During the weekend of November 6-8, AB&I team members Carlos Gonzalez, Enrique Ramirez, and Zeydi Gutierrez embarked on a community outreach project on the other side of the border. They headed toward an area of Ensenada where there is no running water or electricity to participate in building a loft house for a family in need.
Thirteen people participated in the build; eight were from the bay area. Carlos’s sister, Graciela, came from Mexico, D.F., to join the team along with his nephew, Mario. The pre-build took place in a parking lot during the week of October 17. Carlos participated in the pre-build along with approximately 70 people from all ages and walks of life.
Loft houses are prefabricated in church parking lots in the U.S. and assembled in Mexico in just one day. Though not luxurious by any definition, a loft house provides basic protection and shelter from the elements. A loft house is a 12-foot by 12-foot structure with 4 windows, a lockable door and a second story attic loft for sleeping that can be reached by an interior ladder. The kit-house consists of prefabbed panels made from simple building materials widely available at most home improvement warehouses: 2x4s, 2x6s, plywood, and tar paper roofing. The house has a raised wooden floor, covered with linoleum, and is built on concrete piers. One member of the team hauled the kit-house on a trailer all the way from Oakland to the work site.
This particular loft house went to a couple, Maria and Fidel. Maria is blind in one eye and going blind in the other. Both Marian and Fidel work picking tomatoes six days a week and have also worked alongside everyone else in building their new home. They were paying 1,000 pesos a month in rent and couldn’t wait to have a home of their own. Their excitement was overwhelming.
There were so many moments of closeness of community and joy while watching Maria and Fidel get the keys to their new home.
Thank you AB&I for sponsoring Carlos, Enrique, and Zeydi in this community endeavor.