David and Nancy Slinde Speaking at their "Sending Service"

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