Written by bobjohnson on May 21st, 2016

On Thursday morning, bright and early at 7 am, Pat Knight, Janis Morrell, Randy and myself headed off to El Tuito to pick up Ignacio, and two fellows from Vancouver Island- Chris and Ryan. Chris and Ryan had driven an ambulance down from the Island, and were then met at the Mexican border by Ignacio, who had the proper paperwork, to bring the vehicle into Mexico. The ambulance was loaded with wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, scrubs, uniforms etc., and this vehicle will be housed at the new medical clinic in the village of Mayto. Oh how this facility and vehicle will help the people there! A doctor will be stationed on site as well, so all bases will be covered. So, it was a long journey for Chris and Ryan, and a commitment for Ignacio, as well. Wonderful to meet these fellows, who are already planning to get more ambulances, to transport down.

Our first destination was Llano Grande, to see the progress of the new junior high classroom construction. It’s really happening, and the ribbon cutting is on track for January 26. The El Tuito Rotarians were there to host a posada- Christmas party, for the village children, who have never had a celebration of this type. It was a special day for them! They sang for us, performed a play, and broke a few piñatas. As usual, the children were in their finest, and groomed for the occasion. Language is never a barrier.

We then headed off to the village of Playitas, to see the completed renovations of the primary school. Looks like a new school, and the children can now eat their lunch under a beautiful covered patio area. The new roof on the school, will provide safe shelter, in case of a hurricane.

Enjoy these pictures of our great (and very long) day. It is always a pleasure to be with Ignacio, and how fortunate our club is to have him as a dedicated partner, for our projects. Also appreciate the continued support from Pat and Janis.

To all of you, Feliz Navidad y Prospero Ano Nuevo!

Carolina & Randy

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What a Great Year for Sunrise Rotary Medicine Hat, Saamis Rotary plus Friends and Family, etc

Written by bobjohnson on March 19th, 2015

At 9 am on February 20th, 35 of us boarded the school bus sent from El Tuito, to pick us up, in Puerto Vallarta. A very busy day for all, as we travelled around Cabo Corrientes, to the most recent two projects. At both locations, we were greeted by the villagers, and the beautiful children.

The new school/teacherage at Los Ratrojos was our first stop, and there we looked at the finished project, and concluded our visit, with a piñata celebration, for the children. The cameras were going steady, and we were able to share the outcome of what Medicine Hat Sunrisers have been involved with internationally, for 10 years now. The name of the school stands proudly, and two teachers each have a comfortable room, to call home.

Our second destination was the village of Llano Grande, to see the finished teacherage, which has become the new home for two teachers, one of whom has a new baby girl. Two beautiful plaques recognizing the Sunrise Rotary Club, and the Saamis Rotary Club, had been placed on the front wall of the teacherage. The local folks were there in force, and so appreciative of our efforts. Again, the children enjoyed a piñata breaking, which was again entertaining. They prepared a wonderful lunch, with cold drinks, as it was a hot one out there. While there, we saw the need for an additional classroom, as the secondaria students have their classes outside under a tree. Perhaps this could be something our committee would consider, as our next project.

We made our way back to El Tuito, where we were treated to more food and drink, compliments of the El Tuito Rotary Club, and entertainment by the local dance group. How beautiful these dancers were, sharing their cultural dances, with such colorful costumes. The little performers were priceless. Ignacio was a wonderful host, and the capable organizer of this day. Everyone who joined us, had a full day, and for many of them, a very good insight into the Mexican Schools Project. We had Rotarians from Michigan, Saskatoon, Puerto Vallarta, and of course, Medicine Hat.

Enjoy these pics, and feel a great sense of pride, as to how we have made great advancements in the area of education. Not only that, but because of the efforts of Puerto Vallartan Rotarians, Malcolm Laird and Sandra Stolz, many of the communities now have fresh clean drinking water, with the filters provided to them.

See you all soon!

Caroline & Randy Vandean


From an Old Machine Shop to a New School in Los Ratrojos

From an Old Machine Shop to a New School in Los Ratrojos

Before and After: Good Friends...Teacher and his daughter"s old housing in Llano Grande

Before and After: Good Friends…Teacher and his daughter”s old housing in Llano Grande

Before and After: Good Friends...Teacher and his daughter"s new housing in Llano Grande

Before and After: Good Friends…Teacher and his daughter”s new housing in Llano Grande

Piñata celebration by the children for the new school...and of course candy!

Piñata celebration by the children for the new school…and of course candy!

Bike Ride for Two

Written by bobjohnson on February 1st, 2015

Bike Ride for Two

Mexican Schools Project 2014

Written by bobjohnson on January 15th, 2015

Mayto in Cabo Corrientes, Jalisco is the largest community in this poor rural area and the municipality wanted to build a health centre here to support 20 other nearby villages. There was also a need in this community to build permanent housing for the teachers who were sleeping on the school floors…..

The Vancouver Island Rotary took on these projects, as well as building 3 new bathrooms at nearby schools, and soon an ambulance with much needed items will be on its way to Mexico..

At the end of February a group of Rotarians and friends will be going down to Mexico to help put the final touches on these projects.

Quite a year to say the least.



New Health Clinic in Mayto

New Health Clinic in Mayto


The teacherage

The teacherage

Pink Ladies to the Rescue

Written by bobjohnson on October 30th, 2014

Dear Bob Johnson
We are the “Pink Ladies”, an eighth grade robotics team from Sequoia Middle School in California, USA. We are interested in the Mexican Schools Project and we would like to get involved. We hope to make it to the First Lego League Robotics Championships. This year’s First Lego League Robotics Championship topic is how to improve learning In the 21st century. For our project we chose rural schools in Mexico, because we noticed the students weren’t getting the education needed. We have seen your blog and have seen the impact your organization has on kids’ lives and want to help make a difference in kids’ lives too. So far we have raised more than $100 and this is only the beginning. We are planning to have a school wide fundraiser called “Pennies for Pesos” and want to raise over $1000. We would like to know if there is a current project you are working on that we can support. If so, could you give us any information you have? We hope you take the time and reply back to us and have updates with you in the meantime. Thank You.

The “Pink Ladies”
Gabriela Andrade
Leslie Ramirez
Valeria Ibarra
Angeles Lopez
Leonor Andrade

Pink Ladies

Projects update

Written by bobjohnson on June 8th, 2014


Three new bathrooms were built.

The Cumberland Rotary gave funds to build a new bathroom at the primary school in Chimo where 16 students attend.  The old bathroom had been condemned.

Qualicum Beach Sunrise  Rotary raised funds to build a new bathroom  at the primary school in the village of Playitas where 12 students attend.

Strathcona Sunrise Rotary also raised funds to build a new bathroom in the village  of Ixtlahuahuey where 15  primary students attend.

Both of these last 2 schools had no bathrooms at all and used this for a bathroom:

Medicine Hat Sunrise Rotary put on a BIG fundraiser and raised enough money to build a new school in the village of Rastrojos where they were using an old abandoned leaky workshop for a school.


Medicine Hat Sunrise Rotary has again raised funds and will be helping to build a house for 3 teachers in the village of Llano Grande  (the teachers had been staying at different villagers’ homes)

Strathcona Sunrise Rotary will be building a new bathroom at the school in Chacala.

Cumberland Rotary will be building a bathroom at the school in Mascotita.

Qualicum Beach Sunrise will be building a bathroom for the school in Ipala.

We thank everyone who helped with these projects and especially all the community members who volunteer their time to build these schools/house and bathrooms with the help of the local municipality.

A Pinata Smashing Fundraiser

Written by bobjohnson on March 12th, 2014

Thank you Riverview School for supporting the Mexican Schools Project!

Hola Ignacio y Bob,

We have just finished our school book fair.  We called it “Fiesta Mexicana de Libros!

We hold the fair each year to provide books for our school library.  This time we added something different to help others.  We made pinatas and sold tickets to students to have a chance to hit the pinata.  What fun we had with this!  We raised $104.00
(Canadian) for the Mexican Schools project.

“Convoy of Compassion” featured by InFocus magazine

Written by bobjohnson on January 3rd, 2014

Out recent trip to Mexico was featured in InFocus magazine.  Here is the link:

Island Rotarians head south of the border to help the Mexican Schools Project

Convoy needs your help

Written by bobjohnson on October 6th, 2013

The Comox Valley Record has done an article on the Mexican Schools Project.

Convoy needs your help.

Indiegogo presentation

Written by bobjohnson on September 19th, 2013

You can see the entire proposal on the Indiegogo website.