by Susan Young, Volunteers Without Limits
So this month I am participating in a study on the topic of aging. Let’s face it, there are only two possible roads to travel in life, dying young or getting old and for the most part the which road we travel is not ours to make. We do however have choices to make each day that will affect how fast we age and what kind of health we will have in our last trimester of life. I hold fast to the assumption that I’ll live to the age of 90 so 60-90 is what I call my third trimester in life. My justification for this assumption is the longevity of my parents and a multiple of maternal aunts. Whether there is any truth in this premise, only time will tell.
Having spent my first 30 years in youthful dreams and pursuits, my second in child rearing and establishing my career and future financial security, my last 30 I have committed to fulfilling a higher purpose. Exploring the ‘big’ questions like why am I here and what am I supposed to be doing with all blessings that have been bestowed on me.
One of the first choices we made several years before retiring was to purchase a house in Baja. Having visited Rosarito annually for several years, I had become enamored with the possibility of living in a temperate climate somewhere near the beach. I’m not a cold weather fan. Snow is pretty when you can observe it from inside a warm abode but there is nothing pretty about shoveling your way out of the drive or crawling around on ice to put on tire chains.
Convincing my husband, Chuck, of this move took a bit more effort. It wasn’t until I could show him that he would be able to retire 3-5 years earlier if we lived in Mexico did he come around. So step one in the process was to simplify which meant reducing the years of accumulated stuff that we filled every nook and cranny of house and garage with. Admittedly, Chuck had the most to eliminate. He sorted through his extra large shop and gave the kids each part of the his fishing gear that would not be appropriate for deep sea fishing. My job was a lot easier as I was leaving my daughter in residence of our house so any dishes and furniture I didn’t bring could remain there.
So now that we are hear in a smaller house with less stuff, what do we do? During my years of child rearing and career building I had little time to become involved with my community. One of things that drew us to buy a house in town was a desire to be part of the local community and have a chance to give back. One look around San Felipe made it evident that there were many great groups and organizations that devote both time and money to improve the lives of our neighbors and alleviate some of the hardships they endure. The hard part is picking which of these to get involved with and how to divide up our time and resources in a way to do the most good and least harm.
Our beliefs are guided by the Bible so we took the words “feed the hungry”, “see to the widows and orphans” to heart and in doing so became “facilitators” of Volunteers Without Limits. We didn’t start it or nor are we officially part of the the organization. We are just helpers. We help with some of the food delivery, shopping and picking up donations. Sometimes we help with fund-raising events. But the heart of the organization is the Director, Paty Orozco. She is the one who oversees the distribution. She also screens all applications and visits the homes of the clients. Paty came to the food bank one day in the early days and offered to work as volunteer and run the thrift store if in exchange she could set up a space to help the parents of children with severe disabilities by teaching them about resources available for their children’s care. She also petitioned to get help supplying nutritional supplements and disposable diapers for these children.
When the founders of the original food needed to leave town due to health reasons, Paty jumped in and formed a new non-profit association under the name of Voluntarios sin Limites which means Volunteers Withou Limits. She picked this name with the forward thinking that someday the work may expand to help more than the hungry and disabled children. Now three years later that dream is growing and VSL is supporting the efforts of the drug rehab facility by promoting the sale of their crafts. We are also reaching out help people of all ages who face major medical needs. Last month VSL help an eleven year old boy (who is being raised by his older brother) get an MRI and CAT scan that determined he had tumor on his spine and we are purchasing the necessary corset for him to wear following his surgery. Paty has also lobbied for and obtained additional help from other agencies to fund renting the traction apparatus he will need in the hospital following surgery. Interest grew and before we knew a musical event was created by Martin and some of the local musicians which raise money to help the family with the rest of their portion of the medical expenses. The last word was that Eli had gone to Mexicali for his surgery but it had been rescheduled for the 28th o f May. In the meantime, Eli has been given a walker to help him get around safely.
We’ve been in San Felipe full-time for four years but this summer we are sojourning back to Northern California for the summer to be present for Chuck’s mom’s 80th birthday party and the birth of our third grandchild. We have decided to leave our big dog at home with a house-sitter. Chuck and I are busy preparing for our trip north and getting the house ready for it’s summer occupants. This includes having a new roof built with has been a challenge.
We found a delightful couple who were looking for a place to spend the hot summer months and they and their dog will be joining our big dog Russo at the casa in our absence. But it’s a big job getting your home ready for guests. Hopefully the new mini-splits will be up and running this week and none too late at the thermometer is peaking in the mid 90s today already. Fortunately, the new insulation is doing it’s job and the house is tolerable even without the air conditioning.
So back to work I go. Hope you all are having a great spring. Looking forward to catching up with many of you this summer.