Posted on Nov 29, 2014
The Old Mission Rotary Foundation funded the design and construction
of a a metal shade structure on a concrete pad at the Salvador Diaz
School. The structure allows the school children to eat lunch protected
from the hot sun of the Baja summer and the rains of the winter.
What is VIIDAI?
VIIDAI (Viajes Interinstitucional de Integracion Docente, Asistencial y de Investigacion) VIIDAI - Celebrating 15 Years of service to Baja This story is the result of a 15 year ongoing commitment by Old Mission Rotary with the support of fellow District 5340 Rotary clubs in supporting VIIDAI, a joint effort of UCSDSchool of Medicine, SDSU School of Public Health and the UABC Medical School in Tijuana. Twice a year, 150 facility and students from the three Universities, and members of Old Mission Rotary Club spend several days in Colonia Lomas de San Ramon to provide medical, dental and public healthservices to the Native Mexicans who live at the Colonia. Regular visits have resulted in a high level of trust and partnership. The community leaders greet them enthusiastically and help identify community needs, provide what spaceand resources they can, and assist with follow-up so that the projects’ benefits continue after the VIIDAI team has gone. An unusual feature of the VIIDAIis the partnering with US and Ensenada based Rotary Clubs, which greatly expanded the impact of the program.
Fall trips focus on epidemiology topics and Spring trips on health behavior. Like most colonias, Colonia Lomas de San Ramon, started as a squatter  neighborhood and grew into a town of approximately 4,000 people. The population is primarily migrant and seasonal farm workers and their families. Like many poor areas of Mexico, water, sewage, garbage collection, electricity, and other basic forms of infrastructure are often lacking. There is limited medical careavailable but just difficult for the poorest members of the community to access it.
VIIDAI Team findings include: Nearly half the woman and children were anemic. Poor diet and nutrition were documented, as well as a heavy burden of intestinalparasites related to lack of sanitation. After the school kitchen was in operation, Anthropology students analyzed the meals and recipes and trained the school cooks and parents. More recently, the VIIDAI Team showed the prevalence of anemia has fallen 50%.
This Spring the SDSU class took a detailed assessment of the community’s nutrition after a previous trip revealed (and published) that 1 in 4 adults are diabetic.
Seasoned Rotarian Bob James called the Old Mission trip to San Quentin the “most amazing Rotary experience he has ever had!” A group of Rotarians, spouses and friends from Old Mission Rotary traveled deep into Baja in the Rotary District van to visit the Salvador Diaz School at the Lomas de San Ramon Colonia. Old Mission first became involved with this agricultural worker’s settlement through VIIDAI, a public  health project organized by SDSU, UCSD and the Autonomous University of Baja California.
Ever since, we have been working to improve the lives of the people of this poor but proud community of Mexican Indians originally from Oaxaca Mexico.  Our most recent projects were the funding of the construction of an 1800 square foot permanent outdoor metal shade structure, the purchase of an oven for the communal kitchen which feeds 350 people per day and the painting of the Salvador Diaz school.
What impressed our team the most over the four day visit was how the entire community turned out to paint both the inside and outside of the school. With our new oven installed and working, Roberta Hartley and Diana Trefflich conducted a cake decorating class. The enthusiastic women of the Colonia will use these new baking and decorating skills to sell cakes for events taking place underneath their new shade structure! 
Old Mission Rotary is very proud of the team that made the long and dusty drive down to San Quentin!