January found us still at Way of the Cross, but this month would differ from the last few months – we would be working here as SOWERS along with four other couples. We had been parked alone in the middle of the RV spots, so a few days before the group leader (GL) arrived on January 3rd we moved to a spot at the end that would leave the most access to hook-ups for the other rigs that showed up.
On January 3rd the GL arrived and chose a spot and on Friday the rest of the SOWER couples arrived and got settled. One couple had an additional person with them for the first week and he was a welcome addition to the men’s work force.
The primary project for the month was to convert a 20 foot by 64 foot tractor barn to a dorm to be used by groups that come down to do short-term mission projects into Mexico. This involved re-doing the wiring and adding insulation, sheet rock, and a suspended ceiling. More than enough work to keep the men busy for a month or more.
The ladies did office work, tutored at the school, worked at the warehouse and made curtains for the chapel.
Group outings included a trip to Neuvo Progreso one Saturday and attending the Rio Grande Valley RV show the next Saturday as well as several trips to various restaurants.
During the Big Feed, Juanita noticed the camera was not acting right. She changed the batteries and when that didn’t help assumed that they had been recharged too long ago. The first Saturday of the New Year we went for a drive which included a shop and some sight seeing. When we went to take pictures of the end of the road it became very obvious that the camera had more than battery problems. It could show previous pictures on the card, but only showed what was in the lens intermittently, if at all.
Since we needed a digital picture of the shop receipt we needed a camera that night. We stopped at a Wal-Mart and looked at cameras. They had one we liked, but only the display model. We started a saga of Wal-Mart stores that began in Port Isabel and continued through two stores in Brownsville and on to Harlingen. The second store in Brownsville had phoned the San Benito store and they had none of that model. They also tried phoning the Harlingen store and nobody answered the phone. So we drove to Harlingen and checked. No joy. We tried a Target store, a Radio Shack and an Office Depot. No joy. Then we decided to drive to the San Benito store and see if they still had our second choice – one that I had happened to look at the day before when we weren’t really in the market for a new camera. When we got to the San Benito store we went to the camera department and looked at the case and they did have our first choice both on display and in the glass case below. We asked the clerk to get us one. She came out scanned the display model and said, “Sorry, none in stock.” Juanita said, “Yes, there are. Look!” The clerk looked surprised, but was willing to believe her eyes over the scanner and sold us a camera, a case and a memory card.
Outreach to Matamoros
One rainy, cold Friday two WOTC staffers took a van load of SOWERS over to Matamoros. We handed out blankets and food to people who survive on what they can find going through the trash at the Matamoros dump. There is a slightly more extensive write-up on dump life in our February 2007 update.
After that we drove around trying not to get stuck on the muddy streets, dropped off some stuff for a pastor and then went out to lunch at a Paradilla (grill).
In February we plan to go up to Houston for a weekend and meet up with Juanita’s two sisters who live in Houston and with Juanita’s sister, Shirley, who is planning on flying in from California.
Our February SOWERS project starts February 4th at the Texas Baptist Encampment in Palacios, Texas. We are due to show up there on February 1 and plan on leaving Way of the Cross on January 28th or 29th hoping to see the King Ranch Museum and a museum in Corpus Christi and maybe check out Victoria, Texas. We’ll let you know what happened.