Arizonians Respond to Mexico’s Needs

In 1985, an 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck Mexico City, killing thousands and causing widespread damage throughout the capital. Juan and Betty Rodriguez, university students at the time, witnessed the devastation close up. When a series of earthquakes again slammed Mexico City and nearby areas earlier this month, the Rodriguezes were far from the destruction in their Phoenix home.

 

About 40 volunteers transferred items — including diapers, personal-hygiene products and medication — from donation pallets onto the plane headed for Mexico City.

Juan Rodriguez, 55, said he clearly remembered what it felt like to survive a traumatic natural disaster. “Every person that is going through this tough situation is what is hurting us,” Betty Rodriguez said.

MORE: ‘People were screaming’: Reporter describes powerful Mexico City earthquake

‘They are our neighbors’

Three earthquakes hit Mexico this month, killing hundreds and leaving thousands homeless. The most devastating was a 7.1-magnitude quake that struck Tuesday.

The disasters came during a time of strained Mexico-U.S. relations, heightened by President Donald Trump’s insistence on building a wall along the countries’ shared border. But for Sunday’s volunteers, the need to help those suffering overshadowed the rhetoric.

“I think most of that tension is driven out of (Washington), D.C,” said Marco Lopez with the Carlos Slim Foundation, one of the organizations that coordinated Sunday’s efforts. “On the ground, people recognize they are our neighbors. And in a time of need, no matter who your neighbor is, you step up and you help.”

JP Dahdah, founder and executive director of non-profit Advance Guatemala, said that “when unexpected things happen and people are suffering, I think the outpouring of support and the desire to help those in need has no connection with the political climate.

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Project Cure was instrumental in helping source medical Supplies and thanks to the support of Rotary clubs like the Eclub of Arizona, they continue to do good in the world.

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Author: Aaron Fritz

Joined Rotary in 1999. Past President of the Highlands Ranch Rotary Club, Charter Member of the Rotary Club of Castle Pines, Past President of the Rotary eClub of Arizona, and current Assistant Governor for District 5490. Multiple Paul Harris Fellow. 2nd Generation Rotarian.