Thursday, November 4, 2010

Back in Black

Hey everyone! So sorry to have kind of fallen off the face of the earth but I have been kind of busy. My new site is awesome. I am really enjoying living in the campo in the mountains with my host family, chickens, dogs, cats, and a horse. I have already had tons of fun at the school and have just arrived in the capital, San Salvador, to hang out with some friends before starting training (second round). But before I go into that, what have I been up to that has made me so busy? Well...

I have had a lot of meetings to get started on a couple of projects in the community. Who knows if any of them will actually work out but what we are hoping to do is: 1) build three more classrooms for my school so that kids can go to school up to 9th grade and 2) buy land for a cancha (soccer field).

The first project is really needed in the community because as of right now the kid in my community can only afford to go to school up to 6th grade. The nearest school is about 5 min bus ride away or a half an hour walk. The problem with taking the bus is that the kids have to pay about 70 cents a day for a round trip. This might not seem like a lot to people in the states but when youre family only makes about $100 a month, its a huge expense, especially if the parents are sending more than one kid to school (the average family here is about 3 to 4 kids!). Also, the nearby schools dont have enough room to accept the kids from my community so a lot of kids, especially girls, are made to stay home after 6th grade, do household work and then get pregnant and start families without any higher education opportunities.

The second project is equally important. A cancha is the central meeting spot and play center for any community here. It is where all recreational activities happen from festivals to soccer games. My kids right now play on the highway which is extremely dangerous but they have no other option. The only problem is that land is very expensive and soccer fields are big! I am currently working with community members on project planning skills and how to write grants so hopefully we will have some success with this project as well. It would be an incredibly great resource for the community, especially since El Salvador has one of the highest crime rates in Central America and I want to keep my kids from joining gangs.
Other than getting our foot in the door with projects I have been going to festivals including day of the dead celebrations which were awesome. Its like a huge party where people decorate the gravesites of loved ones and get together with their living members of the family. I wish we had something like that in the states. I also participated in a youth festival in my pueblo, a cancer awareness walk, and went swimming in the river! So far I love love love my site and living in the campo in El Salvador.

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