HOUSE BUILDING > SAFETY AND SECURITY
Tijuana and the greater Baja California Mexico region has seen drug-related violence surge over recent years. This is an ever evolving problem within Tijuana and one that DOXA has and continues to monitor and evaluate. Many groups have expressed concern from highly publicized news reports about gruesome acts of violence, and for good reason. Former FBI agents and the San Diego Police Department have both confirmed that humanitarians and mission groups have not been targeted during this violence. However, when groups ask us whether the trips are ‘safe,’ our answer has and always will be no. There have always been inherent risks associated with house building trips in a foreign country where a different language is spoken, an unfamiliar culture exists, and socioeconomic conditions are not at all what we’re used to. With this said, new risks are now a reality associated with the trips. But just like before, through the implementation of risk management strategies, the security of your group can be greatly increased.
For these reasons, we have reviewed our operating procedures while in Tijuana and have developed some prudent adjustments and risk management measures for groups: ·
— The orphanage has been rebuilt and new walls and gates have been completed around the entire compound.
— Groups have been moved from the Annex to the orphanage itself for improved safety.
— A secured parking structure is present now for vehicles.
— We can now provide some amenities that groups went off the orphanage grounds for in the past, such as a store and preparations for taco or fiesta night if desired.
We are also asking groups to amend their policies and to make it clear to all participants that some things that have seemed safe for many years cannot be continued.
— All arrivals and departures to the orphanage for groups are to be during daylight hours.
— All groups are to be in the orphanage compound, vans & trucks parked inside, gates locked, by dusk.
— Walking around the orphanage neighborhood is limited to large groups and daylight hours.
— Everyone will sleep inside a building or, if arranged, outside on the new orphanage patio.
— Trips to commercial or unknown areas, such as taco trips or to downtown, are to be avoided except for necessary food shopping trips during daylight hours.
— Designate a pre-determined group member(s) or leader(s) to be in charge of counting/locating other group participants.
— Valuables, electronics, and nonessential personal items should not be brought on the trip.
Through consultation with group leaders, we have been made aware that the separation of groups and lack of communication between groups has been a problem in the past. Given the communications infrastructure that has developed in Tijuana over the last decade DOXA is compiling the following information that will be available to groups as soon as it is fully developed:
— Developing a protocol for groups to familiarize themselves on using American cellular phones to connect to each other using Mexican carriers and
— Locating a provider of affordable, disposable Mexican cellular phones for groups to purchase.
Waivers are required of each participant building with DOXA. Waivers may be collected and mailed together by the group leader prior to the project start date. Please email all waivers to email@example.com or,
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While risks are inherent with the trip, these risk reduction measures should increase the likelihood of a successful trip, deep relationships, and lasting memories.