The Kitchen is In!

You all are absolutely the BEST! Thank you for your generosity in making it possible for us to build a Home for Juan Manuel!

In our last post to you we showed you the newly painted outside of the house with its doors and windows in place, including several videos. Today I am happy to report that we have a working kitchen installed, using donated wooden cabinet doors and a steel sink and building a base around them for kitchen storage and a counter to cook on. Woot woot! We also have water and electricity functioning in the house! Zata has built a very basic back patio using extra block and gravel, where a hose bib and donated washboard will be installed so Juan Manuel and Don Rodolfo can wash their clothes and the water will run off or soak in rather than make mud. Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

A good friend of mine has offered to donate a brand new refrigerator. Fingers crossed! So, all we seem to be missing are:

  •  A small boiler for hot water—might you know someone who has one???
  • And two single beds (a trundle bed would be ideal) or at least single mattresses, as anything larger will not fit in this very small home.

Please help if you can. Ways to donate to support this project are listed at the bottom of the very first post in the series.

Once the above projects are finished, we still need to paint the interior. Some work remains on the septic tank as well.

My hope is that next time I write to you it will be to invite you to the masked and socially distanced celebration at which we hand over the keys to the home’s new owners! Bless you all!!!

A House That Looks Like a House

Following is an update on the House for Juan Manuel. To read the first article and learn more about this exciting project, click here.

As the final days of work on the house are upon us, things are moving quickly.

All of the contracted work is completed and paid for. We have also completed and paid for a few things we did not anticipate, including a very expensive connection to electrical service. But life is what it is. All that is left now are some housekeeping issues and the kitchen completion.

To give you some context, we have uploaded some videos to YouTube. Apologies that my voice is muffled due to my mask, and the video from the roof has a lot of wind noise.

The interior video gives you an idea of what a four by six meter house looks like. We are finalizing how to approach the kitchen in the most economical way possible to ensure that there is a flat surface to place a stove top, a place for a microwave, flat surface for prep work and storage for food and kitchen wares. The interior walls have been sealed and await a coat of paint next week.

The exterior video highlights a wonderful paint job by Yolanda and two volunteers, Marie-Anne and Martin Glaude. Second coat to follow next week. You can also see the area where we are going to make a crude laundry wash station from some leftover concrete blocks, leftover gravel and a donated wash basin. We are also, fingers crossed, going to get some fill dirt that will compress nicely to clean up the entrance to the home.

Here are some photos of the painting team in action:

The video from the roof puts in perspective the location of the home relation to the parts of Mazatlan most of us know well and provides an idea of the surrounding area.

In watching the videos, there are some things I would like to point out that show just how many different ways we benefited from the larger Mazatlan community. You will see:

  • A tinaco on the roof which was donated
  • All of the windows were donated (we paid for the iron bars that protect them)
  • The front door was donated and we paid to have it resized. There we also got the ceiling fan, light switches and outlets.
  • The iron door in back was donated and modified to fit.
  • The kitchen sink was donated.
  • The bathroom sink, toilet and shower head were donated

This in addition to all the pesos we received to cover construction and materials costs. We are so grateful, as are Don Rudolfo and Juan Manuel.

We are currently using all our networks to source two twin mattresses and with a miracle amount of luck, a trundle bed to allow for storage during the day. If the miracle does not occur, we will try to source two basic bed frames. We are hoping to receive a refrigerator as well. We have plumbed for hot water, but have not been able to provide a boiler. Boilers are not common as the logical location, outside, makes them prone to theft and premature aging. We considered an on-demand boiler placed inside but the pressure there is virtually non-existent. So that would mean a pump. We have one donated, but they are not allowed in these neighborhoods as that would allow one house to take all the water for the street as they are all on a shared water line. We will hold the pump for a future project. So, with funds about exhausted, and out of ideas, we opted to simply provide the plumbing and make hot water a standalone project for us or somebody else down the road.

We have been asked about a move in date, and we don’t yet know. The house truly looks like a house and we feel all of your excitement along with our own, that of our team and even of the neighbors in the invasion. We have learned a lot about building in an invasion and how teamwork and communication across cultures is the key to success.

When the kitchen is done and the painting is finalized, we will update you again. Until then, thank you, thank you, thank you for making this happen. While we are the ones on-site, it was your generosity that made this all possible. It is our hope to be able to invite you all—masked and social distanced—to the gifting of the house. More on that soon.

Home Update February 1st

Jorge, Dianne and Zata

It’s a new month! Can you believe it’s already the second one of this new year?! Where has time gone? There are so many people in town for the Serie del Caribe; please take precautions for your health and safety, as hospital occupancy and COVID infections continue on the rise.

This past week we finished up the basic structure of the Home for Juan Manuel! It looks great! The inside walls are now plastered, the cement floor is finished, and a hole for the septic tank has been dug. A woman has kindly donated a ceiling fan with a wall switch, so we will use this one for this project and keep the hotel’s ceiling fan for a future project (this one is much nicer). We are coordinating with the authorities to have electrical and water connected to the house. Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

This coming week Zata will seal the floor, put waterproofing on the roof and outdoor walls, finish the hot water connection and build a platform for the tinaco. If time remains, he will work on bringing electricity from the pole to the house and begin to install a drainage system in the back of the house for used water. A friend of Yolanda’s will come to build the septic tank, making it out of block in the front so it’s more accessible for the truck that will pump it out.

The biggest challenge we’ve had for several weeks has been an inability to secure the house, which stops us from finishing up anything inside. A woman has kindly and generously volunteered to install windows, but she has been out of town for a few weeks. The wooden door we got from the hotel needs to be resized, but we can’t find a carpenter to do that for us affordably. Without an ability to secure the house, we can’t install finishes such as sinks, switches and toilets, as they will get robbed. Thus, the five of us met today: Greg, Jorge, Yolanda, Zata and me, and decided to bite the bullet and buy security bars for the two missing windows and a security door for the front. Once secured, Zata should be able to quickly proceed with installing interior fixtures.

Bless you all! This is a love-filled, charitable project for a very good cause, and your generosity and cooperation are making it possible. Thank you. Should you or anyone you know care to help out, the ways to donate are:

  • Click the “Donate” link in the right-hand column on this VidaMaz.com website, and pay via PayPal.
  • Go to any OXXO and donate to BanCoppel account 4169-1603-7041-0699 (photo below) in the name of Yolanda Medina.

  • Canadians who prefer to email money can send it to Jeanette Leraand: jleraand@gmail.com
  • Contact Yolanda via WhatsApp at 669 431 4529 to arrange a time to meet and give her your donation.
  • Contact me at dianne@vidamaz.com and I’ll pick up your donation.

A Home for Juan Manuel Update Jan 26th

The great news last week included that so many of you were once again so very generous with your donations. Thank you!! You want this house built and finished as much as I do and almost as much as Juan Manuel and Don Rodolfo! Funds received to date are 108,797 pesos. Total paid out thus far is 68,687, with a balance remaining of 40,110. This is terrific news, as last week we had gotten very tight. 

Yolanda and I were able to go to the Aguamarina Hotel on Wednesday and pick out a nice selection of the things they are selling (they are closing their doors as the hotel will be demolished and a huge development á la Camino al Mar will go in its place)—generously donated to us free of charge. We were able to get a couple of wooden doors (that need to be resized for our purposes), a ceiling fan, a bunch of electrical outlets and switches, light fixtures, a plastic table, and a couple of tambos or plastic garbage cans to use to store water. We also got quite a bit of bedding and kitchen items which we can put to good use in this and other projects.

This week’s plan is to plaster the interior walls of the house and begin installing electrical and plumbing finishes, including the kitchen and bathroom sinks and toilet. The lady who has donated these items has also promised us her old tinaco, which we won’t get for a couple more weeks. Thank you!!!

This morning I received a note from a lady who has most kindly and generously offered to conduct a fundraiser amongst her family and friends to raise the money needed to build the wheelchair ramps that I had hoped to build for both Juan Manuel and his neighbor, Don José. As of last week, I’d given up on that dream. Bless her. I need to get her estimates on cost, so she knows how much to aim for in her campaign.

Thank you all! The house is a solid structure, with a roof and drainage. We have what we need for the interior; now we just need to finish that up and then install windows and doors. We are getting closer! If you or a friend or neighbor would like to help out with this project, the ways to donate are listed at the end of the original post.

Casa for Juan Manuel Update

The roof is up!!!! You have done it!!! We are nearly there! A Home for Juan Manuel has floor, walls and roof! 

Zata, our builder, estimates three more weeks to completion. Next week he will focus on finishing the outside: patching all holes with cement and making sure everything is waterproofed. The following week they will focus on the inside: plastering the walls, installing the floor and electrical outlets, toilet and sinks, etc. The week after that he will install the windows and doors. Bless you all!!!!

Here is an accounting updated as of today:

 

Description

Amount

Income

 

85,895

Expenses

 

 

 

Labor

20,000

 

Construction material from Soria

20,000 (prepaid; remaining balance 4718)

 

Concrete floor pad and roof

13,115

 

Other misc.

4,683

          Total paid to date:

 

57,798

 

 

 

Remaining balance:

 

28,097

We have received donations of a toilet, bathroom sink, windows and doors, cement and gravel, and a brand-new microwave oven. One woman is currently making Juan Manuel and his father a couple of blankets for their beds. Below are photos of the roof project; click on any picture to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

If you have items or funds to share with this project, please do so; donation details can be found here. We could especially use a tinaco.

It is my fervent hope we can complete the house as planned and also build a wheelchair ramp for Juan Manuel’s house and Don Jose’s house two doors down. At this point Juan Manuel can still walk with crutches, however being blind, smooth surfaces make life easier. And despite his stroke Don Rodrigo is mobile as well, but the ramp would be a terrific addition. Don José lives two doors down and is not able to leave his home as he has no legs and is wheelchair bound yet has no egress from his home.

If this project sounds good to you, please pass the details on to your friends and family. Thank you all!