So let's start by where I was: Ensenada is located in the Baja California "state" of Mexico. It's on the Baja peninsula about 2 hours south of San Diego. The landscape between San Diego and Ensenada is filled with dry, dusty, rugged mountains and hills on the one side, and the Pacific Ocean on the other. The road we drove followed the coast and provided some amazing views of Mountain and ocean. The contrasts struck me almost immediately: Steep mountains and flat beaches butting up to one another; the cool blue of the ocean and the hot, dry, brown rocks. Homes were either large colorful stucco haciendas and vacation homes, or they were small shacks made of scraps of wood, bricks or whatever else was available.
Ensenada itself is a large tourist port, and so there were things like Walmart and Costco and Burger King's. We stayed in the southern part of the city though where it was much poorer and more barren.
Our hosts, Rick and Tammy Romano, have it as their goal to provide short term mission opportunities for Americans and to make a long term impact in the lives of the Mexican people. They work with 7 pastors of small churches in the Ensenada area. During their busy season Rick and Tammy have groups come in to do construction projects (building churches and homes) and to work with children at Vacation Bible Schools at the different churches.
We stayed in small dorm style apartments right off the main road that runs through Ensenada. The dorms I was in had 3 or 4 rooms that held 8 people each (4 sets of bunk beds). The men from our team stayed in apartments across the street -- apparently ours were quite luxurious compared to theirs! :)
Our meeting room, lunch room, and "hang out" spot was about a block away in the 2nd story of a building. The space included a rather large open air porch area, a large main room / kitchen / dining room, and three smaller rooms used for offices, housing for the interns and storage.
The weather all week was perfect. Every morning we woke to clouds, but by 11 AM each day the sky was bright blue. During the day temps may have topped out in the 80's, but because it was so dry it was pleasant. Working in the sun was hot, but breezes usually cooled things down. At night the temps went down to the 60's -- again, very pleasant.
I'll add more later about what our team actually DID while we were there.