Project Vida Digna [PVD] began ministering in 1997 to women and their families who settled in and around dumpsites near the U.S. border in Matamoros, Mexico. PVD addresses the health care needs of the women and their families living in the villages. Other vital needs are addressed such as medicine, food, clothing, school supplies, and the upgrading of existing housing.
The International Plunge took place with PVD from 2004 to 2007. Student "Plungers" participated in one (or both) of the following components:
Building Project --
Most young families in Matamoros have five to seven members per family. They live in one-room structures built with make shift materials. PVD has been instrumental in assisting some of the families to rehab their existing homes. Upgrading walls with plywood, erecting a tin roof, and pouring a cement floor were some of the efforts undertaken to improve the quality of life for the families. CNR Plunge participants assisted in a building project supervised by PVD among the poorest of the poor within the villages that PVD serves.
Health Education Workshops --
RN/nursing students were invited to work at the Brownsville Community Center every morning. Afternoons encompassed workshops at Project Vida Digna in Matamoros, as well as additional group health responsibilities. Registered nurse students attending the Plunge performed health services as a clinical placement option.
Students who attended the International Plunge offered the following reflections:
- “I want to come back and do more.”
- “I came to see the face of God in these people of Mexico.”
- “In the midst of this poverty, these beautiful people still care for each other.”
- “My car, my apartment, my things – they all don’t matter. It’s helping these people that matters.”
- “There is no poverty of the soul in the people of Matamoros and Brownsville.”