David and Nancy Slinde Speaking at their "Sending Service"

Friday, December 6, 2013

Mission Accomplished

Our third week in El Salvador began with two low key days in the capital. Then we left for Usulután to tour the public schools we have been fundraising for many improvements. School is over for the year but the teachers are still busy preparing for the 2014 school year which resumes in January. Following is a brief recap of our tour: The new classroom in La Cribe is built. They can now accommodate 30 Pre-K children. This is double the number of students who were taught in the old storage shed and the new building is beautiful and safe. Canton Guadalupe has two newly completed classrooms and an office. We started with concrete floors this March, then added 70 new desks, installed electricity and fresh paint on all the buildings. Alambre has a new roof for the computer classroom, student desks, computers, computer desks and windows. Alambre was notified that the government is authorizing 12 computers for Alambre’s new computer lab making it the official regional computer site that will serve hundreds of students from these 3 schools and the high school. Think of the transition for students from sitting on the dirt floor to having desks, books, electricity and computers. Over 1,000 students are touched by these completed projects, but our work is still not done. Hearing of our projects in the east, a small business owner asked us to visit her family’s public school project in La Paz, close to the ocean. The principal and Dr. Castellanos, the volunteer, shared that the Ministry of Education (MOE) has not responded to their needs for a new roof on the existing building, nor provided text books for the students, nor offered more than a two-hole bathroom for 300 students. Nor does the MOE provide adequate funding for the authorized number of teachers. The government food program supplies food for needy students three times a year and when it runs out, it’s gone. The children are left with no lunch for weeks. In the absence of government support and dealing with their own basic needs, the parents are not willing to send their children to another community to continue in 7-8-9 grades. Therefore the boys go to work in the sugar cane fields and the girls remain home to help care for their families. The parents, mostly single moms, realize their children need more education so they asked Dr. Castellanos for help. He organized the community and with the support of the Sugar Cane Association, purchased materials to construct a large building for three more grades. The MOE will not recognize the new building or pay for an additional teacher. We have agreed to join Dr. and Mrs. Castellanos in their commitment to the people of San Luis Talpa. To prepare for the January opening of the new 7th grade, we purchased 26 desks with donated funds. We are now fundraising for text books for these students and replacement text books for K-6. For the older building, we purchased lamina to replace the damaged roof and for basic repairs to the bathroom. The Castellanos family is securing funds for materials to build a secure computer lab and purchase computers. The government has promised recognition of the new grades after the PC lab is installed. While our long-term education projects in the east are accomplished, the needs are still great. We remain open to the plans the Lord has for us in our mission and ministry in El Salvador. An on-going mission call: Go to the people. Live with them, learn from them, love them. Start with what they know, build with what they have. But of the best leaders, when the work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say, “We have done this ourselves.” (Lao-Tzu, 700 B.C.) David y Nancy

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Fe at La Granja

We are in our church community this week, spending time with the students and adults of the congregation. Our main concerns, prior to arriving, were for Elmer and Carlos, both dropped out of school, each with own reason. Elmer affirmed our hopes for the completion of his education through the university. Carlos has already planned to attend a different high school offering a Saturday program. Both families have resolved their issues but wanted to confirm the continued financial support for their education. We assured them of our congregation’s faith-filled commitment to them. On Wednesday our friend Daniel picked us up to attend the Sunrise Rotary Club meeting at the Hotel Sheraton. We were warmly greeted, especially by several members we have not seen in years. As the meeting started, Nancy and I were presented with certificates acknowledging our support of education in their country. After a very long and interesting meeting, Daniel drove to the Rotary office where we loaded the text books for the school of La Granja. Daniel then took us to his current work site in San Salvador where the former presidential residence of 1919 was going to be demolished but is now under restoration due to the thorough architectural assessment Daniel gave this structure. Then we are off to the school. This is our third gift of books to the school, updating workbooks we provided in 2007. The students are on break and the teachers are on site planning for the 2014 school year. We present the books and discuss their future needs. The book donation is for K – 6 as requested. They hope we might also provide books for 7 – 9 as the class sizes are growing. At this time, their greatest need is for a 15 meter fenced area to protect the preschool children during recess. This is the school for the future Rotary computer project. We share with Daniel there are 14 computers from a USAID project in a building next to the church that might be incorporated into the Rotary project. After viewing the computers, we decided they would need to be taken in for evaluation to determine if they are usable. The heat, moisture and dust have had a negative impact on them. We do not share our concern for the computers on this visit. We will address the shape of the computers later. The Rotary and USAID computer projects require Internet so we went to visit the Mayor of Nejapa for his support with the local Internet carriers. He welcomes us but tells us it’s impossible. Daniel will take this situation to his Rotary Club to learn if any members have access to policy makers of the local internet carriers. Back at the community, the Director of the Community Center (USAID) tells us the Internet carriers have asked for 55 customers before they will run a line. There was Internet service in the past, but the “equipment” was stolen which cuts the community off from an important means of communication and information. At the end of the day, we walked the community to show Kristyn the Rotary sanitation project and found our Rotary Bridge in need of protective paint. We suggest the community leaders recruit 12 youth to paint the bridge in January. The Directivas agree that this is a great youth project but ask that we not give them the money, only give them the paint and supplies. Daniel was given the money to purchase these in January and deliver them to the community. That was one day in El Salvador! Our work here is still in progress and you can be a part of it in many different ways. We invite you to join us in these community development opportunities. David y Nancy

Friday, November 1, 2013

November visit

In mid-July we received an email from Thrivent Builds Worldwide. We checked the dates and found a Build taking place November 2-9 in the state of Santa Ana, El Salvador. I contacted the group leader who said his team had room for two more, so we joined. We are looking forward to meeting 24 new Habitat for Humanity volunteers. We will gather in Atlanta, travel to San Salvador, and then by van to Santa Ana to meet the others of the Thrivent Build in the community of Pastor Carlos. We met Pastor Carlos in 2006 and have had opportunities to see him in Salvadoran Lutheran Church functions. While attending a local fundraiser, we met Kristyn Adams, a free-lance reporter for the West Bend Daily News. We asked Kristyn to join us on the Build and tell everyone back home what a fantastic partnership of Thrivent Financial and Habitat for Humanity are doing in El Salvador and around the globe (including the US). The three of us leave tomorrow, November 2. We will be at the Habitat site until the following Sunday. Then we travel to San Salvador to join a delegation from our church that arrives on Saturday. The 5 of us will spend the next week in our church community of Fe y Esperanza. Our major focus will be the gathering of information from the families of students receiving education support from members of Our Saviors West Bend. This continues to be a real life changer in the Salvadoran culture. Boys and girls formerly ended their education in the fifth and six grades. A growing number are now attending high school and three are attending or planning to attend the university. But it’s not an easy road for these students. One university student dropped out due to family financial problems and another dropped out of high school due to gang violence at his school. Our job is not just to hear their stories, but to pray, encourage and support their families as they search another path to achieve the educational goals for their students. Past and present travelers meet monthly to find ways to support our brothers and sisters of Fe and to raise awareness in our congregation. We have held Fiestas to celebrate the education program and fundraisers to provide hymnals and chairs for the growing congregation of Fe. Each of the families that support a student has been encouraged to make a custom photo album for the student that features the families and life in West Bend. The 5 member delegation will deliver these to the students and hope to bring back stories from the students to share with their sponsors. There are always stories - some good, others not; there is much faith and hope in our budding relationship. After the delegation returns home, David and Nancy will remain in country to visit with our partners in the Rotary Club of San Salvador and with Oikos Solidaridad. We continue to develop our relationship with Oikos. Their impact in the rural mountains is very significant. Their programs empower women which strengthens their families and their communities. An earlier photo album showed you the request made by 50 women of Hacienda Nueva for funding 10 chicken projects. The women have been trained by Oikos in the care and development of the chicken project, including handling income from the sale of eggs and chickens. The chicken project will provide financial resources for these women to support their families with a better diet. We are planning to visit the public schools of Chirilagua to see in person the improvements since our March visit. We received an email this week containing 11 pictures that the windows have been installed in the computer classroom at Alambre Public School. They look wonderful. You’ll see them in a future photo journal. We hope to complete the school projects in Chirilagua on this visit. David y Nancy

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Walters letter

Our last photo album of El Salvador featured the public school of Alambre. A local West Bend family funded a new roof over the computer lab which was installed by community volunteers. However during a recent winter storm, the remaining old roof over a classroom and office was destroyed. The principal of this school Walter Gomez wrote to us last Saturday. We would like to share his letter with you so that you can share our El Salvador experiences and relationships. “Dear David and Nancy, I greet you wishing the Almighty to have you under the protection of his cloak and that you feel happy knowing that the Lord loves you very much. At the same time I apologize for not having communicated with you sooner but I want to tell you that once again the young men of the hardware store of Concepción Batres spoke of you. On this occasion also I want to thank you for the continuation of your aid for the Central School with lamina and materials. It is in a perfect manner and timing to cover us from the winter but we had another drawback with the section of preschool that was of the same nature (terra cotta tiles). Thanks to God, the mayor of Jucuarán is collaborating with us. Now David and Nancy I want to ask you to help me with the windows that had been proposed for the computer classroom. I tell you that today there are 24 new students in high school and we want these young people to come away with best knowledge in information technology. I also share with you the joy that I feel with the solidarity that you provide. I want to tell you that the Ministry of Education is going to visit us Thursday to evaluate the classroom of computers and if the classroom is well evaluated, possibly will give us more computers. David and Nancy, I am sure and I am not mistaken that all that you do God all-powerful acknowledges and for our part we tell you that never have we had a strength as what you give us.” Our goal is to ensure that the entire building has new lamina protecting not only the computer lab, but also the classroom and the office that contains school supplies and text books. We can say this in confidence as we have received funding from two families toward this effort. The computer lab is one of our favorite projects. It started as a Rotary project with 5 computers and computer desks. As a result, a teaching job was created. Now the ministry of education has a starting point to strengthen the technology experience for more students in this rural and remote area of the country. They will be visiting this school with an eye towards placing Alambre as the Center of the Computer Education in this zone, serving four schools (one high school) and possibility of future equipment purchases and funding from the government. The Alambre project that began with a relationship and a request for student desks in 2011 has grown into a larger blessing for the staff and students of this school. We will visit them again, take pictures and provide you with an update. David y Nancy

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Onuva March visit '13

We had to place journal writing to the side as we spent summer time traveling to be with family and friends. We are writing from home to continue sharing El Salvador experiences with our readers. This is the last page of our journal of our March 2013 trip. The church delegation left for home and we stayed in San Salvador for another 4 days. When we ended our mission in 2012, Leonor, the owner of the hotel where we stay, mentioned that a project she supports could use the help of part time volunteers. Leonor made arrangements for us to visit the home-base of the project that supports a community of extremely poor families. Geographically the community and the education project are separated by a 20 minute bus ride. The project is located at the edge of the city and the community is high in the volcanic range of San Salvador. The project site (Onuva) has a staffed medical clinic, church, chapel, parish house, day care, 12 classrooms, gym, computer lab, and a library. We visited the clinic, day care and all classrooms. Because of the poverty in their community, all the children receive three meals a day. The littlest children in daycare are some of the toughest kids we ever met. After being witness to their environment it started to made sense. As we visited the classrooms, we noticed the changes from tough little preschoolers to students who are developing in maturity. The students in the 9th grade are self-directed. As Nancy spoke to them in Spanish, they repeated what she said in English and answered her questions in English. These kids are fun. One new teacher waited years to be hired in this school. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0xKuwWLrvA This video has 3 classroom visits. In the afternoon one of the sisters invited us up the mountain to visit the community church where she brought approximately 5 large boxes of clothes for the families to purchase at 25 cents per item. It was 55 degrees and windy. The residents wore winter coats and hats but we were in short sleeves. On the way down we noticed a public school. We asked why the children don’t attend school in their community. The school is at capacity and the government won’t allow them to attend or add an addition. That’s why the Onuva School was started. The next day we were bussed up the mountain to walk the students’ community. We learned a lesson from the previous day and dressed for the winter weather but when we reached the community, it was typical tropical day. There are no roads, just rocky worn paths from the highway to their homes. The homes of the families we visited had one double bed for the family surrounded by 4 walls. Everything else was done outside. The community has no public water; they collect rain water for 6 months and hope it lasts for the next 6 months. Another home had a store front, a bed for the family and 6 x 6 living area. Later we lunched in the parish house with two sisters, the priest, and 4 youth. These students are receiving an excellent education with resources that exceed anything in the public schools. We asked the priest what becomes of the students after graduation. He replied the girls become pregnant and the boys look for work in the city. No one goes to college or the university. Wealthy Salvadorans have built this entire project. The concept originated in Spain; El Salvador is their second site and they are developing a 3rd site in Guatemala. We were invited to accompany a sister to visit Guatemala but the plans changed as she was not able to secure approval from her superior to leave Onuva that day. While our visit ended without a call to action, the experience to see Salvadorans helping Salvadorans was in itself rewarding for us and a positive factor for the country’s future. David y Nancy

Thursday, April 18, 2013

To Usulutan

A page from our Journal that we are publishing from home: We are still enjoying the afterglow of being in the community for the past 4 days. Now we’re headed to Usulután for the delegation to see our former community and visit three projects our church funded while we were in mission. We received excellent final reports of the projects so we wanted to see these successes personally. We left San Salvador early Tuesday heading east to the Orient, El Salvador’s bread basket. Our first stop was the hardware store in Concepcion Batres. The store front is freshly painted and it’s striking. The store is now double its square footage since inception and has an “L” shaped glass counter separating the supplies from the customers. Future plans include using the large yard to store brick and concrete products. We walked to the molino for the delegation to witness how important a molino is for the community providing fresh ground corn for the daily diet. Three members of the staff of Oikos meet us at the molino. Oikos has a full day planned for us so we quickly board our transportation and head south out of town where Concepcion Batres is very lush green due to the high water table. A middle aged couple trained by Oikos provides us a tour of their 3 acre plantation of maracuya, pineapple, and papaya. First they cleared the land of the coconut trees and harvested the wood for making fences and trellises for the plants. The couple share responsibilities with the man managing the garden and the woman arranging the sale of their produce to vendors in Usulután. A second small plantation a short distance from the first has a family raising papaya and squash. The family spokes-person is a woman who explains the sales of produce in Usulután and how the income is used to support the family. See both on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXoZnGlqpCA We return to Concepcion Batres for lunch, then it’s back in the vehicles heading north to San Jorge to enter the dry, dusty river bed and begin the ascent up the volcano towards St Julian. This is familiar territory for David y Nancy. Oikos takes us to another family benefitting from our funding and they demonstrate the methods used to grow crops on the volcanic slopes. The man thanks Our Savior’s for the financial support. Our next stop is in a community of very poor families. Their project is just under way and they seek funding to expand. 50 women are here to tell us about a future project of chicken coops for their families or for their neighbors. The community has 10 chicken coops and needs 30 more. They tell us about how much they love to work in agriculture and more chickens would offer meat, eggs and cash when they sell eggs. Their poverty is striking and their needs touch our hearts. See this on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuPcja-QeOU It’s getting dark and it’s time to leave. We are sweaty, sun burned and caked with dust. We stop at the office of Oikos for a presentation from Guillermo and after questions, we head to the hotel. It was a very hot day and we are too exhausted for dinner. We return to our rooms to shower and retire. With modest amounts of funding together we have changed the lives of families and communities. Salvadorans are hardworking people, they just need a “hand up” to get started. We have good stories to tell our faith community when we return. The next day the delegation leaves early for the airport. We return to San Salvador for 5 more days. David y Nancy

Monday, April 8, 2013

Delegation Arrives

A page from our journal that we are publishing from home: With suggestions from members of our delegation and members of our faith community in Nejapa, it was mutual agreement to spend four days in the community and not schedule other activities on this visit to El Salvador. As Juanita said to Nancy in November “now you only visit us when you come”. With that in mind, we determined to focus on strengthening our relationship together in as many ways as possible. The delegation’s flight arrived on time. David, Nancy, Pastor Abelina, Luis our translator, Juanita and Denora from the community were at the airport to meet them. We drove to San Salvador stopping at an overlook of the city. The air was surprisingly clear. We checked into our hotel, walked to the supermarket to purchase bottled water and visited the mall. We found a Salvadoran buffet for an early dinner. One of our members was ill with airplane fatigue and stayed behind to rest. Later five of us visited Bishop Gomez at his home. The next morning our traveler had improved with the night’s rest. We boarded the mini bus and were off to the community. We arrived and were guided into the church where the community was assembled to welcome us with clapping and singing. As the day continued more groups of children and youth sang to us. We walked the community’s dusty roads to visit the homes of students receiving financial support from members of our church. We were graciously received at many homes being offered drinks and snacks. The second day followed the same pattern. From the hospitality we experienced in their homes to the two days of lunch together in the community, the generosity of these very poor people is humbling. The women cooked soup and vegetables in large metal pots over wood fires, along with the traditional tortillas. Nancy usually finds a beak or claw in her soup but this time she found a small soft-shelled egg. After lunch we assembled in a big circle to learn about new projects. The presentations began with a song by a community leader; then we learned about programs sponsored by USAID including computers, woodworking and guitar lessons. Elmer from our faith community was the key of this effort by completing the initial application and subsequent interviews with the government. They were impressed with Elmer’s leadership and he is now the director of this program. However they are missing aspects of funding for instructors, cost of electricity and security. They asked us to consider helping with these items. To qualify for the program, the two communities had to demonstrate their willingness and ability to work together in total cooperation. When we first visited these communities in 2004, there was violence, verbal abuse, gang evidence was visible. Fast forward to the completion of the 7 year Rotary sanitation project in which the student engineers from the University of Wisconsin organized the people into work groups, teaching them new skills and developing new leadership among the women and men. The community told us they would continue to develop their new model to sustain improvement of these two communities. Now they are beneficiaries of the USAID nonviolence program. On Sunday we left the hotel early allowing time to see a few major attractions on the way to worship. We visited the national monument to Jesus “El Salvador del Mundo”, the city park having the wall dedicated with the names of Salvadorans known dead and missing from the civil conflict, the national cathedral downtown where Archbishop Romero is interned. After worship at Resurrection Church, we ate lunch with the Bishop and then back to the community for worship and presentations of bibles, financial support for education and many other gifts for all age groups. On Monday after a group visit to the top of a local ancient volcano we returned to the community to drop off parents and children and say goodbye. Our hearts came together in these brief four days because we all contributed to the planning, making it one of the most meaningful experiences for all of us. David y Nancy

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Public Schools

This is our 100th journal, being written after our recent trip. During our past 12 months at home, we had given many presentations and done fundraising for our 2013 school projects in El Salvador. We also had sent many emails to arrange meetings and visits to continue with existing projects and initiating new ones. Our first week beginning March 3 in Usulután was heavily booked. On Monday, nine hours after arriving in El Salvador we got up early for our first meeting held in the office of Oikos Solidaridad. Those attending included Alex and Guillermo of Oikos, Juan Carlos and Alexis from the hardware store, and the principal and the directiva of the public school in Canton Guadalupe. With a prior quote for the cost of cement floors for the school, we had transferred funds to the hardware store’s bank account to demonstrate our commitment to this project and to enable them to order materials. The two key issues of discussion were transportation and securing the material on site. The movement of material requires four trips up the side of the mountain which is only a rough steep narrow road. Alexis and Juan Carlos asked for a separate meeting with us on Tuesday to resolve transportation issues. The Mayor of Chirilagua pledged his support for the project and would provide a secure area for the materials. The prior quote emailed to us also included materials for the installation of electricity but it seemed in excess. The mayor’s office would also provide a technician to give a more accurate quote. With these issues resolved or in process, we moved on to the principal’s request for student desks. We told the principal and directiva we had come with funds for the purchase of student desks. The desks she wanted, separate desks and chairs, cost $75 a unit while a traditional unit of joined desk top and chair cost $42. She asked our advice and we said you have a $1,000 to spend; you are free to choose any style. She chose the traditional desk in order to purchase more and we personally added to the total so she could buy 25 larger desks. They would be delivered the following week for the class of upper level students who don’t fit into the smaller desks. On Tuesday we had plans for breakfast with Principal Walter of Alambre Public School to implement the purchase of three windows for the computer room to protect the equipment. When he didn’t come by 1 pm, we called the hardware store to meet about the concerns with transportation of the materials. Our meeting concluded with our agreement to double the quote for transportation. They had not visited the site prior to the first quote and after a visit realized the increased cost of multiple shipments. We heard from Principal Walter and made plans to meet Wednesday morning. Walter was not prepared to move forward with the window project as his priorities changed in the past 14 months from windows to lamina for leaking roofs. We moved the meeting to the hardware store to include Alexis and Juan Carlos who are becoming our associates in mission to these communities. We asked for their help to work with Walter to prepare quotes for lamina and windows, starting with a visit to the school for measurements and costs. When Alexis and Juan Carlos were told the school was at a higher elevation than Canton Guadalupe we thought we had lost them but they willingly agreed to make it happen. During this visit, we were also able to assemble a team regarding the construction of a classroom in La Cribe. We will be emailing information to develop construction drawings and a bill of material. In 3 days we accomplished a lot. Tomorrow, Thursday, we meet our church delegation at the airport in San Salvador to begin our 4 day sister parish visit at Fe y Esperanza. David y Nancy

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A long days journey

We left Mitchell Field in the dark. As day break approached, the clouds in the east were pink and black. After two minutes in flight it was day break. Another 2 minutes the sun was seconds from the horizon. As the sun entered our view it was as if we could see molten lava flowing from the sun with our bare eye. The horizon was ablaze with red, gold and pink in brilliant tones. Another 3 seconds the sun was fully and magnificently revealed. Within another minute it was its usual yellow self. We landed in Atlanta on time and hurried to the next gate. We were there with time to spare and as boarding time was nearing we got a 30 minute delay. That passed and we boarded. After 2 hours into a 3 hour flight our pilot announced we had turned back to Atlanta and would be arriving a 3:30. The area surrounding the San Salvador airport was engulfed in fire. It’s the harvest of the sugar cane which is preceded by burning the fields. Cane is grown between the airport and the ocean. With 45 mile an hour winds blowing, this weekend the fire did not stop at the end of the fields but continued to burn everything in its path towards the airport. The airport closed to provide total support to protect the service buildings essential for servicing the airport. It was also unsafe for take-off or landing with heavy ash and poor visibility. We sat in Atlanta for another three hours. Delta provided regular updates and finally we reboarded to resume the journey. It was night and a very long flight. Nearing San Salvador we could see fires in the distance. As we landed the fires were at the edge of the runway, flames flaring 100s of feet into the air. We weren’t advised in advance and many in the plane were alarmed by the scene. The fire continued more than half the distance of our taxi followed by the darkened earth and smoldering embers from the area of the service building. It was now 11:00. Our driver waited 10 hours for us to arrive. We called him twice from Atlanta with updates and we were glad to be greeted by a friendly welcoming face. The temperature was 79. It felt really good. The highway to Usulután was empty. At night only a couple of sugar cane trucks and dogs sat on the highway. We made it to Usulután in record time. Everything in the city was closed and dark including our hotel. We pulled up to gate; a guard appeared and by the grace of God he opened it for us. He took us into the lobby, gave us a room key and said “check in tomorrow morning”. We needed to get up early for our first meeting with the principal and directors of the school of Canton Guadalupe. We had done much planning, budgeting and preparing for this important conversation to begin an important improvement project. We were eager to see how it would unfold. David y Nancy

Friday, February 22, 2013

March Return

We have avoided the past three winters in Wisconsin while living in El Salvador. Now home for 12 months, we are enjoying simple things of the season like ice thunder. As the nights slip near the zero mark, the ice covering the lake booms loudly as it expands or contracts. The action at our six birdfeeders this winter has been amazing. The Lutheran Church of El Salvador held its 3rd Encuentro in November 2012. Sister parish partners from the USA, Canada and Europe attended this Encounter to re-enforce the solidarity in their relationships. Nancy felt called to attend and traveled with a group of 13 from our synod. When the 5 day event ended, Nancy and Pastor Abelina left the city of San Salvador to spend time with our sister parish Fe y Esperanza. After a long absence, the community was delighted to have Nancy return. The faith community expressed their disappointment that a delegation had not visited Fe in several years. Nancy responded that a delegation is forming from Our Saviors for a March visit. They were pleased to hear the news. The 6 members of the delegation are in count down as we prepare for the March trip. Two members will be first time travelers and we share our collective wisdom from prior travel experiences. Emails have been sent daily to El Salvador for all the arrangements. Our itinerary will include 4 consecutive days with our sister parish community, visits to homes and a re-visit to the public school. Our church members and Rotary Clubs have invested many improvements in this public school. David and Nancy are leaving for El Salvador prior to the delegation to continue the work started last year in the public schools of Chirilagua. Chirilagua is 150 miles east of our sister parish community. We have placed an order for $2,000 of sand and cement with the hardware store we helped start in Concepcion Batres earmarked for the school of Canton Guadalupe. The classrooms have dark walls, no electricity, dirt floors and in the tropics the odor is unpleasant and unhealthy. Here is a one minute video of the classroom. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7dDVpCybOc Our first step is to meet with the school’s Directiva to review their priorities established in 2012, which were first to install concrete floors, then purchase desks, white boards and paint the interior of the structure. If possible in the future, they hoped to have electric service installed. With donations from many supporters, we are prepared to accomplish all of those needs at this time. We are also continuing our interest in the central school in Alambre to upgrade the computer lab we started in 2011. We have purchased desks, white boards, computers and desks. Our goal in partnership now is to install windows in the computer lab to protect the equipment from the winter rain and summer dust. They have the windows wrapped in plastic which is not an effective system and makes the room very hot. We truly believe the way out of poverty for these poor rural children is to improve their educational environment and experience. Our time in El Salvador in March is short. We will return again in November to evaluate the improvements during this visit and then assess the process for the next school in La Cribe. The Directiva and Principal of La Cribe have asked for a building with two rooms, one for the K class with an attached principal’s office. The current classroom is a wire storage shed. Classes are cancelled often in winter because the children are not protected from the wind and rain and there is no electricity. We are $5,000 short of being able to construct the above building. But as this remains Gods work, he will provide for the future. We continue following as he leads. David y Nancy