La Paz, Playa Santispac & LA Bay

These kids are keeners to recycle

These kids are keeners to recycle

We really needed to cool off in La Paz

We really needed to cool off in La Paz

April 6, 2014 We have covered a lot of ground since our arrival in La Paz a few days ago, as we sit here at the Baja Fiesta Restaurant in Vicente Guerrero on Day 27.  Before you know it we will be heading across the US border on or way home to Surrey, BC.

Everyone gets front row here

Everyone gets front row here

Folks really enjoyed our time in La Paz and were particularly pleased that Cindy & Jose had got the pool up and running for our arrival.  Although it was not heated it was wonderfully refreshing as temperatures soared over 38 C/100F everyday of our stay.  Thank you Campestra Maranatha!  On Day 2 of the La Paz adventure we headed off to Ibarra’s Pottery, where unique pottery is produced at this family operated studio in a local nieghbourhood.  Our friend Vicky was not there but here Mom, Dad and other family members were hard at work, the gang really liked this visit.

We can bargain

We can bargain

Next we headed over to the Madero Mercado in central section on the city.  Only a few tourists venture here where locals do the shopping for every day needs.  This part of the city reminds us of what you would see in many older non-tourist towns on the mainland, we enjoy this experience every time we visit.  The group spread out and eventually gathered at the town square in front of the church.  It was warming up for sure and on our return the RV Park we headed for the pool.  Later that evening the entire entourage joined us at Los Magueyes Restaurant for dinner, lots of fun, flaming flan and even some entertaining musicians we have seen before.

Where is the bus?

Where is the bus?

Day 3 in La Paz saw us depart again at 10 am destination Malecon, likely the most beautiful on Baja.  There was even a car show on the go, although no very impressive by our standards back home.  Folks spread out once again, a few eating lunch at La Perla, a vey scenic spot indeed.  I was able to find some Old Guys Rule bumper stickers, something to date I have not added to the trailer, not the case now.  Back to the campground we went after a short stop at Chedreau for a few items yes the pool was waiting for us.  Later Dom & Diane arrived with their RVs in tow, they are scheduled to pick up 2 more in La Paz before heading north.

Must be sunrise at Puerto Escondido

Must be sunrise at Puerto Escondido

Leaving the next day our destination was Puerto Escondido south of Loreto, we park just behind the Marina complex for a modest fee and the whole group joined Lisa & I for dinner at Porto Bello Restaurant operated by Pedro Lopez.  We had a great time, lots of laughter, good food and terrific company.  Pedro and staff worked their collective butts off that night and everyone appreciated the effort.  Onwards at 8 am to Playa Santispac, very warm on our arrival with the gang heading for the water, Day 2 on the beach not so much, a little breezy and cooler.  Not really any appetite to put the SUP or Kayak in the water.  A few went out in the morning to see whale sharks that had been spotted in the bay, unfortunately no luck, however they did spend some quality time seeing this scenic spot from the water.  Lots of takers for the Santispak Restaurant Happy Hours and the 2 for 1 Marguaritas and yes 2 was all you needed, just ask Nancie.  Our potluck later was very tasty, great selection and an abundance of food.  Later we unloaded the fire wood that Darrel, John and myself had collected (Darrel had 90%) and enjoyed a wonderful beach fire.

This is a big pearl!

This is a big pearl!

8 am departure once again and we were off to Guerrero Negro our last full day in Baja Sur.  I am pleased to report the drive was uneventful, good fish & shrimp Tacos at Kenny’s beside the Vizcaino Pemex.  We were blessed by the RV Gods as we saw little traffic all day, never being passed by one Big Rig or Bus.  We arrived at Mario’s safe and sound, some collected a few Scallop Shell out back, a few joined us for dinner and everyone checked out the WiFi.

Clearly Bruce prefers floating

Clearly Bruce prefers floating

Bahia de Los Angeles is our last beach destination and the drive was actually calm, not much traffic to speak of, we were not passed by any Big Rigs of Buses (going our direction).  The Military Checkpoint was thorough but still it did not take too much time.  We made the turn to Bahia and headed back down to the Sea of Cortez encountering maybe a dozen cars in 66 km.

We need a chance to relax

We need a chance to relax

After fueling up we headed for Brisa Marina, the old abandoned RV park and set up.  I spoke with Marcos and lined up the fishing and managed to secure a left handed rod for Doug.  Unfortunately our good friends Bety & Antonio Resendiz were in Mexicali and will not be arriving home until Sunday, by then we will be on our way north.  Day 2 in Bahia started with the fisherman leaving at dawn, our excursion into town was scheduled for 10 am.  Everyone enjoyed the Museo and other sites in the village.  Shortly after returning the gang arrived via the boat and they caught a mess of fish (Tony almost brought back a Pelicano)which Marcos and his son Marcito filleted in no time at all.  Later John & Lorna graciously agreed to host our fish fry as it was far too windy outside, it was tight but we all fit had yet, very yummy for sure!

Their house was almost finished

Their house was almost finished

This morning we left early at 8 am for our longest travel day on tour to the Baja Fiesta Restaurant where we purchase dinner for everyone.  Our drive was long but uneventful, after loading on this Blog I look forward to a hot shower and a very tasty dinner, Cecila and her sons provide a wonderful meal for all.  Tomorrow we are off to Sordo Mudo and our Wine Tour and Tasting at LA Cetto on our last full day in Mexico.

Did you know?

Orphanages in the United States were phased out in the 1960s.  But just south of San Diego in Baja California, Mexico many children without parents are still cared for at group homes.  Unlike our government supported foster care systems, they depend heavily on charity to survive.

Yes we caught fish!

Yes we caught fish!

Only a few people who devote their time, energy, money, goods, and dedication to the children housed in Baja orphanages actually go so far as to adopt some of the children. But caring individuals cross the border regularly in efforts to improve the lives of those homeless children, the children of the streets.  There are about 50 orphanages in Baja California and no two are alike.  They range from housing a handful of children to approximately 120.  Some are in rural ranchos, others in the cities, some are close to the border, others harder to reach; some are gender specific (only boys or only girls), and others provide care for children with special needs, or are specifically for toddlers and infants; some are alberque temporals (temporary shelters), and others are affiliated with schools or churches.  Some are well-run and well-organized; others are so slip-shod and/or dreadful that they are ultimately shut down.

All the Orphanages (Casas Hogar) are overseen by the Social and Family Services department of the Government.  Sistema para el desarrollo integral de la familia (DIF) regulates the quality of life provided to the children, and places orphaned, endangered or displaced children in the Casa Hogar.  However, the government does not support the Casa Hogar financially.  The burden of feeding, clothing, educating and caring for the children is left to the ingenuity of the individual Casa, hence the need for volunteers and charity.  These are a combination of individuals, organizations and Churches.  Each month the casa directors wage an endless battle to supply the needs of their children.  Nearly all Casa Hogar are faith based civil associations that try to bring love and hope to the children.

Everyone enjoyed their meal at Porto Bello

Everyone enjoyed their meal at Porto Bello


Orphanages (Casas Hogar)

Pequeños Hermanos – 35 Children

This home is south of Ensenada and does not have many US visitors.  They recently lost support from a large donor.  They have no running water so water needs to be brought in by pipe truck 3 times a week.  Since there are no funds for water, they currently ration shower water by providing one bucket for each kid to bathe with.  They are now schooling on-site to avoid transportation charges and have been turning to local churches and groups for day-today food needs.  This home is in extreme need!

La Hacienda De La Inmaculada – 62 Children, 8 Mothers

La Hacienda De La Inmaculada is a home in the Matamoras region in Tijuana.  Run by Madre Virginia, a former hermit in the Catholic faith, the home was in serious need of funds for food, but with Corazon de Vida support now has plentiful food.  The physical plant is in great shape, it is just in a very remote, and very poor area of Tijuana.  They are in need of funds for school supplies, medicines, and many physical plant needs.  Mothers who had no place to go — no home, and no resources, staff the home.  These women brought their children to Hacienda to find shelter and care for all of the children in exchange for room and board.  All the children and adults sleep in one large dorm room.

We are all connected!

We are all connected!


Los Angelitos – 48 Children

Corazon de Vida volunteer Ed Perry founded this home in Fall, 2003 in South Tijuana.  The property is a beautiful former private home and is operating at full capacity.  Current funding for food is adequate, but there is a dire need for funds for staffing. Over half of the children are under 3 years old and go through 60 – 80 diapers per day!  They have a computer lab and the kids are getting efficient, but they need additional education to take them to the next level.  Only three staff support 48 children!

Hogar San Jose – 9 Children

Serves 15 children in central Tijuana who all battle severe illness or disabilities.  The home also supports 40 families with chronically ill children in Tijuana.  The home needs about $42,000 a year to support the children and staff.  A single nun with one support staff manage the home.  This home can only be visited by groups of five or less.  Children are admitted by referral from DIF, the Mexico social service agency, and the local hospitals where they are often abandoned.  Their major source of support currently comes from Capstone Missions in Idaho.

Look at these eh!

Look at these eh!


El Faro – 65 Children, 6 Mothers

The home was founded in 1996 with 25 children in a particularly tough area of Tijuana.  Today it serves 65 children, most of whom are dropped off by their families, although a few are referred by DIF.  CDV is the homes primary support at the moment.  This home is in tremendous need of great resources for utilities and housing.  While the basics food costs are covered, there are no funds for electricity, water, septic pumping etc.

Hogar Esperanza – 50 Children

The Esperanza orphanage has been in the southwest part of Tijuana for over 20 years and sits on an unusually large piece of land for being in such an urban area.  The home has about 55 children ranging in age from newborn to 15 years old.  They have a need of updating their dormitories and are still struggling in have sufficient funds to pay their basic everyday needs like utilities and school costs.  The orphanage directors instill proper ethics and the children are very enthusiastic about their education.

We are getting an early start

We are getting an early start


Hogar Sion – 90 Children

Jorge and Carmen Gonzales started this home in the Matamoras region of east Tijuana when they sold their home to buy land and start the orphanage four years ago.  They have between 90 and 100 children, most of whom Carmen takes from the streets, which are referred by DIF, or that are dropped off by families.  They have a Christian focus, since Jorge is a pastor of a local church. They are in need of $20,000 more per year to support staff (3 workers care for 14 babies), educational needs, and job skills training for teens.

We are way warmer than you!

We are way warmer than you!


La Roca – 15 Children

This home, found close to Ebenezer in central Tijuana, is modeled somewhat differently than other Corazon de Vida homes. Abused and extremely poor mothers are brought to La Roca and live in individual housing cabins with their children. The home attempts to support the mothers in seeking job skills and training.  There are roughly 20 children on site with no parents.  The home is difficult to access, due to the road conditions around the home.  They are in great need of funds to support providing food, medicines, housing and some utilities, as well as capital funds to install a bathroom.

Ebenezer – 35 Children

This small hone in Tijuana has over 35 children with 2 staff. This “family” has been together for many years and is a very well run home. They are in need of basic needs including food and utility support. They hope to build a new dorm in the rear of the lot to help other homeless children have a home.

What a peaceful place

What a peaceful place


Door of Faith – 108 children

This is a beautiful facility in La Mission Valley, run by DJ and Lynette Schuetze, US missionaries, and was the first home Corazon de Vida funded in 1994.  The home is well run and the children are well fed and educated.  This home is in great shape, but needs roughly $16,000 more per year to supplement existing support, thereby allowing it to enhance education, quality of food and care.  It serves 100 children, 10 of whom have disabilities and 21 of whom are infants (at last count).  Children are referred by DIF. Corazon de Vida and a large group of individual US supporters are the major funders.  Groups are encouraged to spend an outing camping at their two large campgrounds.

What are those?

What are those?


Rancho El Faro

Rancho El Faro, located in the Guadalupe Valley, northeast of Ensenada, is an annex of El Faro in Tijuana.  The home director moved the older teens to this rural location to keep them away from the temptation of drugs, gangs and other difficulties that surround El Faro.  A new two-story dorm was recently built and a well was tapped for water, but the home is in dire need of most everything else. The teens go to school and help around the house, but their future is bleak without housing and food assistance.

These are only a few a few of the Baja Orphanages

Tony is good with an axe

Tony is good with an axe

Gallery

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