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View on Mexico: Jennifer Louise Barron
Most people around the United States don't know a whole lot about Mexico and there living conditions. So I decided to interview a good friend of mine that had went on a Mexico Mission Trip and get the word out about the life style and living conditions in some parts of Mexico. Maybe you'll even be surprised on what you read.
What is your full name?
Jennifer Louise Barron
What year were you born?
I was born July 19th, 1981, and am 26 years old.
How many siblings do you have and what are their names?
I have 8 siblings. There are 4 boys and 4 girls. There names are Tim, Dan, John, Mike, Christine, Debra, Cara, and Kathy.
Do you have any goals in life and if so, what are they?
Yes I do have goals in life. I actually have 3 main ones. The first goal was to take a mission trip, my second goal is to start a family and my third goal is to find a career in marketing.
You said your goal was to take a mission trip. So did you and where did you go?
Yes I did, I planned a missions trip to Mexico back in August 2007. There were 14 people. There were 4 kids ages 12, 13, 14, and 15. The other 10 of us were adults.
How long was your trip and did you fly or drive?
Our trip was 8 days long from Saturday August 4th to Saturday August 11th.We drove to Texas and then across the border to Juarez, Mexico.
What part of Mexico did you stay at and what was the purpose of your trip?
We went to Juarez, as I had mentioned a few minutes ago, and the purpose of the trip was to build a cafeteria for a Christian school because the buildings were too small and they didn't have a proper place for the kids to eat and enjoy their food.
How much was the cost of the trip all together?
Each person contributed 400 dollars of their own money and 300 dollars of each person's money was used for the building and 100 for gas and food. So the total came to 4,200 dollars.
What were the materials used to build this cafeteria?
The materials were hammers, nails, chicken wire, wood, concrete, windows, doors, stucco, paint, tar paper, and we also donated three ceiling fans for the building for each of the three rooms. Its so hot down there and they don't have fans in there otherwise. We also bought the tape and the mud for them to do themselves. They finish that part of the project themselves and they also painted the building after we left.
Did you have to build this cafeteria on your own or did you have someone directing you?
Yes, we mostly built the cafeteria on our own but we had a Casas por Criesto ( houses for Christ ) family helping guide and direct us on what needed to be done. The family consisted of four family members. Kristy, Rob, Kody who is nine, and Kelsey who is six. Rob has been a contractor for years and was the main person directing the cafeteria build.
What were the conditions like at the area that you had built the cafeteria?
The conditions were very poor in the area that we built. Their bathrooms are out houses, and the school rooms have cement floors and are always filled with dust. The rooms were built by another Casas Por Cristo group and need some more work done on them. The cafeteria that we built is not connected to any of the other buildings. It stands alone. This also is a cafeteria that will be used by a hundred families in the community. We separated it into three small rooms so that each grade would have a place to eat. There are so many gang members down there so they try to keep the kids separated so there aren't any problems.
Overall what were some differences that you saw in Mexico then that of the United States?
Some differences that we saw were their way of disposing garbage, the way they drive, and their overall living conditions. They dispose of their garbage in the open fields. Its very disturbing to see all of that junk covering the land. I couldn't believe it when I saw it. It looks horrible. Also, the houses are about the size of a shack. Very small. And most of them are built of what ever materials they can find. A lot of them do not even have electricity and if they do, it's stolen from another power source. The houses are so bad that to have a Casas Por Cristo house built is a huge blessing. There are hundreds of families on waiting lists to have houses built for them. We even had a lady show up at the work site wondering if she could talk to someone about turning in an application for a house. It's very sad to think about all of those families that need real houses.
Was this trip a life changing event for you?
This trip was definitely a life changing event. It made me think of all those times I ever complained about not having enough or something being too small. I realized that i should never complain about theses things because I am so blessed to have what I do have. Even the water down there was cold. They had no hot or warm water. I came back feeling very humbled by everything that I saw and did. Those people down there are so amazing and so happy even though they don't have nearly what we have. Overall, I felt that the trip was very successful for everyone that went and also for the people down there. Casas Por Cristo has built 300 homes and are contributing to build even more. I wish them all the best of luck for the rest of the year and years to come. And I would also love to do this again. Thanks also to you Brett for interviewing me and getting out the word about Casas Por Cristo.