House of Good Vibrations!

Today we handed over the keys to the “House of Good Vibrations,” as I now call it, thanks to the love and generosity of over 80 individuals, couples and families who built and furnished the small blue “Home for Juan Manuel!”

18 people attended an appreciation ceremony this morning, during which the new owners, Don Rodolfo and Juan Manuel, expressed their thanks to the VidaMaz community. Juan Manuel and Don Rodolfo both were completely overwhelmed with your generosity. They both cried several different times and were at a complete loss for words. You truly have changed their lives and filled them with hope! They plan to move in tomorrow. Many people arrived today bearing food and gifts to help the men settle into their new home.

One of the attendees recorded the “giving of the keys” ceremony on her cell phone. Sadly the wind was rather gusty at times, but I believe  you can hear most of it. The full video is below:

We first announced this project to build a small house on November 25, 2020. Initially it was to be a 3 x 4 meter home with an outdoor bathroom and kitchen. Since Juan Manuel is on crutches (he has only one leg) and blind, we felt the home needed indoor plumbing, and you agreed. We ended up building a home that is 4 x 6 meters, so still very small, but very livable and much better than anything they would have dreamed possible. You even helped us install hot water! You all donated kitchen sink, cupboards, refrigerator, microwave, utensils, bathroom sink, toilet, shower, mirror, a shelf, a trundle bed, two tables, four chairs, a ceiling fan, boiler, a tinaco, concrete, gravel, doors, windows, septic tank… you truly rocked this! You gave monetary donations of 20 to 32,000 pesos. Thank you!

Every step of the way, if we had difficulties, you came through to help. We had been searching for weeks for a trundle bed. Two men will live here, but there is not enough room in the house for two single beds and a user of crutches to move around. Last week we kindly received the donation of the donor’s grandson’s beloved, solid wood trundle bed with two mattresses AND handmade quilts! Juan Manuel and Don Rodolfo were over the moon when they saw it. Zata installed the front walkway this week, but, of course, most of Mazatlán has been without water this week. How to make concrete for the stairs? No worries; we figured it out.

In the end, we came in exactly with the money needed. Greg and I personally paid for a bonus to thank Zata, our albañil; without his honesty and dedication I can only imagine how difficult this project might have been.

Total Spent: 130,795 pesos or US$6507

Construction: 94,886
Refrigerator: 1225
Boiler, install and protection: 7784
Walkway and yard work: 14,300
Electrical from street: 12,600

The amount above is significantly higher than our original estimate for this project, but that estimate was for a basic structure only: no windows, doors, plumbing, electrical nor interior furnishings. Even with the ease with which it functioned—your generous donations, no theft, an honest and dependable builder—it was way more work than any of us imagined it would be. Feeling the joy and happiness of these two men today, however, made it more than worthwile. I trust you are happy to have participated.

The full story of the building of this house is right here. You can read it from the beginning if you are interested:

  1. Nov 25: My introduction of Juan Manuel and his father, plus asking you to help with the project
  2. Dec 1: An initial budget plus 22 donations
  3. Dec 8: Our first hiccups: re-examining the initial plans and having to find a new builder
  4. Dec 13: Architectural plans and a wonderful new builder
  5. Dec 16: Ground breaking!
  6. Dec 21: Foundation and plumbing during the second week of construction
  7. Dec 24: A Christmas Message from Juan Manuel plus thank you’s to the new neighbors
  8. Jan 2: Don Rodolfo’s first glimpse of his new home
  9. Jan 10: The roof is up!
  10. Jan 18: 87,000 pesos collected, but trouble paying our builder
  11. Jan 26: Exterior is plastered
  12. Feb 1: Interior plaster, delays on the windows and doors prevent us proceeding
  13. Feb 18: House is painted; videos of interior, exterior and the view from the roof
  14. Feb 25: Kitchen is in!
  15. Mar 8: Refrigerator, boiler and an invitation to donors

Bless you all! I trust your heart is bursting with joy! Pretty much everyone who attended the ceremony this morning remarked at how moved they felt, how honored they were to be able to make a difference in someone’s lives, and how wonderful it is to be in the company of people committed to making this world a bit sweeter.

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!!!

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!