Doxa creates opportunities for people to serve Tijuana through
house building, education, and long-term community.
It is with great sadness that we share Rosa Amelia Dominguez Zavala passed away in the early morning hours on Friday, October 2, 2020. She is succeeded by her husband, Flavio, and their children. This news is painful and shocking as we grieve this loss together.
Rosa had been active in the Tijuana community for almost her entire adult life. She worked with Casa Hogar de los Niños orphanage, Doxa, and the catholic church San Judas Tadeo. Rosa got her start at Hogar de los Niños and became part of the fabric of the neighborhood (Colonia Pedregal de Santa Julia). With Doxa, Flavio shared that Rosa found her passion and really shined. From Doxa’s inception, she was the main person to qualify families for house building. And for more than a decade, Rosa led Doxa’s education and community programming. She dedicated her time to mentoring kids and their parents, whether through the after-school program, summer camp, parenting classes, or special events and clubs. Flavio noted that with Doxa, Rosa had a platform to affect change in her local community which gave her and those around her flourishing life.
We give thanks and continue to be in amazement at all the things God was able to accomplish through Rosa. She touched thousands of lives on both sides of the border. While we will miss her dearly, we know she is in a better place now. Earlier this morning, Flavio and their children shared that they were so grateful for everyone’s friendship, support, hard work, and love. In serving Tijuana together, it has been your love poured out that has made the difference. Rosa saw everyone as part of her family and she always opened her house up to everyone. Her family intends to keep her legacy of that.
Rosa’s burial is scheduled for tomorrow at 10am PDT. While there won’t be any large church gathering, we invite you to join in a moment of prayer at that time for Rosa and her family.
For those who are interested and able, there is a Memorial Fund setup to help with funeral and unexpected family expenses during this time.
Thank you for your continued love and, as Rosa would say, I’m sending you a fuerte abrazo (big hug).
– Doxa’s Board of Directors & Alex Knopes
We are now three-quarters of the way done with 2020 and not a single nail has been hammered by an American volunteer group. That’s a statement most, if not all, of us never thought would be the case. Instead, local building teams have been hard at work cranking out houses (15 houses completed so far). This has led to a very interesting dynamic, a worksite with all Mexican builders.
With the onset of COVID-19, it became clear that this year was going to look very different for house building operations. While Doxa was firmly committed to building for qualified families that had been on the waiting list, it would be accomplished with the hiring of local building teams and raising financial support from groups and individuals. This new model has showcased some of the best of everyone involved. Groups and individuals have shown enormous generosity in giving, families have worked hard on their own houses, and Doxa has been able to provide increased employment opportunities for builders in the local community. Seeing everyone shine in their roles has been a privilege.
Many times groups that have experience building in Tijuana assume that locals would build the house much better and faster than they do. While there may be some truth to this, there’s still a learning curve. The local teams use cement mixers and power tools to speed up the process. It’s also not uncommon for them to pre-cut all of the lumber the day before. These steps dramatically speed up the assembly process on the worksite. Not to mention the experience that these teams gain week after week of working with each other and the 12-hour days they put in.
Of course, there’s still the moments of “oh, I forgot the box of roofing nails back at the orphanage” or “I could have sworn that the window lengths were 46” instead of 46 ½,” guess we’ll have to recut some lumber.” Squaring up the walls and roof can also be a challenge. It doesn’t magically just come together for the local teams, either. Kids on the worksite still play in the paint while moms chase after them. It seems as though, even across cultures, we still have things in common.
One thing that is different on the worksite is the feel and atmosphere. There’s less talking and more non-verbal communication. There’s an awareness of process and order of building that is unspoken. When things are explained, few words are used. Everyone is keenly aware of the overall goal of finishing the house and is constantly looking to see how the group is progressing. To describe it in a nutshell, it is a group mentality versus an individual mentality. It is approaching the task from the standpoint of what is needed, instead of what I want to do. Not surprisingly, the time with the most talking is lunch time. Conversations start and drag on through the food; until it’s time to get back to work!
Through the end of this year, our goal is to keep the local teams building and houses coming. We are about half way to our goal of funding 20 more houses. Thank you so much to everyone who has already contributed, you’ve already made such an impact. If you’re interested and able to donate, please do so through our secure website.
Just as COVID-19 has caused many schools across the United States to transition to distance learning, Tijuana schools have taken the same approach. Since April, there has been no in-person classes and there won’t be any until at least 2021. Zoraida, a Tijuana schools assistant principal, shared that distance learning is largely dependent upon the teacher. Various methods are being used such as Google Classroom, Zoom, WhatsApp, and broadcast TV. Zoraida believes it’s important to have some sort of communication with each student and their family, but what that looks like is dependent upon the family’s resources and teacher capability.
For the students sponsored by Doxa’s education program, Rosa notes that distance learning over video seems to work for middle school, high school, and college students. Elementary school children, however, still need the in-person atmosphere in order to properly learn. In preparing for this school year, Doxa equipped all of the middle school, high school, and college students with the technology and access needed to learn remotely at home. For elementary school children, Doxa has opened its after-school program for in-person classes. Of course, all the necessary safety and health precautions are being taken to ensure students remain healthy while getting the educational support they need.
Hogar de los Niños and Unidos por Siempre are equipped with laptops, Internet access, and tutors to help their children engage scholastically. The older kids often help the younger kids with their homework. Thankfully, both orphanages have a dedicated classroom where kids study throughout the day. Unidos por Siempre even has a school teacher who comes a few days a week. The children in both of these orphanages are fortunate to have school brought to them this year.
For a school year where learning in the classroom probably will not occur, we are so thankful for the new solutions that still allow learning to take place. Even though all of these students will be automatically passed onto the next grade level, our goal is that they will learn the material at the same level they would have in-person in the classroom.
As expected, we have seen an increase in scholarship applicants and the cost of equipping students to learn remotely. Through the end of this year, our goal is to raise an additional 50 scholarships and we are half way there. If you have already supported, thank you so much! If you’d like to get involved, you can purchase any of the school supplies from our Amazon list or give a monthly scholarship. Any and all support makes a huge difference, thank you!
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