Frequently Asked Questions
Are the food and water safe in Mexico?
Tap water is NOT safe to drink in Mexico. Even a drop on your toothbrush may get you sick! We will provide bottled water at the orphanage as well as purified water throughout the build. As long as you don’t drink from the tap you should be fine!
All of the meals provided on the build are well prepared by our cooks. They are careful to only use purified water and take other precautions to ensure the safety of the food they provide. We also provide snacks such as trail mix, granola bars, fruit etc. brought down from the US during the day.
What do I need?
You, a signed liability form, duffel bag, and excitement! We will collect signed liability forms and the builder fee from each builder on the morning of the build. For specifics on what you may want to pack can be found on our packing list.
You may also bring your own personal tools if you would like, but we supply all of the necessary tools on site. We recommend if you bring your own tools that you mark it with your name! Tools get very mixed up and we want to make sure you leave with what you came with.
Additionally, if you would like to bring donations for the family, you are more than welcome to! Let us know ahead of time if you are planning on bringing furniture on a build, but if you have drawer stuffing items such as clothes and other miscellaneous items, feel free to bring them along.
Where do we stay?
We stay at a beautiful orphanage called Casa Hogar de los Niños. It has flushing toilets and running water to take a nice shower after the build! Most of the children go home for the weekend so you will most likely not see them.
How safe will we be?
Security in Tijuana has been a largely discussed topic in the news and within our community, and we take it very seriously during our home builds and events. Although the majority of the discussed violence Mexico is between the drug cartels, there is always a chance that we will be in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, to prevent this we always drive in a caravan and never leave the site without one of our supervisors. While driving in a caravan, we use flags and car paint to clearly mark that we are a caravan.
The orphanage where we stay is 100% gated and has a security guard on duty 24/7 as well as a security system. We park our cars in the gated orphanage compound.
We are well known in the communities we build in and they are very appreciative of the work we do in their community. The families we build for as well as and other locals look out for us to ensure that we have a safe experience. We recommend that all cars are locked during the build and valuables are not visible. We recognize that Tijuana has a name for being a dangerous place and we would like to ensure your safety at all times with Casas de Luz, so if you have following questions please feel free to contact us and we would be happy to answer them.
Is it sanitary?
Throughout the build we have hand wipes and hand sanitizer at your disposal. We order a porta potty for every build that has been freshly cleaned and ready for use. They are always in great condition and don’t have that typical stinky smell!
The orphanage is very comfortable and has all of the necessary facilities. You will be able to enjoy a shower in the evening as well as count on a flushing toilet! The orphanage staff maintains a very clean environment and it is in very good condition. We do recommend that you bring a sheet to put over your mattress to make you even more comfortable! Check out our packing list for more tips.
Must I know how to build?
No! Our master carpenters will help you every step of the way and will show you how to do everything you need to know. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, they will be happy to help!
What does the builder fee cover?
Our builder fee is usually $50 per person but may fluctuate per build. The fee covers all necessary expenses for the weekend. This includes lunch and dinner on Saturday as well as breakfast and lunch on Sunday. We also provide a wide range of snacks and water for builders throughout the day. The fee additionally covers the porta-potty that is brought directly to the build site. Lastly, the fee includes the cost of accommodation to stay at Casa Hogar de los Niños. The orphanage provides us with showers, flushing toilets, and plenty of mattresses. Sometimes we treat our builders to a popsicle break, depending on the availability of the popsicle man!
If you would like anything in addition to what the builder fee covers, we recommend bringing a small amount of money to buy some treats at a nearby store or while waiting in the border line on your way home. You may use American dollars in Mexico.
How do we get there?
Each building team will select a few drivers to use their own vehicles for transportation. We will be driving in a caravan, marked with window paint and flags. Drivers will never drive alone, we will travel in a caravan from the meeting point in San Diego to the build site, from the build site to the orphanage and back, and finally to the border. We also use walkie-talkies to ensure that the caravan stays together.
Each driver will need to purchase their own Mexican liability insurance for the weekend.
We will park all cars very close to the build site, and community members will help watch over them for safety. At night, we will park in the orphanage compound which is very secured and has a security guard on call 24/7.
If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us!