Adiós, El Salvador
By Jana Stohler, ConDev/CDF Intern
It’s so hard to believe that I've been in El Salvador for 10 weeks and it is time to say adiós. While I’ve been here, I’ve had the opportunity to see and do so much. Because of my work with ConDev and CDF, I’ve interacted with people from all parts of El Salvador. I’m pleased with the progress made on the ConDev project. Over the course of four weeks, we collected 164 surveys and talked with many people around the country. It’s been a blessing to be a part of this project and to help gather information concerning conflict for a 3-country research study.
During the time I spent in El Salvador, four mission teams came to SHIP El Salvador with the purpose of serving the community and putting their love for others into action. They most certainly impacted many lives. Now that they’re gone, the home rebuilding projects in the community have stopped until the next mission team arrives later this year or early next year. The education program for the children and the women’s microbusiness will continue, however. Those of us who remain are packing up our things and winding up last minute projects before returning to the States.
We visited a local school in the community this week. It’s the oldest school in this part of the city and was established in 1948. It was a great experience! During English classes, we spoke to two groups of 9th graders about our time in El Salvador, and the students asked questions at the end of our talk. Between classes, the teacher mentioned that many of the children will not continue their education after 9th grade as many of them have to choose between making money now for their families or continuing their schooling. It’s a difficult time for these children since they’re making decisions that will impact every area of their life and future. It’s especially hard for the boys because they will be targeted by the gangs and pressured into that lifestyle. As we left, I wished I could do more for them.
As I’ve experienced life in the poor community that surrounds SHIP El Salvador, it’s opened my eyes to the struggles faced by our neighbors on a daily basis. SHIP is working to help alleviate some of these struggles and providing them with hope for a better future. I’ve enjoyed my time in El Salvador and look forward to working with SHIP in the future as they continue their valuable work in El Salvador.