David and Nancy Slinde Speaking at their "Sending Service"

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


While we have had many opportunities to share with you about our projects and partners in the east in Usulután, we have not said much lately about the action in Nejapa. Today we tell you about the continuing work of our Rotary project partners in the northern zone.

The engineering students from the University of Wisconsin Engineers without Borders traveled to the Nejapa project site in August to prepare for the 2012 phase of the Rotary black water project in Nuevo Ferrocarril. Jen, Chris, Isaac, Ellie and Missy spent a week in Nejapa meeting with the community leaders, engineer Daniel R of Club Rotario and many individuals from the mayor’s office planning for the final phase of this project. This has become a powerful story of accompaniment between all the partners as this relationship has deepened during the past seven years. Our Rotary grant has been approved for the January completion of this project.

As Rotarians and missioners, we believe in accompaniment over projects. We support this crucial sustainable value as the cornerstone of relationships. We started our Rotary projects in 2005 at the La Granja/Nuevo Ferrocarril public school. We asked Daniel M of Club Rotario if he could help us in the purchase and transportation of text books for the school. He purchased the $2,000 of books and we met at a club meeting to work out the logistics. This was a topic at the club meeting and after the general meeting, a group of 7 met to discuss Club Rotario’s involvement. There was some concern and maybe fear expressed by the older members that we were “using” the club for our own purposes. We later learned they could not believe we were actually making a donation of $2,000 of text books to a poor public school. This was outside their realm of experience and thought.

When the three of us drove out to the public school and Daniel saw the familiar colors of blue and white and the public school sign, he got a large smile on his face. He pulled out his cell phone, made a call and said “we’re at the public school”. End of conversation – it’s real. Later that day he told us this was his first opportunity in his 43 years to personally help other Salvadorans.

Another Rotarian Daniel R has worked with the black water project for the past 6 years, donating thousands of hours of his time. He visits the community on a regular basis and brings along other Rotarians to introduce their lives into the lives of the members of the community.

Daniel R attended the University of Central America (UCA), a private Catholic university, during the time of conflict. His professor was one of the Jesuits assassinated by a military death squad. He is still devastated by this evil act. One would think that the rich and poor Salvadorans have so much in common from the pain of the war and that this common pain would bring them together. But it doesn’t because the social divide is so great and longstanding.

Salvadoran to Salvadoran is the accompaniment that we are celebrating. We made introductions, enabled safe entry into the community, and provided funding for a community development project. Accompaniment is listening to each other, walking and working together, learning to understand and trust each other. And they have developed this relationship of accompaniment between them. Their spirits are longing for a new way of life that overcomes the social divide.

David y Nancy