Wednesday, July 27, 2011
But...interesting and disheartening situations keep coming into my life.
This morning I was at meeting where I learned that in the community where "the girls" live (the two cuties that my boss is working hard to get medical care arranged for them) has a big problem. Not only is their not water in people's homes, there is not enough water with on the ground or underground for this community. People from ADES are working to try and solve this problem. The ultimate obstacle, is that all of the land that the village is on is privately owned. While I did not understand the reason, it is clear that the land owner will not permit the installation of the equipment that would collection and distribute of water. It is unbelievable to me that water can be denied to a village because the land owner refuses the installation of the equipment. I don't even think she is being asked to pay anything!
This afternoon I am travelling to another very small village. This too is all on privately owned land. In this area the biggest problem is with the school. Currently the Ministry of Education pays for the teacher and basic supplies, but there is not a proper building. The school is in an old adobe house, which is very inadequate. There are also 6 grades with the one teacher. Apparently the way it works here is the Ministry of Education will pay for a building but will not buy land. In this case the landowner is willing to sell land for the school for about $3000. In this very poor community this is an unfathomable amount of money. Soto (one of my housemates and the head of the water and anti-mining team) has agreed to write a letter to invite people from the Ministry of Education to meet with people from the community to discuss the situation. Today the community will be reviewing and signing the letter.
Given these realities, it is not surprising that people here do not view Capitalism and the free market as the way to improve their lives.
Finally, I learned yesterday that the Government of Canada through the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has invited the Attorney General of El Salvador to participate in a Panel Discussion on Crime and Impunity in Central America. This is the man who refuses to order an investigation into the threats and deaths of the anti-mining activists here. As a result whoever is arranging and paying for these crimes has complete impunity from the law. I understand that protests are being planned both here in El Salvador and in Canada.
So while I am getting excited to see you all, the situations here continue to weigh on my mind.
I will be taking a break from Blogging during my vacation, but will catch up with everyone when I return to El Salvador. My next blog will be Wednesday August 24th. Thanks everyone for your support and thanks for reading.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
|The "huge" pool. Notice the palm trees at the sides. This is the deep end and there is no one in it!|
From Left to Right:
Alex: He is married and has a son. He is the head of the "local economy" team. He is outgoing, fun and talks fast. The day I understand Alex completely in a regular conversation, I will know that I understand Spanish! Alex has discovered that he likes peanut butter, but doesn't think that peanut butter toast is a complete breakfast all by itself. He is a good cook and makes fried plantains that are my favourite food here.
Jenny: Jenny is my "host". I live with her in both of my houses. She is the head of administration which means she is in charge of finance, HR, physical plant and cars. Jenny is smart and personable. She knows everything about everything and everyone. One day I thought I knew something that she didn't and it turned out someone had lied to me! Occasionally we have overnight guests at our house. They are usually young women from the office who have come to seek Jenny's counsel on family or relationship issues.
Vinicio: Venicio is the young hottie of the house but he doesn't act like he knows it. He is 22 and in great shape. He has been incredibly kind to me and he has a very special place in my life here. He is doing a joint project between ADES and another agency REDES (they like acronyms here as much as we do) that has something do with optimizing corn production. I'm not sure that I'd understand it in English! For a while he too was a bit of an outsider, despite speaking the language and the culture. We bonded while he is was in his first few difficult weeks here.
Vicenta: She works with the women in the Co-operative that run a restaurant and give out micro-credit loans to small home based businesses.Vincenta is the "mischievious" one of the group. She is a lot of fun and enjoys playing cards. However, you have to watch her because she likes to "bend" the rules a lot! She lived for a while in the US and then studied for 5 years in Cuba. She makes most of the suppers at our house. Her beans are the best I have had. We believe it is the Cuban influence.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
|The Ranchito - The building on the back left is the bedrooms, the building in the middle is the kitchen and the dining room is on the right. In front is one of the small pools.|
|An incredible beach|
|The Group - Jaime, Digna, Nora, Vinicio, Jonathan and me. |
Finally I have found a place where at 5'3" I am "average height"!
|View from one of the lookouts.|