Rotarians Aid Mexicans In Spite 'Wall'
JOHN M. DERBY
February 16, 2017
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
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.