David and Nancy Slinde Speaking at their "Sending Service"

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Food Security and Income

Our journals typically follow a past activity. This one shares about the future, for the Lord reminds us that his people perish without plans for hope and vision for the future.

While home in September we received donations of $38,000 for four projects. We have reported on two, the continuing Rotary sanitation project and the Christmas soccer tournament.

The third project is “food security and income generation” in the micro-basin of the villages of Joya Ventura and Candelaria. The food security and income generation is funded by Our Savior’s Lutheran Church of West Bend with our project partner Oikos Solidaridad. We have chosen Oikos as our partner because they have demonstrated over 20 years of sustainable experience in community development including growing and marketing cashews, tilapia farming, radio broadcasting, and chicken-egg projects. Their agricultural projects focus on erosion control, reforestation, food security and income generation. All these projects include gender equality and participation of community youth.

Our connection to Oikos is a blessing since we want to help the marginalized and now we can, knowing the Oikos structure is tested and effective. The staff of Oikos is engineers and when they need additional technical support they hire experts. Oikos also provides a project summary at completion and a disclosure on the distribution of funds.

The residents of the micro-basin are impoverished farmers who plant crops of corn and beans in traditional methods. Oikos has a management plan for the communities to increase the yields allowing the people of the communities to live better.

The farmers are hard workers but often lack social skills to work effectively with others. They must demonstrate a willingness to participate in the project by attending leadership and individual development training. After they have completed the training they are offered two and one half acres that will provide a consistent crop for the family table and an income stream from selling produce.

We are confident this project will provide food security and income for families now and in the future. The number of direct beneficiaries of this project total 42 family heads; including their families the total of indirect beneficiaries of this project is 210 people.

The project cost is $357 per household. In turn the project will feed the family of 5 for years and will generate an income for the family exceeding $50 per year. Over the next 20 years the income stream alone equals $42,000. The families are encouraged to use a portion of this income to support their children’s education.

Oikos has many requests from other villages and communities that need projects. It becomes clear why Oikos is endeared by the communities it serves. We are extremely grateful to Our Savior’s Lutheran for funding this project to benefit the residents for generations.

David y Nancy

Friday, January 21, 2011

Rotary sanitation project

Student Engineers from the University of Wisconsin Madison (Engineers without Borders) arrived in El Salvador January 3 to continue construction of the Rotary sanitation project in the neighboring communities of La Granja and Nuevo Ferrocarril in the municipality of Nejapa.

The tubing is extended from La Granja under the new installed bridge (in background) into Nuevo Ferrocarril to connect the public school and homes along the path to the sewer system.

(Pictured) The mason is completing the first of many junction boxes.

EWB-University of Wisconsin Madison became the major partner in this project in 2005. After numerous assessment trips to La Granja, implementation began in January 2009.

The students have donated thousands of hours of pre trip planning and now they donate their interim break to work with and for the communities. They pay for their travel expenses. The mayor of Nejapa provides food, lodging and local transportation for the students.

The second week – the trench is dug from the bridge into the community. The team has checked the grade for gravity feed and is ready to lower the tubing into the trench.

In our first visit to the school in 2004, the children’s play area was covered with sewer water from the failed system, a health hazard for the whole community.

The funding from our two West Bend Rotary Clubs has provided for the purchase of supplies, construction materials and equipment rental for this community sanitation project.

This school connection phase of the project is funded by Nancy’s West Bend Sunrise Rotary.

The students have also provided several educational hygiene events to raise the awareness of good health practices for the children and all members of the family.

Engineers without Borders will continue with this project in 2011 and 2012, plus future projects of a bridge in Santa Maria (Usulutan) and a developing project with the Mayor of Conception Batres concerning a black water treatment system. They are truly dedicated and ambitious volunteers. You can follow this 2011 two week trip at http://www.ewbuw.org/taxonomy/term/13.

David y Nancy

Monday, January 3, 2011

Rolling in Christmas in Piedra Azul

Oikos Solidaridad organized a two day soccer tournament for December 23 and 24 in the community of Piedra Azul. It included 400 youth working with Oikos community programs. The tournament began with a worship service on the 23rd with the Bishop presiding. Attendance overflowed onto the church grounds for family baptisms, confirmations and first communions. After service, a small group of us had lunch together when the Bishop and his entourage started singing. There’s nothing like the voices of Lutheran pastors who love to sing. It ended and the entourage left. It was a great way to close the year.

On the day of the tournament we returned to Azul passing groups of youth walking and bicycling to the futbol field. As we got closer we met a road block of flat bed trucks and pickup trucks dropping off their youth. After parking we walked to the field noting hundreds in attendance. The field is on a beautiful highland area. We are up a thousand feet or more. From this height we can see the ocean in the distance and the volcano to our backs. It’s cooler than Batres and a gentle breeze flowed across the futbol field all day

Justin, a recent confirmand from our West Bend church, raised $800 for sports equipment for the youth of El Salvador. Justin’s confirmation project provided baseball equipment for a church community of San Geronimo in the north and uniforms, soccer balls, and prizes for this tournament. As a result, 11 new teams including over 150 additional youth were added to this year’s program.

At 4 pm we left with Enrique. We know his family and have been to his home. On the way out of Azul he pointed to his cattle grazing in the pasture; we stopped at his garden where he picked fresh jicama for us and at his home for fresh papaya.

On the way we asked Enrique what is special for Christmas Day. Sandwiches, he replies. A Salvadoran tradition,
a super sized bun stuffed with chicken salad and garden produce. We ask what else? He says after sandwiches he has cattle and fields to attend. It’s another work day for the farmers and sellers of produce in this country.

We rejoice and are glad to be part of the action and the blessing for these two days. Thank you Justin for your vision; we look forward to more opportunities for the youth in 2011.

David and Nancy