This year was GM+A’s 14th year of participating in Project Mercy’s Baja Challenge. The goal of this challenge is to improve the living conditions for families in impoverished areas outside of Tijuana, Mexico through building houses. The Baja Challenge invites architects, banks and real estate related businesses to donate their time, money and community spirit to help build houses for families who have none. No construction experience is necessary, only a willingness to learn and work together towards building a home for a family in need. As a result of this challenge, a whole community is built in just one day.
This year our Baja Challenge Team was run by GM+A Project Designer Adriana. Here is what she had to say about her experience:
“This was my first time ever taking on a huge responsibility like the Baja Challenge – Project Mercy. Therefore, a lot of this experience was going with the flow and learning from Irais who has done it for the past ten years. Even though there were times that I felt exhausted, the end result made up for it.
First of all, I felt overwhelmed with love of my volunteers’ support for both myself and for the cause. This has been by far one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It is still amazing and feels so surreal that our hard-work resulted in building this house in 8.5 hours.
My favorite moment was when I gave the Magallon family the keys to their new home. I will never forget seeing the family’s expressions when they walked into their new house. My best memory was when Cesar, one of the young boys, tapped my arm and said “gracias por mi casa, tengo casa” (thank you for my house, I have a home). That moment right there was gold.
This experience helped me realize how architecture can help improve quality of life. This is one of the many reasons why I got into the architecture field – the desire to help and make a difference in people’s lives.”