flag above Home Depot
We traveled along the free road out of Tijuana
to Tecate. I watched the landscape pass by, the signs in Spanish, the homes with tiled roofs, Mexican flags waving proudly, some dairy farms, hills covered in huge boulders. The Club Dust guy pointed out the road that leads to our worksite. We made a turn across two lanes of traffic and headed up a hill. We held our breath at one spot when the steepness of the hill caused the bus to slow down significantly but we made it through. A few twists and we were turning into the Rancho La Paloma, Dove Ranch. The bus parked in the lower section near the Warehouse. From here we headed across a terrace (that later I would discover was a basketball court) to the bunkhouse.
homes on a hill
The lower level was called family style, mixed gender. The upper level was divided between the Maiden's Quarters (we were following a Monty Python theme: The Search for the Holy Nail) and whatever the guys' side was called. Pat helped me with my suitcase for which I was very grateful. The Riva ladies filled up the main room for women, 7 bunks. I had a top bunk above Jenn. We set up our beds and soon it was time for dinner and then a group meeting down in the warehouse. Here Randy laid out the ground rules again and introduced the different groups: houses, church, donations/VBS, kitchen, furniture. Each group had a leader who had to come up on stage and receive the med kit. To my big surprise when Randy reached the donations/VBS group, he announced a blond lady named Heidi for donations and then stumbled over the VBS person--Maddie? Maggie? Josh, help me out!.
From the back of the warehouse, Josh yells, "Meredith!" Apparently since I speak Spanish, I have become the de facto VBS leader since Pastor Joey had an emergency and could not make the trip. So a bit surprised, I made my way up to the stage where I met Heidi and took possession of our med kit (which would have limited use over the next few days, thank goodness!). After the meeting, most of us return to the bunkhouse for bedtime. Jenn did the math; many members of our group have been up for close to 22 hours at this point!