Every time they go in the front door of their ?casita? in Colima, Mexico, Jose and Maria Beltran and their children go by a tile plaque that says ?Bandon-by-the-Sea Rotary Club and Brooking Harbor Rotary Club.?
The misspelling aside, the two South Coast Rotary clubs have their name on one of the newest 25 ?little houses? built in Colonia Rotario.
?I had the opportunity to visit the site early in January,? reports William Mickelberry of Albany, who helped organize the Oregon donations to the project. ?It was heart warming to see the effort the new owners have put into their new homes ? trees and gardens planted in front.?
The Beltran family moved in to their home last August, including their children, Maribel, 7, and Jose, 2, along with Maria?s brother, Edgar, 13.
Like the other 24 families in the project, they had been involved in a work party the day before to paint the houses. The men also worked to add lean-tos to the homes for the outdoor kitchens with wood cook-fires that their wives prefer to electric or gas stoves.
The 25 casitas were the first phase of a 50-home project. Each of the lucky families won their home in a lottery conducted by the Rotary Club of Colima and the Welfare Department. To qualify, the families had to be poor, homeless, have children in school, no alcoholism, and no relatives in Rotary Project Amigo or the Welfare Department.
The Bandon and Brookings Rotary clubs donated $250 in 1999 toward the project, organized by the Rotary Club of Colima. The funds were matched twice through other Rotary programs, creating a fund of $2,000 for each house.
Other Oregon clubs participating in the first phase included Bay Area, Coal Creek, Coos Bay-North Bend, Crook County, Gold Beach, Port Orford and Springfield-Twin Rivers.
The coordinating agency in Colima, called Rotary Project Amigo, has been operating in the Colima area for 18 years, with a goal of helping the poor children. Other projects include services to orphanages, scholarships for school and college, medical and dental clinics, homework clubs for migrant children, and an annual Christmas party for the children of the community.
Colima is located on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, about 150 miles south of Guadalajara.