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Experience of a Lifetime! Mexico International March, 2008

Feature Story by Terrie Vacek
Contributions by Carolyn Malik

The Lenten Sacrifice of ‘Unity and Love’ by Texas CDA members Libby Ramirez, Duchess Collins, Carolyn Bachmann, Eve Trevino and Carolyn Malik

Eighteen enthusiastic Catholic Daughters, Family and friend traveled to Mexico City on March 15, 2008 from various areas of the United States to participate in a once in a lifetime experience assisting with the Habitat for Humanity home construction in Mexico.

Participating were: National Regent Claudia Bosch and husband Jim from South Dakota; National Regent-Elect Libby Ramirez from Victoria, Texas; National Secretary Treasurer & National Habitat for Humanity Chairman, Shirley Seyfried with husband Dave and Son Dan from Minnesota; National Director Duchess Collins from Sugar Land, Texas; Texas State Regent Carolyn Bachmann from Scotland; Minnesota State Regent Kathy Kennedy and husband Fred; Second Vice State Regent Carolyn Malik from Shiner, Texas; Texas State Treasurer Eve Trevino from Corpus Christi; Minnesota State Treasurer Margee Keller and husband Walt; Linsay Jenson, Habitat for Humanity-AmeriCorps VISTA from Minnesota; Bob and Louise Van Leeuwe, local court Regent from Marshall, Minnesota; and Tina Quinomes, CDA member from Marshall, Minnesota. Habitat personnel assisting us daily were Jim from Canada, Megan from Los Angeles, California, and Tanya from Habitat Mexico.

“What a humbling experience!” said Malik. Scratching concrete off brick walls, breaking and chipping bricks, carrying concrete in buckets for the roofs, installing plumbing fixtures, cutting Styrofoam for the roof/ceilings, pulling electrical casings for electricity, mixing cement, sifting sand, building walls, shoveling dirt and gravel including hauling material in wheelbarrows!

These tasks were all part of the 2008 excursion to remote villages south of Mexico City for the four day Lenten Build with Habitat for Humanity Mexico DF in Pahuacan and Ayapanga.

Bachmann, Trevino and Malik arrived in Mexico City and were met by Collins who had been left waiting at the airport for over three hours due to confusion with her arrival schedule. Pablo was also there with his BIG Habitat sign to welcome us and eventually take the group to the Tulip Inn Ritz hotel for the night.

After attending Palm Sunday Mass and services the following day, the CDA volunteers began their journey to Amecameca, their home for the next five days. Amecameca is situated in the valley of the Sierra Mountains south of Mexico City with a population of approximately 60,000.

Two volcanoes, Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl tower over the city and surround it. On one side is Iztaccihuatl and watching over her is Popocatepetl. They say ‘Popo‘ is inactive, however volunteers were reminded daily of the reality and magnitude of a volcano by the constant bellow of steam.