David and Nancy Slinde Speaking at their "Sending Service"

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

R & R

We have been home one month. We returned to heat that registered 105.1 on our first Sunday back. Now the nights are dropping to 60’s and in Northern Wisconsin, nights are 40’s. Fall-type weather is a relief.

The conclusion of the immigration saga at the San Salvador airport: The immigration officer at the departure point was more difficult than we expected. We were refused departure for not having our residency cards which were taken from us weeks ago at the national immigration office. After heated conversation we presented photo copies which were grudgingly accepted. Then 4 more issues prevented our departure. We addressed three of them and then the final issue, money. Having withdrawn almost our entire ATM account in Usulut├ín, we thought we were ready for this one as well. When the officer demanded the exact amount to the penny (there is a tax on a non-residency penalty!), we had another dilemma – no coins or small bills. But another immigration officer made change for us and we were free.

Our strength is returning. Our environment in El Salvador is noisy 24 hours a day, combined with dirt and heat which is very taxing on the body and the mind. At Easter break we were just thankful to cool down. This break we’re enjoying the simple life - looking out the kitchen window, watching the birds at the feeders, smelling clean laundry fresh from the dryer, appreciating the quiet of the country setting, and our morning coffee while reading the newspapers written in English.

But we never are really free from El Salvador - we are always preparing for the return. We have given presentations to three Rotary Clubs. Nancy’s Sunrise Rotary has donated funds for five computers and computer desks at the Central School of Alambre. Generous friends have pledged and given money for additional school needs.

David’s Noon Rotary has written a grant to finish the sewer tubing project in Nuevo Ferrocarrill. When it is approved, construction will begin in January 2012.

We met with the professor of Engineers without Borders, University of Wisconsin Madison. Our partnership is now in its 6th year and we are making plans for projects into 2013. Past projects include engineering the waste water containment from La Granja and the public school and designing and constructing a bridge connecting people and tubing in La Granja to Nuevo Ferrocarrill. Now a sewage treatment project in underway in Nejapa as the system was not properly maintained and is not functional. A team from EWB is in Nejapa this summer preparing for the final phases of the project.

Another pending project is the design of a waste water treatment facility in our community of Batres. The problem is black water coming into this community polluting the local ground water and river. The EWB team is providing two sets of drawings offering the mayor choices on design. One option is a simple natural treatment, the other allows for the solids to be harvested and used for fertilizer.

David met with a local non-profit that makes modular buildings for various uses from an outhouse to a medical clinic and a three room school. Shortly after this meeting, we spoke with a nurse about a medical mission that needs a building for surgery in Honduras. We connected the need and opportunity and hope these resources come together for improving the doctors’ continuing mission to Honduras.

After 4 weeks, we hope the R & R part will begin so we can go back refreshed and refortified to complete our remaining months of mission.

David and Nancy