Hands Across The Border

Cooperation between the people of two nations still goes on and there’s no room for partisan politics

One fact is true anywhere in the world: There are good people everywhere. And good people have at least one thing in common: They want everyone in their community to be healthy, happy and free from suffering, and where there is suffering, they will reach out their hands to help.

Here in Mexico, volunteers from other countries work with the local citizens to make life better for those in need. These mutual assistance programs abound all over Baja in the form of shelters and orphanages. One excellent example of such cooperation among nations is Albergue Las Memorias in Tijuana.

Las Memorias Hostel is a non-profit civil association founded in TJ in January of 1999. Its objective is to offer aid and assistance to adults and minors who suffer from alcohol and drug addictions, as well as to those suffering from complications of the HIV/AIDS virus. Members of the residents’ families are also offered guidance and assistance in dealing with the heartbreak of their loved ones’ difficulties.

The administrators and volunteers who staff the shelter provide quality care, compassion, and a nurturing environment to the residents. Educational seminars offer critical information to encourage prevention of HIV/AIDS, as well as intervention in severe cases of substance abuse.

Beyond the ongoing daily work of helping the residents cope with their current situations, the association envisions strengthening, improving and expanding the existing facility, as well as working with others to establish new shelters and offices wherever needed, to provide care and counseling to improve the quality of life for everyone who comes to them in need.

Las Memorias Hostel does not discriminate, and opens its doors to anyone, regardless of socio-economic status, religion or sex, regardless of ethnicity or country of origin. It just aims to provide a dignified and respectful level of service to anyone in need by offering housing assistance, food, medical services, transportation to and from medical institutions, counseling and self-help sessions.

There is no charge to residents who come to the shelter in desperation. The hostel is supported primarily by public donations, but grants from the state government help to keep the facility operational.

Las Memorias also supports other institutions whose aim it is to offer compassionate assistance to human beings in need. It offers its support with no expectation of reward and does not coerce or even encourage its residents to adopt the principles or tenets of any political or religious enterprise.

Reverend Jerri Handy, a mission volunteer since June 1, 2015, noted that one of the recent projects undertaken by the staff and residents of the hostel was the installation of solar panels on the roof of the 32,284 square-foot building housing the residents. He said that there are currently at least 120 inhabitants, and although they all have access to clean showers, they previously had no hot water due to lack of funds for the electricity to heat a large water heater. The solar panel project was initiated by an MCC Church group supported by Global Ministries. He asked for public support as well to help the continuation and completion of this project, called “Las Memorias Hostel Solar Empowerment Project.’

The long-term benefits of the installation of the solar panels are numerous:

With an economical and environmentally-friendly source of electricity, Albergue Las Memorias can offer its residents training in the use of power tools, giving them the opportunity to learn useful trades such as carpentry and mechanics;

The electricity generated may also be used to power pumps  providing water for on-site  gardens, giving the residents the opportunity to grow their own healthy, organic food;

The aforementioned benefit of powering a large water heater;

The savings of at least $2,000 in electric costs during the summer months to provide air conditioning to the facility.

Recently, the Gay Men’s Chorus of San Diego held a fundraiser and, food and clothing donations drive to accumulate goods to be delivered to the hostel. Also, Loews Coronado Bay Resort donated a pallet of goods for the same purpose. Among other organizations providing support to the shelter were the Imperial Court de San Diego and Hillcrest’s University Christian Church.

The governments of nations may sometimes be at odds with each other, but universally, people are people, and wherever there is a need, good people will rise to the occasion. ,

David Beyer

Author: David Beyer

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