August 8, 2003

Carlsbad Hi-Noon Rotary Builds a House in Tijuana

Carlsbad Hi-Noon Rotarian, Al Wanamaker, under the aegis of Project Mercy, led a team of Rotarians to Tijuana to construct an entire house in one day on a completed foundation for the Alatorrre family. Carlsbad Hi-Noon Rotary also, donated $2,600.00 for materials.

Project Mercy’s goal is to help improve basic living standards and quality of life for impoverished families living in poor health conditions in shantytowns east of Tijuana, Mexico. When parents leave for work, children under 6 years of age stay home alone so Club Mercy is also building a Day Care Center to care for these children, without care or supervision where they are exposed to dangerous situations. Children have been assaulted, burned and even killed in fires, and hurt in accidents. This center will enable parents, especially single ones, to work outside the home.

Rotarians raising a wall.

Mike Pfankuch, European Summer Exchange Camp Chair, led the crew in how to cut, saw, nail and finally raise the walls. “Hands on,” time consuming labor, was given by Dave Kulchin, past president, Mike and Diana Bardin and son Michael, Bud Carroll, Don Hoyt, at the age of 77, Gil Marcotte (loaned the equipment), “Sawman” Clint Voltmer, and volunteer, Steve Geist, law student from UCSD, together with other law students.

Martin Alatorre (age 25), his wife Alejandrina Meda Palacios (22), and their three children, Andrea 6, Juana 4, and Leonardo 2, moved into their new home as soon as it was finished and even before the Rotarians left. Alatorre is a mason, earning $60 per week. The family pays nothing for the house but, they must be in the process of buying the lot from the government (between $3,500 and $4,000). They, also, participate in the “sweat equity” labor by helping to level land and set the foundation slabs of their neighbor’s houses and their own and finally they help in the construction phase. The family must help on at least 3 other neighborhood houses. 

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