David and Nancy Slinde Speaking at their "Sending Service"

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