Finish This Casita For Felix And Tonita...And Me.

My adoptive family in Mexico is building a house for their back yard!

Upon retiring from nursing after my 5th round with cancer, my first rented house near El Potrero Chico in Mexico, was the office building of a defunct gravel yard, a small, drafty shack with a gorgeous view of the cliffs, but little else to commend it. The first day there, I heard a pounding on the gate.  It was my next door neighbor, Felix, welcoming me to the neighborhood.

Felix led me and my climbing partners to his house, showed us his garden, introduced us to his wonderful wife Tonita, gave us a tour of their home, offered us dinner, and sent us home with a bag of oranges picked from his trees.

That was three years ago, and since then, these earnest, considerate, and generous neighbors have very kindly made me a part of their family. I call Felix "Tio" (Uncle) and Tonita "Tia" (Aunt). We go on sight-seeing adventures together, they teach me Spanish, we share Sunday meals together, and I am teaching my "primos" (cousins) how to climb. When Tio says (and he often does) "You are my family, this home is your home," I know that he really means it. I now have a family in Minnesota and one in Mexico, both equally loved and loving.

37685084_1552439055987452_r.jpegMy family in Mexico;  left to right: Roberto, Lorena, Tonita, Felix,  Gerardo, and Mario

So, when I recently moved away to a shanty in a less-than-safe, less-than-hygienic neighborhood (in order to save money) they suddenly announced that they were building a rental house in their backyard.  Though they assured me that  I was certainly under no obligation to rent it, they asked "How big should the kitchen be? And the bedroom? And the bathroom? How tall should the counter-tops be?"... the underlying assumption being, this would be my new home.  I sketched out my ideal floor-plan (about 450 square feet), and work commenced.

37685084_1552439489140831_r.jpegJose Luis and Roger hard at work in the heat

Felix, my new cousins, and I moved Felix's prized fruit trees from the tiny home's footprint, transplanting them to other parts of the garden. Jose Luis, the contractor, kindly allows me to help as I can, as I have no knowledge of concrete block building. I haul the concrete blocks to their proper places in a wheelbarrow, keep the job-site tidy, and he instructs me on every phase of the operation, as best as I can understand with my minimal Spanish.

37685084_1552439100390976_r.jpegThe casita ("little house") so far

But now, after construction of the foundation and walls, we have run out of money. The house needs to be "dried in" before I move in...roof, floor, windows and doors.  I will do the tiling, plumbing, electrical, carpentry, painting, and supply the fixtures, but I have zero experience installing doors and windows in a concrete block house, let alone pouring a concrete roof!  Which, due to the lack of trees and lumber here, is how they do it.  (See below)

37685084_1552441044409036_r.jpegA poured concrete roof in progress, three doors down.  All the wood is rented, all the concrete mixing done by hand!

This little house will provide me a safe, clean, and loving place to live near El Potrero Chico for affordable rent, will generate a little income for the family long after I am gone, and make climbers and family members comfortable during their visits for years to come.  And I will be close by when Felix and Tonita need help with gardening, plumbing, house maintenance;  however I can help... just as I am in Minnesota for my northern family in the summers.

37685084_1552439183612945_r.jpeg The view from the future porch.  For more info about this wonderful place, see: 

Of course, friends, family and climbers are welcome to visit and stay...a second floor and guest rooms are in the works, as time and money allow.

By donating, you are making two dreams come true at once: a wonderful place for me to stay during the harsh Minnesota winters, and some needed retirement income for a fine and loving family here in Mexico.  Please consider with kindness and generosity.

Donations (0)

  • Chelsi Peetoom 
    • $750 
    • 3 mos
  • Anne Gunderson 
    • $100 
    • 5 mos
  • Scott Fife 
    • $60 
    • 5 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $200 
    • 5 mos
  • Kent York 
    • $25 
    • 5 mos


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