic will have to end here, as it’s been over a month (nearly two!) since this trip. I have a slide show the teens made up for the trip, and if I am at all able to figure out how to put it up, I’ll link it. Anyone have any clues if I can do that with Blogger?
I’m taking off to San Francisco for a week, I may update, I may not. Celia was here for 4 days just this last week, and we went to Disneyland, so I’d like to post that somehow soon. I’m trying to keep this up better :D.