Doxa creates opportunities for people to serve Tijuana through
house building, education, and long-term community.
I hope this message finds you healthy and safe. COVID-19 has turned our world upside down. In short order, our lives have changed and many are experiencing uncertainty, doubt, and anxiety. The full ripple effects of COVID-19 are still unknown, especially as it continues to work its way from region to region around the world. These are unprecedented times indeed.
The Tijuana-San Diego region used to be extremely mobile, with people regularly traveling internationally. Families, friends, employment, and lives that are truly binational. For a culture that is so highly relational, it is a new challenge for us to reconcile the reality of social distancing and restrictions on gathering. Doxa, along with similar organizations in Tijuana, has temporarily closed its doors. House building by groups, community center gatherings, after-school programs, and related events have all been cancelled or rescheduled. Hopefully these small actions can be part of a larger region-wide effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The impact touches many on both sides of the border: high school youth groups, Hogar de los Niños, Unidos por Siempre, local bodegas, hardware stores, lumber suppliers, and the families that were slated to receive houses. As for Doxa’s staff, we have committed to paying full salaries during this temporary break. Doxa acknowledges these ripple effects and is called into action to help the greater Tijuana community.
As agents of change in a highly relational ministry, we can still carry out this work even though it may look a little different than we originally planned. Together, we can pivot, repurpose, and still continue to serve the families and partners in Tijuana. Here’s how:
Thank you for your prayers and support of Doxa, its partners, and the families of Tijuana. I hope that this challenging time can put on display the best of who we are. That we can double-down on kindness, generosity, and exemplifying God’s love.
Colonia Pedregal de Santa Julia is where Doxa first started building houses about 30 years ago. After decades of development and more than 2000 houses built in and around Pedregal, it barely resembles what it once was. Back then there were many notable differences: no paved streets, no street lights, sporadic electricity service and running water, no sewer system, no telephone or Internet service, lots of open space and undeveloped land, and schools were often canceled for just a light rain (or because the clouds looked like rain!). Land values have gone from the hundreds to thousands to tens of thousands of dollars.
In 2020, Pedregal is a well-equipped neighborhood in every sense of the word, like a small suburb a short distance away from downtown Tijuana. Pedregal now enjoys: pavement in the vast majority of streets with sidewalk space, all major utility services (electric, water, sewer, telephone, and Internet), street lights that illuminate the neighborhood, almost no more vacant land for new housing development, and schools that operate rain or shine. Take a look at some pictures that show the development of Pedregal over the years. See if you can spot any of the brightly colored Doxa houses.
Not only does Pedregal look different, but families are more established. They have more history there and household incomes have risen overall. For the first time, parents are experiencing what it’s like to have some disposable income above and beyond the immediate needs of their families. All of this development is something to be celebrated!
At the same time, though, development like this throughout communities can mean that the needs are changing. Housing and infrastructure used to be the primary need in Pedregal. Now, the primary needs revolve around education and community.
Doxa’s education program equips children relationally and materially to succeed in school. This methodical approach means that a Doxa staff member gets to intimately know the needs of a specific child and family. Then, journey along with them and learn what is really needed for success. While this approach may be more time intensive, it yields amazing results. As long as the student is willing to put in the work, there is nothing that Doxa won’t do to help them succeed.
Doxa’s community events, gatherings, and programs span a wider breadth of offerings which have included: parenting workshops, dance classes, cooking classes, neighborhood fundraisers, Christmas parties, Mother’s Day celebrations, counseling sessions, community fairs, and summer camp.
While these newer education and community needs are exciting, it is also one of Doxa’s values to continue partnership and support of local organizations like Hogar de los Niños. Especially, as they have been an integral part of the Pedregal community since the 1970s.
Doxa looks forward to sharing more about what the vision for education and community looks like in Pedregal!
The city of Tijuana has undergone explosive growth. With a population of 1.3 million just 10 years ago, it is now estimated to have over 2 million residents. People from all over Mexico and Central America are drawn to the city in hopes of more lucrative job opportunities, a slightly higher standard of living, and maybe a shot at crossing into the United States. Tijuana is also quite diverse with Chinese, Haitian, and American populations, among others.
Initially, people settled towards the Western part of Tijuana and the coastline. Available land in these areas has significantly increased in price (lots that used to go for $7,000 are now up to $50,000) and undeveloped space is getting harder to find. This has naturally pushed Tijuana’s growth toward the East side of the city.
The city is much newer on the East side than the West side. Neighborhoods on the West side can date back for 50 or more years. They have benefited from all of those years of development, even as slow as it may be. East side neighborhoods are much newer, about 20 years or less. They look and feel significantly behind in terms of development. Little to no street pavement or utilities, and household income levels are much lower. When comparing these areas of Tijuana, the East side appears 10-15 years behind the West side.
In East side communities, housing and infrastructure are typically the primary need. This makes the East side a natural next step for Doxa in its house building operations. We want to acknowledge and act on the changing needs throughout the city of Tijuana. This is always guided by input from Doxa’s local staff and partners.
It won’t be too many more years before the outskirts of Tijuana and Tecate grow together. Doxa’s expansion to also build houses on the Eastern side of Tijuana is a natural next step in response to the city’s changing needs.