Life ends, but assistance to programming continues–thanks to supporter’s help

Pat Dingels

Pat Dingels’ positive influence will continue to promote growth and assistance. [Contributed photo]

Our friends on Facebook saw Border Partners’ supporter Pat Dingels’ positive “thumb’s up” frequently. No matter what the status update, we could count on her “liking” our news about Palomas Oilcolth Designs. Her encouragement was unflagging, and she was a good customer of their products, too. When we received word of her death last month, we grieved. But Pat’s support of our programming continues, nevertheless, and in a unique way.

One of our unfulfilled wishes of recent years has been for a golf cart. We can envision so many practical uses for this simple form of transportation in the town of Puerto Palomas, a place where many people don’t own personal cars. When we learned that Pat bequeathed her golf cart to us, we hastened to transport it from it’s storage place in Arizona to its new home, serving residents on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Because this golf cart is electric, it roughly costs only 2 cents per mile to operate. Our truck, in comparison, costs about 20 cents per mile to operate. Although the cart must be recharged after about 80 miles of use, it will still save us money. Moreover, it uses no gas and produces no emissions.

golf cart

Gardening coordinators are eager to use the golf cart to visit home gardens in Palomas.

Our new golf cart will allow Border Partners’ local coordinators to get about town efficiently: be it to visit gardens, get to meetings or assist local residents in need. Since our mission promotes sustainable technology, we plan to equip the cart with solar panels, so it won’t need fossil fuel. Palomas’s bountiful sunshine can power the cart’s trips about town. Then, it will leave no carbon footprint at all!

When people die, their influence to effect good continues nevertheless in the memorial assistance that is contributed in their name. No surprise that people have designated Border Partners as the beneficiary of memorials in Pat’s name. This funding will promote a better standard of living for people on the border who, through no fault of their own, lack many advantages. Additionally, her family donated to us her clothing as well as dishes, pots and pans and garden tools.

The sad occasion of Pat Dingel’s death calls us to thank her and her family for their ongoing support that we so deeply appreciate. Our work, now newly augmented, will continue. And, while it is true that no one can take Pat’s place, we hope that the inspiration of Pat’s example will inspire us all to remember those less fortunate and redouble our efforts to assist them.


Palomas health promotoras open a new office

new office

Promotoras of health in Palomas, a grassroots corps of community volunteers to improve health, have opened a new office, providing a permanent presence. They provide health services such as blood pressure monitoring, as seen here.

The community health promoters (promotoras) of Puerto Palomas have opened an office to serve as their headquarters as well as an office from which they will serve the public. Centrally located in Palomas, the office allows the promotoras to offer regular office hours to the public. Promotoras will provide health services of blood sugar monitoring and blood pressure testing and provide health information there. All services and information are free of charge.

The new promotora office is clean, attractive and outfitted with health equipment and literature. Tables and chairs offer an environment conducive to health education meetings. With a computer and printer, the promotoras are able to produce documents and administrate their program. For a virtual tour of the new health office, visit our photo set on Flickr.

posting signIn a small community like Palomas, word of mouth will quickly spread the news of this new source of health assistance, consultation and first aid. However the promotoras also proactively engaged local artist Dagoberto Rodriguez to produce a display sign to clearly designate their office. We were on the scene to see the sign installed.

The promotoras designed a plan of action for 2014 which outlines their ambitious goals and upcoming activities. Ongoing fundraising will let them carry out their projects and potentially add internet service to their office. Promotoras seek that ongoing financial support from the Palomas business community.

The promotoras have also done a remarkable job of securing the contributions of pro bono services for Palomas children in need from local dentists and opticians.

The Columbus Luna County Palomas Binational Health Council (COBINA) provides major funding for the promotoras activities in Palomas.  Border Partners supplements that funding by matching the contributions that the promotoras themselves raise in Palomas. Border Partners is proud to provide financial help to underwrite these activities that improve public health. Donations to Border Partners that are designated to further the promotoras‘ work are welcome.

WILL volunteers’ home repair project benefits a Palomas family

home repair recipients

WILL volunteers and Border Partners gave a single-parent family’s home some much-needed repairs.

Volunteers from Silver City, NM teamed with Border Partners to complete an intensive one-day home repair project and improve one family’s life. Volunteers from the Western Institute for Lifelong Learning [WILL], a grass-roots education organization, repaired one Puerto Palomas family’s substandard home last week.

Six WILL workers, many of whom were new volunteers for us, met us in downtown Palomas midmorning on January 29. Each volunteer contributed not only their time but also a stipend of $20 for home repair supplies and costs.

towel on holeBorder Partners staffer Marisol Guillen sifted through many needs in Palomas and selected a family whose home lacked a functioning roof and several panes of window glass. Winter cold also poured past the orange bath towel that futilely hung across the six square-foot hole in the small building’s rear wall.

The eldest son of this single-parent family died last year when the teen’s sports injury, untreated due to the family’s lack of funds, led to hip cancer. Grief and its accompanying depression ensued. The mother and her four surviving children became further mired as trauma left them unable to cope with stresses of daily life.

workers at work

Workers together tackled a challenge, and accomplished the most urgent repairs to the humble adobe home.

WILL volunteer workers–assisted by Border Partners personnel, volunteers from Palomas, and family members–moved four truckloads of rubble and debris from the yard to the landfill. This was a monumental improvement for a family lacking transportation. They filled the gaping hole in the rear wall and replaced or patched the broken window panes.

So much water entered the home through its leaky roof that the family had actually installed an eave trough inside the home to collect it. Volunteers covered that roof with corrugated tin panels and removed tree branches that had damaged the roofing. They also trimmed tree branches that had entwined with the wire delivering electricity to the house.

This home repair project reinforces Border Partners’ conviction that cooperative efforts can improve life in the border community. A slide show of images from the work repair day [CLICK HERE] is posted on the Border Partners Flickr account.

We heartily thank WILL volunteers Eric Ockerhausen, Dominick Bassi, Andy Payne, Chris Allen, Ann Hedlund, and Tom Bates.

WILL offers ongoing learning experiences for learners of any age. A second WILL February 21. In addition, a WILL tour of our projects in Palomas is slated for March 7. WILL originates in Grant County, New Mexico and is a partner of Western New Mexico University in Silver City.

Public meeting considers Mexican non-profit status for Border Partners

By Suzanne Dulle

Border Partners’ stated purpose of creating new possibilities and self-confidence among community members in the small border town of Puerto Palomas appeared in an exciting new way at a meeting at the public library on January 17. Twenty-one individuals accepted the community-wide invitation circulated by Border Partners to come together:

  • to discuss current projects,
  • to assess their effectiveness and possible need for changes and
  • to discuss future activities.

Juan Velasco, an active Border Partners supporter and volunteer, facilitated the meeting, along with Border Partners founder Peter Edmunds. As a native Spanish speaker from Bolivia, “el Boliviano,” as Juan is called, stimulated honest and enthusiastic discussion among the Mexican attendees.

Community Meeting 1-17-14

Twenty-one Palomas residents responded to Border Partners’ open invitation to review and to discuss activities in Puerto Palomas.

The group was unanimous in expressing their gratitude to Border Partners’ US- based founders, Peter and Polly Edmunds, as well as the many volunteers who have dedicated years of work and service to their community.

As the meeting turned toward the “what next” agenda items, the excitement in the room became palpable. A new level of possibilities began to grow. How could current programs become more sustainable on the Mexican side of the border and what additional help could they themselves provide to allow for their own hopes and dreams for a better future to become a reality?

The idea of creating an asociación civil, a Mexican not-for-profit organization, was met with
enthusiastic support. Such an organization would qualify for funds and grants from the Mexican government and industries. This revenue could supplement the funding and support already provided by the US-side of Border Partners.


The ensuing “we can do this” discussions considered a new Health Center, a Senior Citizens Center, perhaps even a bank! The community garden program could perhaps expand. With a nod of approval from Peter, Juan responded to the group’s request for more training with the commitment that he and Peter would provide small business development courses in the near future.

The ideas seemed to tumble one upon the other as the meeting came to an energetic close. The group set a meeting date for March 17 to formalize their preliminary discussions.

To see the sense of empowerment that permeated the attendees was most rewarding. Truly, this was a red-letter day for Border Partners!

Suzanne Dulle, resident of New Mexico, is a member of the Board of Directors for Border Partners and is also a regular volunteer for the organization.

New Palomas Mayor: Precipitates Both a Crisis and a Gift

Last Friday, we visited city hall to meet Puerto Palomas’ newly-elected mayor, Estanislao Sanchez Bujanda.

We introduced ourselves and conducted our routine business. But then the Mayor told us he planned to ask Border Partners to move out of the city buildings we use: the funeral building and coop.

What bad news!! We need these buildings for our woodworking shop and space for the Promotoras, the oilcloth group and Marisol’s exercise class to meet.

After much discussion with him, we finally suggested that the Mayor visit the buildings and see what we do there.

“OK,” he agreed, “I’ll be there in one hour.”  

Acting quickly, we summoned everyone:
  • our staff and representatives,
  • the oilcloth group,
  • the promotoras,
  • the gardeners, the sewing class, the cooking class,
  • the exercise class.
Over 20 people were waiting when the mayor arrived. And–almost every one spoke up to say what they did there and how much they valued Border Partners’ programs.
Mayor Sanchez meeting

Townspeople hurried to an impromptu meeting with new Palomas Mayor Sanchez to explain the importance of allowing Border Partners’ use of buildings owned by the city of Pto. Palomas.

Mayor Sanchez [far left in photo above] toured our beautiful demonstration gardens and the nearby ed center. His eyes were opened to the many ways we use those buildings.

“I had no idea!” he exclaimed.

And, as a result, we can stay!

The community immediately mobilized to intervene, and that made the difference. 

This speaks powerfully: Border Partners plays a vital part in their lives. They literally dropped everything and responded immediately to speak this truth to the town’s chief executive.

Knowing this is the best gift we could receive this season!

Border Partners’ gratitude overflows

We give thanksAs the U.S. takes a holiday this week to give thanks, Border Partners shines a grateful spotlight on the many groups and people who have enriched life on the border with their time, money and other gifts. With this wonderful support, the people of Puerto Palomas have been able to accomplish many of their goals. This progress would not have happened without these generous donations received during 2013:

  • Eric Patterson and Unicorn Press of Silver City, NM donated a large printing job.
  • Silver City Bikeworks gave us 35 bicycles.
  • Gila Friends paid for supplies and food for summer school.
  • Many generous individuals gave us bikes, computers, printers, school supplies, books, garden tools, tee shirts, winter coats and blankets.
  • The Silver City Rotary Club wrote a grant proposal to Rotary International that was funded and will buy the equipment to outfit our Community Education Center!
  • The NM Dept. of Health gave the Promotoras 60 bike helmets for their Community Bike Ride!

In addition to donations of these gifts-in-kind, many people donated their time:

  • Sherry Bassi, Christine Brickley and Rachel Owen, faculty in the School of Nursing at Western New Mexico University met with the Promotoras five times this year to teach them nursing skills.
  • Helena Myers gave countless hours to guide our gardening staff in Palomas.
  • Billie Greenwood masterfully managed our website.
  • Dom Bassi volunteered twice each month at the Ford Primary School.
  • Julia Bruner mailed packages for Palomas Oilcloth Designs.
  • Bill Knauss has produced many buckets of bio-char for our gardens.
  • Don Farber can do just about anything and is ready to help most any time.
  • Jim Olsen made all kinds of things for Palomas out of wood and lends us his trailer.

And of course, the financial contributions of many generous and altruistic individuals, families, couples and groups enable the programs and operations of Border Partners to function. We value every contribution and do our best to multiply the goodness of the gifts we receive by improving life for people who can use assistance.


Promotoras sponsor successful October Health Fair

blood pressure check

Promotoras offered free blood pressure checks for all at the October Health Fair.

Our health promoters [promotoras] sponsored a free health fair at Pancho Villa Park in Pto. Palomas this month on Friday, October 4 and Saturday, October 5. With financial assistance from the Columbus, Luna County-Palomas Binational Health Council and donations from businesses in Pto. Palomas, they were able to provide a wide variety of health-related activities, open to all at no cost to participants.

Mayor checks gluose

Pto. Palomas Mayor Chacon visited the booth to have his glucose checked.

In addition to the blood pressure screening (as seen in the photo at the top of this post, the  promotoras offered blood glucose screening and a wide variety of written health information.  They also arranged for free haircuts to emphasize the importance of personal hygiene.

Local participants enjoyed nutritious, healthy, and delicious home-made burritos, composed from whole wheat tortilla, beans, veggies and cheese. There were games for the children, and zumba dancing for everyone!

Even the local dogs could benefit from free rabies shots at the fair. It was an activity that assisted their owners, too.

On Friday, a mobile health clinic staffed with a doctor, a nurse, a dentist and free medications arrived from Chihuahua City to serve the Health Fair attendees.

The promotoras were outstanding in every way, including their professional appearance in red shirts and name badges.

Click HERE to visit our Flickr set to see photos of many aspects of this wonderful event.


Putting sustainable technology on display in Palomas

solar water heater

Border Partners produced this solar water heater, a device offering great utility to local residents. Most Palomas citizens do not use gas water heaters due to the utility expenses incurred in their operation.

It was time to put our work on display, and the public responded! On Wednesday, Border Partners held an exhibition of recently completed sustainable technology projects in Pto. Palomas. The exposition showcased a variety of projects in the area around the Public Library.

Our new addition to the library which is constructed of papercrete blocks took center stage. Papercrete blocks, locally produced by Border Partners, are lightweight, highly insulating, low cost and utilize recyclable material.  The addition’s roof is made of ferrocement, a building material known for reduced maintenance costs and long lifetime in comparison with traditional construction methods. This methodology reduces the cost of roofing far beyond any current methods utilized in Palomas.

A solar water heater and the graywater system for the library bathroom were also on display. In addition, participants visited the onsite demonstration garden where some of the raised beds utilize drip irrigation and a large tank collects and stores rainwater. The earth on this site has been shaped to drain rainwater away from the walls nearby where they had been eroding and is directed toward the garden.

Border Partners staff from Palomas led visitors through the exhibits, explaining the processes and their corresponding advantages.

We were delighted with a turnout that included Mayor Angel Chacon and two of his staff members, Maria Sisneros, an environmental engineer from the US EPA, and Jorge Hernandez from the Border Environment  Cooperation Commission. The Secundaria Principal and teachers brought their students. Two representatives  from the Small Business Development Center at Western New Mexico University as well as many interested adults from both Palomas and Columbus.

Visitors enjoyed snacks that were prepared and served from a solar cooker.

All projects on display were designed and built to be low cost and to conserve the Earth’s natural resources. Many projects use recycled materials. These projects were funded in part by a grant from the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission and the US EPA.

You bet we’re betting on Palomas! Help us promote that.


Casino Night flier

The Silver City Rotary Club is still helping us outfit our new Palomas Education Center, and you can join in, too!

We hope our supporters in the Southwest will add this event to their summer calendars! We are planning on a great time.

Casino Night ** Saturday, June 15, 2013 ** 7 pm -11 pm at Billy’s Restaurant, Highway 180 E., Silver City, NM  in the Governor’s Room
$25 donation.  Proceeds to Benefit the Education Center of Palomas, Mexico
Western wear encouraged. Food and drink available.
Live Music in the Beer Garden
Tickets at the door, or contact Mark Richard (575) 537-5988 or Kathy Eaton at for advanced tickets.

By sharing this post, you can help us spread the word. Invite your co-workers, friends and family. If you have a Facebook or Twitter account, you just need to click the links on the bottom on this post.

Also, you can download the flier you see on this post by clicking here on this linkIt will automatically download to your computer. Then simply click on the link to open the file. When you mouse over the image, click the “Print file” icon that appears [it looks like a printer!]” [Second from the left in the row, as you see here!]

adobe pdf icons

You’ll print up a single page flier that’s post-able in any public place!

If you can help us promote this fundraiser, we will appreciate it so much.

Thanks for all you do! You’re making a big difference

Palomas principal appreciates help that makes a concrete difference

school food program

Ford Elementary School principal Angel Garibay displays canned food Border Partners deliveredi

We at Border Partners prefer to partner with existing institutions in order to provide material assistance. Institutions already in place are more familiar with the needs of the people and have also determined the best way to address those needs. One partner institution with whom we’ve developed a warm relationship is the Ford Elementary School in Palomas.

When we were making a short pre-Christmas visit to Ford, Angel Garibay, the Ford principal, seemed delighted to have the chance to thank Border Partners and its supporters for the concrete support his school has received from them. The Principal in fact immediately launched into a beautiful and impromptu statement of appreciation when the microphone was passed to him.

We present to you his statement –translated whole and entire. It is you who make this good work possible through your donations. We want you to know how much it is appreciated.


I appreciate the work that Border Partners has done, especially in education. Their support of us [at Ford School] has been very good.

They have especially helped us in two areas.

First: in the area of computer technology, their “computer team” helped us acquire the equipment. Now the children have a computer teacher, and they also have the machines so that they can work.

The other area—one that’s also very important–is that every month Border Partners supports us so that we can provide food for the students. That means that they bring us eggs, potatoes, fruit, cheese, a variety of canned products—and all of this is for the good  of the children.

The children are eating breakfast here between 7:30 and 8 AM and they eat another meal here at school between 1:30-2 PM. This would not be possible without the assistance you’ve given us.

At this point in the end of the year, hope that God will bless every single person who has helped us through these projects. We also hope that 2013 is filled with fruitfulness for you all.


Ford students at garden

Ford Students are successful gardeners.

Now that 2013 is underway, we’ve begun and accomplished two more important projects at Ford. In addition to the new school garden plots that are already producing (see photo, right) we also installed a solar cooker. The school food program will be able to use the cooker, utilizing free sunshine rather than the expensive utilities of gas and electricity, to provide warm food for the children.

You help allows us to augment the important work of the Ford educators, enriching the lives of the young students. Thanks for your support!