Friday, May 7, 2010

And We´re Off!

First things first, El Salvador is amazingly awesome and we love it here. Business-wise the work is really starting to come together and I think we´ll have maybe even more on our plate than we can handle! Volunteers arrived (dispersed over a 48-hour period of time) between Tuesday and late last night (Thursday). We´ve become well known at the international terminal to say the least.

Oh Alex...

After many long hours of travel it was great to have them out our home for the first time.

Now they they´re all here we can´t wait to get things moving with the partners we´ve been able to meet with so far, and are also excited to continue meeting with new project possibilities.

All the volunteers are being trained this afternoon on visual accuity, hopefully early next week we will begin working in rural communities across the entire country providing low cost glasses to children who don´t have them. The FUDEM clinics are phenomenal and their program is impressive and at times overwhelming, they are truly an inspiration to development workers anywhere, CHECK. THEM. OUT!

Carlos Hernandez, the director of El Salvador´s LDS Church Employment Center has been great help in organizing our annual collaborative English Classes with them. The Francisco Gavidia University across the street from the center has volunteered three classrooms to house our basic, intermediate, and advanced classes. Volunteers are eager to start classes, which will begin this coming Monday. Plans are also in the works to coordinate a way to expand the classes year round utilizting the acquired expertise of the advanced students as future teachers.

Balsamo is another incredible Salvadoran NGO that works in rural and urban communities in all aspects of development, self-reliance, and empowerment. We will be taking all of our in-country volunteers to meet with them again tomorrow morning to begin our plans of a new pilot program in which we focus on one community, "attacking" it from all angles to provide as many sustainable solutions as possible. This model will be replicated in future communities, adjusted as needed.

Put on your globes and flex those muscles, Habitat is hard work! Volunteers will begin working Tuesday morning on a project that El Salvador´s Habitat Chapter is giving us for our baby. This year´s project is a community in San Vicente, building 50 houses for families displaced by last year´s extreme flooding. HELP volunteers will be involved in much of the planning and family selection this year.

Projects involving orphanage work, the national library, a prosthetics program that will be central to our work this year no doubt, and others are still in the coordinating phase, and will be unveiled as they come together more. I promise they´ll be worth the wait!

See the following post for our volunteer´s initiation to the country, its something you won´t want to miss!