In December 2010, Seattle University’s Campus Ministry sponsored their 16th annual Mexico Mission Trek (MMT). In all, 16 Seattle University students and 3 staff & faculty travelled to Tijuana, Mexico to assistthe non-profit organization Esperanza in building the foundation of a new home for a family living in poverty. Among the students who participated were civil engineering majors Sergio Legon-Talamoni and John Conway who returned for their second MMT experience. They were joined by CE majors Chris Kemly, Amanda Connell, James Smith, Omar Ongoco and Brynn Watanabe who all experienced Mexico for the first time.
Senior James Smith noted, “There is a great need for a structural assessment for many of the homes in the area that seemed unsafe. I was particularly struck by the staggering environmental degradation. Solid waste, and debris piles of tires, metal, wood and other things are ubiquitous, appearing along roadways, at intersections and in stream beds.”
In addition to mixing concrete, the students had the opportunity to develop friendships and respect across language, cultural and political barriers. Participation on the service immersion also provided the students a chance to reflect on questions regarding privilege, cultural identity, human dignity and immigration politics. “One of the most valuable aspects of the MMT experience was working with the people who are benefitting from their own hard work as well as the generosity of others; in short, it helps connect the statistics with human faces,” said Smith.