As the last coat of paint was applied under the burning Baja sun, members of the San Jose de la Zorra tribe and a team of Comunidad Para Baja California and Rotary volunteers stood back and congratulated each other on the successful completion of a three-year project.
Back in 2009 the Comunidad team conducted a survey of the tribal facilities to prioritize the next set of Infrastructura projects. The clear leader was replacing the leaky, moldy clinic building at San Jose de la Zorra—a health hazard in itself rather than a facility to promote tribal health.
Old Clinic Interior
Comunidad Secretary and Director of Facilities Bill Rush then set out to work on two fronts: to design the facility and to find a partner.
The partnership came first. The North San Jose chapter of the Rotary Club, long a partner and supporter of Comunidad, stepped up. Led by then chapter president Jaime Angulo, the club agreed to fund part of the project and work with other Rotary Clubs in both Northern California and in Ensenada to gather support for the project.
The team, now joined by Comunidad’s new Executive Director Vicky Santoyo, then worked with local tribal leaders to design the new clinic. The final design was for a 1200 square foot facility with vaulted ceilings throughout. There would be one large multi-purpose room as well as two examination rooms, a waiting room and two bathrooms. The team decided to use only local materials and building methods, so that the tribe could maintain and repair the clinic without outside help. To increase the structure’s longevity, only cinderblock, cement and steel were used. Total cost: $30,000.
With the Nevada City Morning Club Rotary also joining the project, the team went to work. Over the course of two years the team made eight visits down to consult with the tribe on design, select the construction spot, and oversee the construction process.
When the clinic was finished, the tribe voted to name it the ‘Paulina Vega Poblano Clinic’ after its long-time village midwife and health advocate. The groundbreaking was in November 2011; the completion celebration took place on May 27, 2012 with a final painting day and a barbeque cooked by the tribe.
Present at the ceremony were:
From the government: Rodolfo Jauregui (CDI) and anthropologist Norma Carbajal. From San Jose North Rotary: Current President Francois Daoust, Past President Jaime Angulo and President Elect Kit Seymour. Representing the Nevada City Morning Club Rotarians were Ann and Bill Hendricks, Harry and Pam Auld and Bill Fergeson. From Comunidad: Vicky Santoyo and husband Javier, Bill Rush, Ed Klotz, Larry and Linda Tabor and Dan Figueroa. Tribal Leaders Paula Vega (current president) and Rito Silva represented the tribe. They spoke movingly about what the clinic would mean to the community and how many times in the past they had been promised a clinic, with nothing to show for it.
The clinic is now open and in use. A special recognition to Jaime Angulo and Vicky Santoyo, whose hard work brought the clinic from wish list to reality.
You can see more photos of the ceremony and finished clinic here.