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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Reynosa, Mexico

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Reynosa, Mexico
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kgun815



Registered: December 2009
City/Town/Province: Gail
Posts: 1
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Mex-Eco
My name is Kagan, and I am currently a senior. I choose to participate in ecology-friendly projects because I respect the earth and am deeply moved by its blessings and beauty. Every year, I try to do something that will significantly impact the earth and help others, too. In 2008 I took a trip with my youth group to Reynosa, Mexico. Our goal was to improve the environment by utilizing residential water conservation techniques.
Water in Reynosa is scarce. About six percent of the Reynosa population does not have potable water. The people store whatever water they can get their hands on in containers that are not meant for that; therefore, the water creates serious health threats. We were told by the missionaries that many times, the children at The Big Heart Orphanage would be showering, and the water would quit dripping midway through, leaving soap in their hair and on their bodies. The water supply was so limited that surrounding neighbors would stand at the doors of the orphanage and beg for water from their Reverse Osmosis system that an American church had contributed. The RO system would filter water, but where there is no water, it was useless. There was a plan in place for this elaborate water storage system but no money to build it.
I made the decision to go and regardless of the conditions, I felt like I could make a difference. I went with a group of teens and four adults. We arrived, and the next morning, we received our assignments. We would shovel dig a 10 feet deep by 10 feet wide hole to place a huge storage device in. The gutter system was repaired to allow for collection of the water into the storage system. The water would run off of the buildings into the tank and be pumped into the orphanage. I soon realized that things in Mexico are different when my brother asked, “How are we going to get the dirt out of the hole once it starts getting deep?” The reply was “With buckets.” A group had been there before us and had gotten a good start on the hole. We dug and dug. It was hard work, and it was hot! However, we finished the hole, and then we poured concrete in the bottom and prepared it for the tank. The children were happy about having water for showers and laundry but, when they were told that there would be a special system that would allow the grass on their little playground to be kept green they were ecstatic! That meant the big tree that they climed in would live, and the birds would return. The geckos would return, and the kids could lie and watch the sky. Their playground was where they seem to be freed from the stress of their real lives, and they were transformed into laughing, smiling normal looking kids.
While we were there, we also pruned the plants native to their land, mostly drought tolerant flowering bushes which include: blackbrush, lotebush, honey mesquite, and elbowbush. There were gutters that would divert water to a courtyard area that had the potential for plush green grass that would become an inviting habitat to some of Mexico’s natural occurring plants and animals.
I believe that the project made a great difference in the daily lives of the orphans in their hygiene, infection control, nutrition, and hydration. However, I believe the biggest difference will be the place that they get to play. Whether frolicking with their security Pit Bull, Guapo, or just lying in the sun, their happy place will remain among the trees, singing birds, and soft green grass. Environmental advantages are also apparent. The daily soft rains will be tamed to provide for a need too great for an economically suppressed orphanage to obtain without our labor of love.
The conditions that I endured taught me to give of myself unconditionally. The kids had nothing to give back of monetary value, so they put on a puppet show for us that was just priceless! They obviously had tried hard to learn their lines in English. It was adorable! They were so without, yet had so much. They taught me so much about having nothing and yet having it all! I hope that we replenished an endangered eco-system, even if it was in just a square mile radius. The children will be able to play again, and I believe it will make a huge difference to a neighborhood of desert. Our intentions were to perform a water conservation stewardship program. However, because they had gone without, they did not waste water. As a result, we learned how to be better stewards of our water, too!
Date: December 28, 2009 Views: 6041 File size: 82.5kb, 193.0kb : 627 x 728
Hours Volunteered: 900
Volunteers: 18
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 & 14 to 40
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 0.4
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