Rotarians Aid Mexicans In Spite 'Wall'

By JOHN M. DERBY
TIMES PUBLISHER
February 16, 2017

Rotarians have been coming down to Mexico for years and doing worthwhile projects like the one in Mulege, on the Baja coast. This latest project involves a water system which the town has outgrown, and badly needs improvements.
Mulege is a sleepy little town that could have been the Margaritaville of the song with the long bars and “jiggers of salt.” Its population grows from 7,000 to 10,000 in the winter when the tourists arrive.
Six years ago, the town increased the size of the pella (watertower uphill from the town) but there was not enough money to hook it up to the water system.
The Rotary Club from Bend Oregon knew about the need and turned it into a fundraising project. The club raised $56,000 to install the pipes necessary to connect the bigger pella to the town’s water system.
Six members of the club arrived in Mulege last week to see that the project got done. Four of them flew down while another couple drove their motorhome down.
Mulege is 600 miles south of the border and if one asked the local Mexicans their feelings about Trump's wall idea, they would say: “We don’t see what all the fuss is about. There has been a wall for a half century.”
They also have little or no interest in the wall, or going into the United States because they are more concerned about the basics — like getting water to their homes.
Recently the government built a development of new homes called New Mulege on higher ground after the river flooded the town for the fourth time in six years. Unfortunately the water system did not have strong enough water pressure in the New Mulege to get the water to the pellas on top of the houses.
The new, larger pella was meant to provide that needed pressure, but because there is so little government assistance in these small towns, the new pella never got hooked up.
Rotary clubs have done several projects in Mulege. They helped wire the community hall and installed indoor bathrooms, but as good as these projects were, there was no follow up maintenance and so as years passed the power went out and the bathrooms became dysfunctional.
It’s a lesson that Rotarians have had to learn in many foreign countries. It is not only a question of giving the people a gift, but making sure that gift has long-term value.
The Mulege Rotary Club is quite active on its own part and raises funds for such projects as a local dental clinic and providing gas for the Mulege fire trucks.
Here was another project (not done by Rotary) which provided Mulege with used fire trucks from the states. While the trucks were fine, there was little maintenance, and often had no fuel to even get to the fire. In one case we watched as the fire truck arrived at a fire and the pump could not be started to put out the fire.
Understand, the people of Mulege have a great deal of respect for the Rotary members and the feeling is that these people do more good in reaching across the border than any other thing we Americans bring to Mexico.


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