David and Nancy Slinde Speaking at their "Sending Service"

Monday, April 26, 2010


We begin joyfully today with answered prayer:

Immigration: Friday, after three previous visits to the immigration office, our documents were accepted. Without this clearance, we would need to leave every 90 days for a 3 day absence from the country. We have spent four months on the immigration process with much frustration. For two days, we focused intensively on the documents with a lawyer to be sure everything was correct. We are so very grateful for her pro bono help. We returned to the government offices with a stack of sealed, notarized, apostilled documents for each of us. Three hours later, our paper work was approved. On Monday we pick up our temporary card and our one-year residency visa should be ready in 3 months. Thanks be to God!

Mission: This approval brings us another step closer to our move from the city and to the eastern zone where our work will be concentrated. We had a planning meeting last week and another planning meeting will occur this week. We look forward to more specific responsibilities. Right now ideas are abstract but shaping nicely --- another encouragement for us. Thanks be to God!

Our Rotary projects in Nejapa: For our new readers, we are Rotarians and our Clubs along with our Club District, Rotary International and Rotary San Salvador have supported two projects in El Salvador. West Bend Noon Rotary supported a hygiene project of appropriate sewer drainage in the rural community of La Granja.

The next phase of construction with support from West Bend Sunrise Rotary is a bridge to connect the two communities of La Granja and Nuevo Ferrocarril. This will provide continuation of the hygiene project, connecting another 3 thousand residents to the sewer drainage system. It will also allow safe passage between these communities over a steep and wide ravine. You can follow the progress at http://nejapa-bridge.blogspot.com/ with project partners Engineers without Borders Madison, WI, Club Rotario San Salvador and community volunteers.

Vision: “We don’t know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future.” God has been graciously guiding, blessing, teaching and forming us. We continue to seek his will and to be obedient and not get ahead of his plan. We anticipate more growth experiences that will take us deeper in faith and appreciation of his kingdom.
We continue to be awed that we are here, that we are being stretched beyond expectation and that there is so much to learn. God is faithful and that’s what keeps us

Saturday, April 17, 2010

concepcion batres

Networking has its advantages in El Salvador just like anywhere else. We met Benjamin “on- line” over a year ago. Benjamin is the Executive Director of an NGO with years of experience working with communities to improve the lives of its members through training and a well-planned approach to sustainable development. This NGO works in three specific areas: agriculture, environment and community organizing.

We asked for Benjamin’s help to find a safe community and home for us to rent. He suggested Concepcion Batres. Concepcion Batres is a lovely community with paved streets, a beautiful plaza with numerous food vendors and a recreation area.

Our needs for a home include features that complement our mission, that is, a large covered area for the members of our communities to meet and a yard for an agriculture demonstration. This is important to us since very few plant food gardens in El Salvador. We hope to generate interest in home gardening to help in the fight against hunger.

It’s a two story home (very unusual) with an open space on the second floor. The first
floor has a big kitchen, great room, 2 bedrooms and almost indoor plumbing. The house is
empty, thus we need to buy everything!

Another issue is security. The home does not have a security wall which is common practice here. To move forward, our advance rent money is helping the landlord have the wall constructed. As the wall nears completion, our move will finally be imminent.

We are 40 minutes from the ocean on very flat terrain. This area is known as the hottest of El Salvador and being close to the ocean, also the most humid. Benjamin suggested we lunch at the beach. On our drive to the ocean, we climbed a mountain passing kids holding live lizards the size of small dogs in their hand for sale (for dinner). From the top we could see the expanse of the blue Pacific Ocean.

The beach facilities are modest geared for local activity, not tourism. Homes, restaurants and shelters are made from bamboo and palm branches. It’s a weekday and we are the only visitors to the beach community. Walking on the scorching hot sand required wearing shoes but putting our feet in the warm water felt great. Our meal of fresh fried ocean fish was delicious, eaten under a palm thatched roof out of the sun.

As the tide came in, we watched local fishermen get their nets and boats ready to push off at sunset for their night time catch. Today the simple beauty of this remote community creates the feel of tranquility. Soon the people will be vulnerable to the forces of nature. Safety and security are concerns no matter where one lives. May we always be aware of those at risk.

David y Nancy

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The rains have started

Last night it rained. Trinidad, the house mother, said “its time to plant corn”. Next week begins the rainy season in Central America. It really does not rain here; it pours. The first heavy rain clears the streams of 5 months of garbage. Thousands of streams become raging rivers of swirling rapids that are loaded with paper and plastic causing the streams to back up until the pressure is too great. Then all everything breaks loose. The raging streams flow into the rivers and the rivers empty into the ocean.

This little country is not prepared for another rainy season. There are thousands of homes without roofs and many more with roofs that leak very badly. The infrastructure for the neighborhoods of San Salvador and San Vicente affected by Hurricane Ida last November have not yet been restored. These areas lost many homes and also property as landsides washed away neighborhoods and families. The city of San Vicente continues to have 4 feet of dirt in yards, streets, and pastures that will redirect this year’s flow of rain water into unsuspecting neighborhoods and streets. Thus the government and many residents anticipate more destruction of property this year.

When we arrived in November, we purchased $1,000 of roofing laminate to be distributed to church families needing roof repair or replacement. After the improvements were made, we visited the families to view their homes and roofs. Walking through their neighborhoods we were shocked by the hundreds of homes needing roofs and we don’t have any more money for this project.

When nature prevails, the April rains should be gentle allowing for the planting of corn and beans. The seeds should sprout before the heavier rains of May. However it doesn’t always happen that way. When the early rains are heavy and frequent. the seeds rot in the field and another planting is required. The second planting takes food off the table since the corn seeds were to be used for making tortillas.

There are no warehouses here of surplus food. When corn is in abundance they eat a little more and when food is scarce they are hungry. But yet God, corn, beans and rain all represent life and they remind themselves of God’s abundance by placing symbols of rain, corn and beans on their altar crosses, ever mindful that God is the source of daily life.

David y Nancy