Edit Blog Post
Published: December 19th 2009
FMLN RallyThe Floods
Becky, Juan Carlos, Etelvina (the health promoter), Don Dimitrio (the Ex-Combatant)
1. Flooding in El Salvador/FMLN
3. Becky’s Work
4. Siete Semillas (7 Seeds) 1. Flooding in El Salvador/FMLN
As for me, I escaped all of the flooding, but the damage is pretty incredible. As it turns out, I didn’t even know there was a hurricane passing until I heard about the flooding and landslides (which I found out about a day and a half later). I actually was at a rally for the FMLN party (quick history cuz it sets the scene: FMLN is the far leftist political party of El Salvador which represents the poor, campesinos, and the down trodden. They were the guerilla party of the war fighting against the wealthy families who controlled the military, government, and wealth. Eventually the civil war ended with a truce and the downtrodden received civil rights. Last January that party won the presidential election for the first time, are now in power, and the changes within the country are astounding).
So that group was having a Saturday night rally/memory of their fallen companeros. So we went in truck (the community used a flatbed truck to bring everyone who wanted to go) up to
Don Dimitrio during the Anthem
Don Dimitrio raising his left hand during the FMLN anthem. During the anthem, the crowd raises the left hand (because the party is leftist) to honor and remember the fallen.
this huge pasture high on a hill. And there were flatbed trucks from all over this part of the country for the event. They had a meager stage, a few speakers and some lights rigged up on a bamboo sticks. It was pretty impressive because never before was it safe for this group to organize out in the open, even after the war as recently as a year ago. And because there was no electricity, buildings, anything nearby, it was easy to imagine the midnight meetings of the guerillas in their planning and organizing of the revolution. And then they told stories and accounts of the revolution. Because pretty much any male here older than 30 fought in the war as a guerilla, and the memory is strong in everyone… 2. Hammocks
That’s how almost everyone earns an income here. They make hammocks for money and work the land for food. The hammocks cost 12$ for the cheapest ones and much much more for the fancy ones. In general, families only make the cheap ones to sell in the market unless they have a special request or are making it for a friend or family. But,
despite costing $12 a hammock, the families receive much less than that because of various middlemen who exist between them and the market. In 1 visit the middleman brings the supplies (just line and rope) to the families and collects the made hammocks ready for the market. With a large markup, they are able to make a decent living just by dropping off and bringing.
However, in efforts to better the community in which they live, one of the many projects CDH (the local NGO) has initiated here is a micro credit program. And through small loans (<$100) families can break away from the middlemen and earn the full $12 for the same amount of work. In essence, twice the money for the same amount of work. And that’s really what the work here is all about. Using local resources to better the lives of their community. Pretty incredible what can be done with just a little bit of organization and communication. Also, the hammocks are huge ass and sweet. So if anyone needs graduation presents, im taking orders from now til march, and Ill even bring a picture of people making hammocks so you can make a fancy
‘made by hand in the campo of el Salvador and all proceeds go directly to the family’ card. 3. Becky’s Work
As for Becky, she’s doing great. She’s created a pretty sweet job for herself and its opening lots of doors and ideas for the future, which is pretty awesome to see. She’s basically doing ´´rural community health´´. There’s a health promoter here who is now the community health guru. He spends his days visiting different communities and seeing families and people in their home. Checking on things like nutrition, hygiene, illnesses, and anything else people want to talk about. So she’s working with him. And as she’s getting more involved with helping out CDH (the org) in various different facets, she’s talking more and more to past volunteers who now work in the US in various different public health
fields. For example she just finished working on a grant application for a malnourished children nutritional program that the org runs. She worked closely on it with some public health gurus back in the states to get it done. And come January, she’s going to be doing Risk Mapping of a community to help identify there needs in
1 of many the many parents taking her time toasting seeds.
order to create effective plans of action. So yeah, she’s digging her role and getting a lot out of it, and thinking about going down that road in the future. 4. Siete Semillas (7 Seeds): Local Nutrition Initiative to Fight Malnourishment in Children
The nutrition program (for which they applied for a grant) is called ‘siete semillas (7 seeds)’ works to fight malnourishment in children <5 yo here. It has ~140 kids and is entirely family driven. Once every 2 months, 1/3 of the mothers come to the clinic and hand roast 7 different seeds. The seeds are then grinded up into a formula that is fed to the kids. The organization buys the seeds, but all the work of roasting, grinding, and delivering is done by the families. In addition, the families involved get together on a regular basis for talks about nutrition and innovative ideas to improve things. On the day of the roasting, 40 adults, many with kids, came to the clinic and filled the air with roasted Cacao (the seed that makes chocolate), peanuts, sesame, corn and various others. The smell was delicious, but the pictures are even better.
Tot: 0.066s; Tpl: 0.017s; cc: 9; qc: 50; dbt: 0.0128s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb