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El Salvador for kids 2014


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Kid friendly version of El Salvador 2014 presentation by St Paul's Lutheran Church

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El Salvador for kids 2014

  1. 1. Our Trip To El Salvador, 2014
  2. 2. El Salvador Situated on the Pacific coast of Central America, El Salvador has Guatemala to the west and Honduras to the north and east. It is the smallest of the Central American countries, with an area equal to that of Massachusetts, and it is the only one without an Atlantic coastline. Most of the country is on a fertile volcanic plateau about 2,000 feet high.
  3. 3. Environmental Disasters Effect El Salvador In 1998, Hurricane Mitch devastated the country, leaving 200 dead and over 30,000 homeless. In Jan. and Feb. 2001, major earthquakes struck El Salvador, killing over 12,000 people and leaving many more homeless. An even worse disaster befell the country in the summer when a severe drought destroyed 80% of the country's crops, causing famine in the countryside.
  4. 4. A land of many volcanoes! El Salvador's Chaparrastique volcano erupted Sunday, December 29, sending a dark cloud of ash miles into the sky, forcing thousands to evacuate from their homes and snarling travel in the Central American country as airlines canceled flights. This was only 90 miles away from our destination in San Salvador!
  5. 5. Arriving in El Salvador, on Friday, January 3, 2014 – Delayed 2 days! We arrived in El Salvador about 9:00 p.m. and had to collect our baggage, get through customs and meet up with our Pastor Joey “PJ” Bailey, van driver Oscar, and our interpreter Moses… Then we had load up the van with ALL our bags, about 24 total! By 11:00 pm. we arrived at Casa Concordia where Trini Olmedo had a light meal prepared for us – it was a long trip but so good to be back at the Casa and among our friends!
  6. 6. Casa Concordia, Our Home for 8 Days… Trinidad “Trini” Olmedo runs the Casa Concordia lodging where we stayed – she made sure all of our rooms were ready and our meals prepared every day! Several other groups stayed at Casa Concordia at the same time we were here… so Trini and her staff were VERY busy! Trini’s personal story is extremely compelling – go to this site to read about her life during the war
  7. 7. Day 1 … A visit to the Community of Fe y Esperanza – “Faith and Hope” During the civil war, this community housed over 500 refugees. Now there are far fewer residents but they are trying to subsist by farming with natural fertilizers and pesticides, maintaining a tilapia fish farm and raising chickens.
  8. 8. Cooking lunch… Most of the kitchens in this community are set up outside of the house because the cooking is done on an open fire…
  9. 9. Reminders of the civil war… Inside the church there are graphic reminders about the war, which many in this community suffered through and still remember vividly.
  10. 10. Our mission…Pure water and solar lights After a tour of the community, we assembled water filtration units, taught a class on how to use them, and distributed solar lights, clothing and toys to the folks at the church.
  11. 11. Day 2 - Out In the Salvadoran countryside, on our way to Chipilte community The area we visited is considered to be a Rain Forest… We saw everything from cactus to bamboo, poinsettia trees to sugar cane, and even some unusual types of pine trees!
  12. 12. Sugar Cane… Sugar cane is a major crop in El Salvador. When it is ready for harvest , the field is burned. Then the workers go into the blackened field to cut the cane. They work 12 hours a day and make 50 cents an hour – that’s only $6 a day for hard, dirty work. But they are happy to do what they can to make a living.
  13. 13. Helping the school in Chipilte… Part of our mission is to support the school and the students’ families with a Sponsorship program – which has been hugely successful! Each family receives $5 for their sponsored child, and the school receives $5 or $10 for needed supplies and educational materials…
  14. 14. A special day at the school in Chipilte! The school children had a special presentation prepared just for us! Here the students are doing a traditional folkloric dance where the girls are chased by a little “torito”…
  15. 15. Students at the school in Chipilte We were treated to other songs and dances, presentations and a tour of the school’s facilities.
  16. 16. A school in El Salvador… This school has only 3 big rooms with some desks and shelves for supplies. Another building has a row of computers for students to use. Students are done with school after Grade 9, unless they want to continue their education.
  17. 17. Life in the community of Chipilte… Chipilte is a very poor, rural community. Most homes are a made of a rough frame work with tin sheeting for walls and roof. Few homes have a water source and almost none have any electricity.
  18. 18. Inside the Home… Homes usually have only two or three living areas – a place outside to cook, a family area and a sleeping area. There is little furniture. Clothes are often just hung over a rope inside since there are no closets or dressers. Often a family of seven will live in a home this size…
  19. 19. In the Kitchen… This is how most women cook in Chipilte – over an open fire inside or outside near the house. Most meals consist of beans and rice every day. Chicken is the most common meat available.
  20. 20. Corn is a food staple in Salvador… Heaps of corn are stored by families in Chipilte. The corn is husked and shucked from the cob, then brought to a local mill where it is ground into cornmeal to make tortillas. Tortillas are served at virtually every meal.
  21. 21. A thriving garden… This year we again saw a large garden where there was nothing but bare ground 2 years ago Six women tend to the garden to produce tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage and other vegetables that can help feed the community and be sold at market, providing a small income for the families.
  22. 22. Bathroom facilities… This is a typical outhouse bathroom in the Salvadoran countryside – the “banos”. They are built so that there are several steps to walk up, as the ground is too hard to dig a hole down. The toilets are commonly concrete. The door on this one is broken…
  23. 23. Our Projects… One of out first projects last year was to build a floor for the community’s Sunday School room. The floor was just packed dirt which in the rainy season became a pool of muck and mud. A raised wood floor would make this room functional all year round!
  24. 24. Everybody Helps… The men of the community quickly learned how to run the power tools we purchased for them. Despite the language barrier, everybody understood the plan for the project and we had plenty of help to get the work done!
  25. 25. The new and improved school room… Here is how the Sunday School room looked when all the work was done! The chairs and tables were purchased by a member of our group when we visited last year… We also provided books and other educational resources, including a white board and a supply of markers.
  26. 26. The Projects Continue… The projects continued as a new walkway to the church was constructed. The rocky, slippery slope to Chipilte’s church was replaced with a set of gravel steps. Again, once we explained project, the men of Chipilte took over to get the job done!
  27. 27. The Finishing Touches… The church received a new coat of blue paint and a hand crafted cross was mounted over the entrance.
  28. 28. Last Year’s Project – Water filtration units! Like most rural Salvadoran communities, the water is NOT good water for drinking. As visitors, we were always careful to drink only bottled or purified water no matter where we were. But the community members have no choice but to drink, cook and wash with water laden with bacteria and contaminants, which creates health problems – many of them serious, especially in children and the elderly.
  29. 29. WavesForWater… The water filter units were purchased from WavesForWater, an organization whose goal is get portable water filters into countries that need them. Learn more about this wonderful organization at This year we found that the filters we installed last year were still running fine!  
  30. 30. Reconnecting with our friends in Chipilte… We had only one day to spend in Chipilte this year. After distributing the water filter replacements and more solar lights, clothing and toys, there was little time left to visit with the people here who have become our friends and treat us like family…
  31. 31. Day 3 – A Visit to Puxtan Puxtan is a remote mountain village still inhabited by the indigenous natives, who still live according to their traditional cultural practices and spiritual religious beliefs . We were welcomed with drum and flute music, and met by the spiritual healer who purified us with incense as we entered the village.
  32. 32. Clean water and solar lights for Puxtan… In all the communities we visited, our main mission was clean water and solar lights. Again we assembled the filtration units, explained their care and use, distributed lights as well as clothes, toys and other goods.
  33. 33. Providing Solar Lights for the communities… We partnered with LuminAid Lab, an organization which developed a unique solar lantern for distribution in third world countries. They generously donated 2 cases of solar lantern units to us to bring to Salvador
  34. 34. Day 4 – El Carrizel, another remote community… After spending the night in Santa Ana, we traveled the next day to El Carrizel, another remote farming community in the western part of El Salvador. Again, water filter systems and solar lights were our main focus, as well as distributing clothes and toys…And sharing a day meeting with new friends!
  35. 35. Sharing food and friendship… In every community we visited, the folks prepared a meal and shared it with us. We were never hungry when we traveled! This meal was similar to a tamale, made with cornmeal, wrapped and cooked in a leaf, served hot and was delicious!
  36. 36. And fresh coconut “milk” too… Really fresh, right off the tree! Cut open with a machete, the coconut provided both a beverage and fresh coconut “meat”, scooped out with part of the shell…
  37. 37. Day 5 - A Visit to Casa Esperanza…. Our delegation spent next day at Casa Esperanza – “Hope House” – a homeless shelter and soup kitchen. The shelter serves people who are often alcoholics, drug addicts, or are mentally ill and have no other place to go… Mostly the crowd is men, but there are often a few women and children that seek refuge here.
  38. 38. Sharing His Story… A few of the men at Casa Esperanza shared their stories with us. Many were just down on their luck having lost their jobs and homes. Some spoke English because they had lived in the U.S. but were deported back to El Salvador…
  39. 39. Lunch at Casa Esperanza We served lunch to about 75 people, mostly men. The food was purchased by our delegation, prepared by the Casa staff, and served by us. Today we brought chicken – a special treat! - along with mashed potatoes, a tortilla and a can of pop. It is the only hot meal most will have for a few days… Health items were passed out to the folks there and medical supplies were delivered to the small clinic housed at Esperanza.
  40. 40. Time for some Cultural Education… Here at Cuscatlan Park we viewed “The Wall of Remembrance”, a memorial dedicated to more than 25,000 men, women and children who died or disappeared during the civil war in El Salvador in the 1980’s.
  41. 41. Centro Monsenor Romero At the Romero Center on the UCA campus, we learned the story of six Jesuit priests who were murdered in 1989 by Salvadoran Federal troops… Also killed that night were a housekeeper and her young daughter.
  42. 42. Romero Chapel… The Romero Chapel on the UCA campus is home to these beautiful art works, created by a local Salvadoran artist, which depict the terrible impact of the war. The Peace Accord was signed just 20 years ago. Many Salvadorans who lived through the war still carry vivid memories, and scars, from this terrible time.
  43. 43. Day 6 – Loma de Ramos On our last day we headed for Loma de Ramos, a small mountainside village halfway up a volcano! It was too remote and rocky for our driver’s mini-van, so we went up the mountain in the back of two 4-wheel drive pick-up trucks…
  44. 44. The view going up the volcano… El Salvador is a beautiful country, and we enjoyed the view on our ride up the side of the volcano to the village of Loma de Ramos
  45. 45. A service at the church in Loma de Ramos… We attended a church service that included 3 Baptisms, 3 First Communions and 2 Confirmations! There was singing (in Spanish), celebrating and fellowship!
  46. 46. After church, some entertainment! After the service was over, we were treated to some traditional folkloric dancing, and a humorous dance presentation by two of the young students… And then, of course, we shared a delicious meal with the people in the community!
  47. 47. Always remembered… Gathering in the school for our meal and presentations, we saw even here a grim reminder of the civil war that cost so many lives. The Loma de Ramos community was created when, during the war, people were forced higher and higher into the mountains to escape terror and death at the hands of the military.
  48. 48. The last of the solar lights and water filters… The last of the solar lights were demonstrated and handed out to those that needed them the most – folks with no electricity in their homes.
  49. 49. And the last of the water filters… The guys assembled the last 9 water filter units, a brief demonstration with instructions followed, and we distributed the rest of clothing, toys and candy that we brought with us.
  50. 50. All together in the Loma de Ramos school… We all gathered together for a group photo. Behind us are the portraits painted of the people who, 8 years ago, helped build this remote school halfway up the side of a volcano! Our Pastor, Joey “PJ” Bailey, and team member Carole Greene are humbled to have their pictures included on this wall that honors their hard work and dedication!
  51. 51. Saying Good-bye… After 8 days in El Salvador it was hard to say good-bye to our friends, new and old. We all receive as much back from the people of El Salvador, if not more, than we give to them. I look forward to going back again NEXT year to reunite with our friends there, make more new friends and continue to work on projects that can help to make their lives better!!
  52. 52. Questions??? I’m happy to answers any questions you might have about the country of El Salvador, the people we met, the life they live, or the projects we worked on… Just Ask!!
  53. 53. A Presentation Created by Laurel Chilcote On behalf of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Alango, MN And Calvary Lutheran Church, Orr, MN And The Well, Virginia, MN