Letters to the World: Mediagua

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The community of Mediagua gathers to receive fertilizer from the Pastoral House of Berlín.

In this new blog series, “Letters to the World,” I am giving this space over to the communities we serve with. Since this mission always strives to lift up marginalized voices, I thought that this would be a beautiful way to let oppressed people tell their own stories using their own words. So I posed this question to the people we serve with, “If you could tell the whole world anything about your community, what would you say?” Read. Listen. Open you hearts to people who live the struggle–and pray that they triumph in that struggle. 

~

My name is Brenda del Carmen Ayala. I live with my spouse and daughter. My spouse’s name is José Heriberto Campos and my daughter Aslay Sarahi Campos.

We live in Cantón San Lorenzo, Caserío La Mediagua, in the city of Berlín, Usulután department of El Salvador. This village depended for a long time on the cultivation of coffee, corn, and beans the land is lent for these crops in these rural areas.

A lot of time is given to agricultural production, minimal only to cover the needs of one’s family. [Because of] the lack of work and for this reason of income in the municipality women as much as men leave their homes having to look for work in the capital and return once a month [or] every fifteen days because in the municipality there are no jobs. The economy based on coffee and agriculture had consequences, of an economic, social, and environmental character, because of the overall losses of the grains [in 2015] that the organizations of coffee and agriculture are pointing out.

With regards to the energy industry, the city is 3 kilometers from the energy generation plants from the geothermal vapor that is currently co-administered by the Geo corporation.

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In vegetation the flora is the typical flora of a subtropical rainforest. The most notable tree species are the pepeto tree, often used for the creation of shade in the cultivation of coffee, madre cacao, pino de ocote, chaparro. The most notable orographical features in the Municipality of Berlín are the hills.

The best way to arrive in the town from our community Cantón San Lorenzo Caserío La Mediagua is in the cars that transport us twice a week to the town to supply our homes and if we cannot go in car, we walk some thirty minutes to the town. By car it is 15 to 20 minutes.

In agriculture in the cases when there are surpluses of production in basic grains, corn and beans, they are sold principally in the urban area of the municipality. The production of small species like poultry yard birds is also oriented for consumption and on a small scale for sale.

In health in truth we are in bad shape because each year they change doctors and it takes a long time for the replacement to arrive. For example this year we went through January, February, and March and part of April without a doctor and if we go to the main health clinic they do not attend to us because we have a health clinic apart from that one. If a pregnant woman goes urgently to the hospital she has the baby on the way because we are very far away from the hospital of Santiago de María and there are times that we do not have transportation. And when we call the police so that they do us the favor of taking us urgently they never have gas, or they do not feel like helping, or they are afraid of going at night or in the early morning.

In security we are good we all contribute to take are of the community we take turns to watch the road twice a day.

In the environment some take care of the trees, some of us cut them down, some of us burn them. Same for the garbage, it is burned because there is no garbage truck here. The majority do not find something to do with the garbage the only option is to burn it.

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The new middle school building in Mediagua, built with the help of our partners from Art for El Salvador!

In education in past years adults here did not finish their educational studies because there were no possibilities and these days thanks to the Pastoral House group and to the churches that helped us we have middle school. And the other difficulty that we have is that there are just three teachers and every teacher has two grades together. Some first and second and the other third and fourth and for middle school another teacher is needed and they do not have one.

Well, this is what I wanted to say to the world. Thanks to the Pastoral House and the churches.

 

 

 

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Your Weekend Reading #7

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First and foremost, “Time for a US Apology to El Salvador is a short but important read. If the US is going to apologize for its role in Argentina’s “Dirty War,” it must logically also apologize for its role in El Salvador’s civil war:

In Argentina, the security forces killed some 30,000 civilians. In El Salvador, more than 75,000 lost their lives during the civil war, which lasted from 1980 until the 1992 peace agreement. The guerrillas committed atrocities, but the United Nations Truth Commission, established as part of the accord, found that more than 85 percent of the killings, kidnappings, and torture had been the work of government forces, which included paramilitaries, death squads, and army units trained by the United States.

The United States went well beyond remaining largely silent in the face of human-rights abuses in El Salvador. The State Department and White House often sought to cover up the brutality, to protect the perpetrators of even the most heinous crimes.

Second, “Gates Foundation : Spearheading the neoliberal plunder of African agriculture” details how NGOs like the Gates Foundation are imposing more industrial methods of farming on impoverished small-scale farmers in the developing world. Sadly, these practices are intrenching more inequality, injustice, and environmental degradation in areas that are already struggling.

Gated Development – Is the Gates Foundation always a force for good?’ argues that what BMGF is doing could end up exacerbating global inequality and entrenching corporate power globally. Global Justice Now’s analysis of the BMGF’s programmes shows that the foundation’s senior staff are overwhelmingly drawn from corporate America. As a result, the question is: whose interests are being promoted – those of corporate America or those of ordinary people who seek social and economic justice rather than charity?

According to the report, the foundation’s strategy is intended to deepen the role of multinational companies in global health and agriculture especially, even though these corporations are responsible for much of the poverty and injustice that already plagues the global south. The report concludes that the foundation’s programmes have a specific ideological strategy that promotes neo-liberal economic policies, corporate globalisation, the technology this brings (such as GMOs) and an outdated view of the centrality of aid in ‘helping’ the poor.

Third, if you’ve wondered how the so-called “Panama Papers” play into Salvadoran public and political life, and whether or not there are any corrupt Salvadoran officials or elites implicated in this scandal, be sure to read Tim’s El Salvador Blog on the topic. It offers both a gentle dose of perspective about the matter and some important straight-up facts:

It may be getting tougher to get away with corruption in El Salvador.    Investigative journalism by online journalists like those at El Faro and RevistaFactum are regularly describing corruption.    The Probidad division of El Salvador’s Supreme Court has open investigations against at least 9 high public officials including two former presidents.   El Salvador’s new attorney general Douglas Meléndez has shown a willingness to pursue cases of corruption involving figures on both sides of the political spectrum.
In twelve years of writing this blog, I don’t think the amount of corruption has changed over that time.   But the amount of news coverage and the number of possible prosecutions certainly has increased in the past few years.   That’s a good thing.
As the most recent example, the online periodical El Faro is one of the periodicals world wide participating in the disclosure of the so-called “Panama Papers.”   The Panama Papers are a leaked set of 11 million documents from a Panamanian law firm which set up offshore corporations used to evade taxes and hide wealth of elites around the world.   According to El Faro, the Panamanian law firm helped the rich and powerful in El Salvador set up at least 200 secretive offshore corporations.

Last but not least, this might be the most important graph you will ever look at. It shows global temperature increases since 1850 in a visually striking way. Climate change is real, it is dangerous, and it is only getting worse. Show this graph to the global warming doubters in your life! IT’S SCIENCE, PEOPLE.

 

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Fertilizer. Lots and lots of fertilizer.

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Delivering fertilizer in San Felipe Arriba. As an accountability measure, everyone who receives fertilizer must sign a form (or have a family member do this on their behalf).

The months of February-May are quite busy at the Pastoral House of Berlín. We spend most of our time organizing and completing deliveries of fertilizer, both for communities that have church partnerships and communities that do not.

Most of the money for the fertilizer given to communities without partnerships comes from Don Justo Coffee proceeds. That’s right, when you drink Don Justo Coffee, you’re helping families to feed themselves by purchasing the fertilizer they need to plant and nourish their corn crops. Since most people in Berlín are subsistence farmers–meaning that both their food and their income comes from growing crops like corn and beans–this fertilizer is a basic need. As I’ve written about before, the long-abused and depleted soil in this densely-populated little country simply cannot yield much food without it. Most farmers say that they would harvest 80-90% less food without fertilizer.

Drink Don Justo Coffee, help families help themselves. It’s that easy.

To read more about how important fertilizer is in Berlín and why so many communities ask for help to purchase it, you can read my “The Importance of Fertilizer” blogs (parts 1, 2, and 3) from 2015. To purchase more Don Justo Coffee–which now comes in Mocha Mint and Amaretto flavors–be sure to check out the OSP web page.

And in the meantime, enjoy the pictures! Yes, people often carry their fertilizer back to their homes on their backs–even though some of these bags weigh 200 pounds. That’s what it takes to survive as a small-scale farmer in rural El Salvador.

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Cantón Colón.

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Cantón Loma Alta.

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Caserío El Rescate, Cantón San Lorenzo.

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Women’s Group, Caserío El Jícaro.

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Caserío San Felipe Abajo.

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Letters to the World: Los Yánez

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A party in Los Yánez.

In this new blog series, “Letters to the World,” I am giving this space over to the communities we serve with. Since this mission always strives to lift up marginalized voices, I thought that this would be a beautiful way to let oppressed people tell their own stories using their own words. So I posed this question to the people we serve with, “If you could tell the whole world anything about your community, what would you say?” Read. Listen. Open you hearts to people who live the struggle–and pray that they triumph in that struggle. 

~

A little bit of the story regarding our community Caserío Los Yánez, Cantón San Francisco, municipality of Berlín, department of Usulután, El Salvador.

Our community is situated at 9km away from the city of Berlín and we want to say that 10 years ago our community did not have beginnings of organization however we were associated with other neighboring communities that at the end of the day our efforts were always in vain, they never kept us in mind until one day we decided to struggle for our own efforts and we decided to organize ourselves.

Five years ago we founded a committee of support in social function to promote development and have connections with some organizations, in advance to start by saying that the first institution with which we had the first connection was the “Community Pastoral House” of our municipality of Berlín being this way our community with this very important connection we ended up having aid for human development. But this committee that we founded was not sufficient to be legal in the eyes of all the organizations.

Three years ago our committee disappeared and we founded an association of communal development “ADESCO” with which we were having better development opportunities for our families, which are 24. The majority of the families do not count on our own land or dignified housing.

“On this page we want to tell the whole world that many young people from our country leave to look for opportunity, not to become millionaires, rather to be able to have their own land and house. It is for this reason that we say in this letter may the President of the United States allow these people to work in the country and to stop it with the discrimination against them.”

Also to make mention that we have developed collective projects for the development of all the families and in this way to have projects for the future. Planting of cacao trees in deforested areas because of climate change that has affected us in our agriculture, in animal husbandry, and principally in our economy and the sustenance for our children.

Our main crops are corn, beans, and vegetables to mention first that the last harvest we saw ourselves affected by this phenomenon because our harvests were lost as a result of a loss of rain also economically we do not have permanent work, we survive off of agriculture.

It fits to mention that we do not have a school so that our children may attend classes. In health we do not count on a family clinic where we can be attended to as it ought to be. Also one of the biggest problems that impacts us year to year is water. We do not count on a potable water project for our consumption we only count on small rainwater collection systems but that does not solve our problem with the water.

On this page we want to tell the whole world that many young people from our country leave to look for opportunity, not to become millionaires, rather to be able to have their own land and house. It is for this reason that we say in this letter may the President of the United States allow these people to work in the country and to stop it with the discrimination against them.

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Los Yánez works to assemble a drip irrigation system.

To the large bottling companies to also tell you the harm that you are causing us because we are threatened, that within 4 years our springs will no longer have enough water to supply our country.

Also to tell our sister churches in the United States and other countries that they pray for peace in our country and that the violence that exists in our dear El Salvador may cease.

With this history we tell the whole world about us. Thank you very much.

Written by: Members of the Directiva “ADESCO”

 

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Community Updates, May 2016

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Once again, we have some updates for you from the communities of Berlín! These updates were taken via survey at the last General Community Meeting on April 28th. We asked all the community representatives the following questions:

  1. How is the food security situation in your community? Do your families have enough beans? Corn? For how many months?
  2. How is the water situation in the community?
  3. Have there been any deaths in the past few months? Has anyone had a baby?
  4. Has anyone left the community to seek work? In another city? In another country?
  5. Have you had help from any NGOs/other institutions recently?
  6. Are there institutions helping with food security or the drought?
  7. Has there been any celebration, wedding, party or other happy occasion in your community in the past few months?
  8. For what problems or worries should the Iowa churches and/or your partner church be praying for?

As you can tell, the food and water situations here are extremely dire. Several communities have not had their potable water run for two months. Springs are drying up, forcing families to walk even farther for even more unsafe water.

It’s been sprinkling on and off for the past few weeks, but we really need it to rain. Please pray for an end to this drought so that the families of Berlín have enough to eat and drink next year. 

~

Colonia El Cedro

  1. We have nothing we are all buying [corn and beans].
  2. Up till now it runs one day and not the next.
  3. No.
  4. No.
  5. No.
  6. Yes we are making gardens we are planting tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers in the community.
  7. No.
  8. For rain and for food.

Cantón Colón

  1. With respect to food security it is bad because there is not enough corn and beans they are already buying them.
  2. Bad because it runs once a month and we do not have enough receptacles to collect water.
  3. Thank God, no.
  4. Yes.
  5. Sadly no.
  6. No.
  7. No.
  8. I think that they can pray that we continue forward because of the poverty that we have in our community.

Cantón Concepcion, Colonia Villa Rosa

  1. There are no beans because everything was lost due to the lack of water no family managed to harvest everything is purchased by the pound.
  2. There is just one cistern for all the 16 families it lasts us for what is necessary, it is not enough because it runs in a limited way.
  3. There have been neither deaths nor births these past two months.
  4. Yes there have been people that have had to look for work in another city.
  5. We have not obtained projects.
  6. We have not had food aid.
  7. A celebration of thanksgiving for a 15-year-old’s birthday in February.
  8. We do not have a partner church as a Villa Rosa community but we ask for prayer for those that are partnered, the rest, and for their families.

Cantón El Corozal

  1. We do not count on food because in our last two years had [crop] loss. It is for this reason that we do not have food and the lack of employment.
  2. Bad, the springs are drying up and the water is not running.
  3. Just two passed away in December and just two babies were born.
  4. Yes some have left, to look for work here in the country and some have emigrated to another country and they have not achieved their goal.
  5. We have not received any.
  6. No, none.
  7. The patron saint festival of our community that is celebrated in March.
  8. To be able to obtain food for our families. For our illnesses that are constantly attacking us and the problem that we have with the water.

Cantón El Corozal, Caserío Monseñor Romero (“Corosalito”)

  1. There is no corn or beans.
  2. There is no water. The sources dried up, the springs dried up.
  3. Yes one died in March he died of kidney disease yes there are babies that were born between December and February.
  4. Yes they have left.
  5. Yes four tanks to collect water with the PNUD.
  6. No.
  7. No.
  8. Yes.

Cantón Las Delicias

  1. Well because of how bad the last rainy season was the majority of families are now buying [food].
  2. Bad because the current project is not lasting because the it runs for us once a month.
  3. Yes, two deaths an a recent birth.
  4. Four that emigrated to the USA.
  5. No.
  6. Procomes is bringing a project to a few families.
  7. No.
  8. We as a community do not have a partner church but we need the violence to end in our communities and country.

Caserío Los Muñoces, Cantón El Tablón

  1. There isn’t any.
  2. It is a bit bad because it only runs for us once a month when we don’t have any we buy it.
  3. 3 have been born.
  4. The truth is yes they have left to look for work for example in San Miguel some others in San Salvador: but the majority are women.
  5. None right now.
  6. No institution is helping us at the moment.
  7. There [were] no parties or weddings.
  8. They should pray for the needs of your communities, problems of health and food.

Caserío El Jícaro, Women’s Group

  1. For a month.
  2. Normal.
  3. None.
  4. Yes.
  5. None.
  6. No.
  7. No.
  8. For food security, for water, for health, for unity, for the churches and communities.

Cantón San Felipe, Caserío San Felipe Arriba

  1. There are none.
  2. It is purchased at $3.00/barrel.
  3. There are none and there have been no human losses to mourn.
  4. Yes there are young people that have left to look for work.
  5. No.
  6. Yes there are.
  7. Yes we celebrate [Catholic lay service] once a week in the community.
  8. Prayer, so that humanity retrains itself regarding the harm that is being caused to the environment. For poverty, health, and food.

Cantón San Felipe, Caserío El Pajuilar

  1. We are buying [both].
  2. There is none we buy it.
  3. Up until now there were no deaths or births.
  4. There are several some three are women.
  5. Up until today, no.
  6. No.
  7. Religious services.
  8. That you may always feel the needs.

Cantón San Francisco

  1. Very bad and there is no corn or beans.
  2. Very bad.
  3. Yes.
  4. Yes.
  5. Yes.
  6. No.
  7. No.
  8. For rain, delinquency, and illnesses.

Cantón San Francisco, Caserío El Cimarrón

  1. In food 10% have it and the rest do not.
  2. The vital liquid lasts very little and the bill is always $4/month.
  3. Yes two babies born and one death.
  4. There are none.
  5. No.
  6. No.
  7. Just celebrations [Catholic lay services] every week.
  8. For the lack of food for the health of the children for peace on earth.

Cantón San Francisco, Caserío Los Yánez

  1. In our community the families we no longer have basic grains, we are buying.
  2. In the rainwater collection systems, all the families no longer have it. Every week the mayor’s office is bringing [it] to us.
  3. Deceased no. Babies just one.
  4. Yes, out of necessity and to be able to purchase what is necessary in the home.
  5. Yes, the electricity project and four families that were benefited with birds through Pro-Comes.
  6. No.
  7. No.
  8. We want you to pray for the unity of the partner churches towards our communities, and that in this year our harvests may be good and in this way to have the neccessary food for our families.

Cantón San Isidro

  1. NO. Some 60% are buying it and those that have it have enough for a month.
  2. Very bad. It only runs once a month and when it runs it is very little.
  3. A girl was born but in April.
  4. One for another country. Three for another city in search of work.
  5. No.
  6. CARITAS with an educational project (theoretical).
  7. Yes. Celebration of the Word [Catholic lay service], Masses, a wedding at the beginning of April. More than one party. Note: the couple was from Casa de Zacate.
  8. For water, for food, for unity in the family and the community.

Cantón San Juan Loma Alta

  1. The 21 families that we represent have some 15% of corn and some 10% of beans that is to say that they have food for 2 months.
  2. With the situation of water we are bad because our acquifer where we get it from is old we are using a temporary project.
  3. Of the 21 families not a one has died in the community in these months mentioned no one has been born just one in April.
  4. Of the families that we represent, no.
  5. Of the families that we represent, no.
  6. Of the families that we represent, no.
  7. Of the families that we represent, no.
  8. So that there may be rain and to be able to grow for our food and so that the crime stops in our country so that one day we might have a partner church, etc.

Cantón San Lorenzo, Caserío Mediaagua

  1. Well in these days some are already buying it and others have a little.
  2. Well bad, a weekly barrel and it does not even last us two days.
  3. No, neither deaths nor babies.
  4. Yes the majority are women.
  5. No.
  6. No.
  7. No.
  8. For the economy, health, environment. For your prayers to help us. For making our members conscious that they take care of the environment.

Cantón San Lorenzo, Caserío El Rescate

  1. 3 months beans and corn.
  2. A water truck every month.
  3. 3 babies.
  4. No.
  5. The COMUS Association, a communal house. Donation of water and tank, PNUD.
  6. CENTA [government division of agriculture and forestry]. Mayor’s office.
  7. Inaguration of the communal house.
  8. For our basic food, health, protection and peace.

Cantón Santa Cruz

  1. The most that we have is for maybe two months.
  2. Once a month.
  3. Just a girl that was born in January.
  4. Yes there are three people that left the community two here in El Salvador and one outside the country.
  5. None.
  6. None.
  7. None.
  8. In everything, prayer. For example, for the water, health, violence, and for our food.

Cantón El Tablón, Caserío Centro

  1. In security perhaps good but in the aspect of food security we are all in bad shape because there are no beans or corn.
  2. Well the project is in bad shape because it runs very little just twice a month.
  3. Six have been born in Tablón.
  4. In these months perhaps no but before, because the work situation is terrible because lots of people travel to the United States.
  5. For the moment we have not gotten any project from another institution.
  6. Not this either for the moment no other institution is helping us.
  7. No parties.
  8. You should pray so that the communities continue forward from their problems and difficulties so that they might not suffer.

Cantón El Tablón, Caserío Cerna

  1. Bad there is no corn or beans.
  2. There is no water it runs once a month.
  3. Two have died, children born: one.
  4. Three have left.
  5. No.
  6. No.
  7. No.
  8. So that there may be food for the families and good health so that there are no sick people.

Cantón Talpetates, Women’s Group

  1. Some are buying it, some have a little bit of corn, beans almost none of the women have any.
  2. It is scarce little runs and with the irrigation it is the same. The springs are giving less water. Much deforestation. We need trees to plant fruit trees and wood trees.
  3. Yes, children were born. In April, a girl. Note: 3 days ago a boy, son of a community member, was hit by a car and he broke his knee. He is in the hospital in San Miguel.
  4. Yes, 2-3 members.
  5. No there are a few in process.
  6. No.
  7. Just the ones at the church.
  8. For the security of all Salvadorans. For food security. For global warming and renal diseases.

Cantón Talpetates, Caserío Higueral

  1. 45% do not have enough corn or beans given that here all the harvests did not give 100%.
  2. Well it is good because the water reaches us every 3 days but it stays on all day.
  3. No one has died and a girl was born.
  4. As a result of the delinquency of our country several young people have gone to the USA and mothers that go to work in San Salvador as a result of scarce [economic] resources.
  5. Well for the moment none.
  6. A girl’s birthday.
  7. So that our harvests this year may be satisfactory, and for the sick people in our community.

Cantón Virginia

  1. Sadly it is bad. 75% do not have corn or beans. 25% do but the most that it will last is a month.
  2. Very bad. It runs once a month and what runs is not enough for the community and the majority have nothing to store it in.
  3. Three community members died. 4 babies were born.
  4. Yes some people have left to look for work in the city some others very few have left for another country.
  5. No, not a single institution.
  6. No sadly they have not helped us with either food security or the drought.
  7. A wedding in February.
  8. So that this year the winter may be good and we can harvest our agricultural grains for the sustenance of our families. For the health of the population and also so that there might be people solidarlizing with us that help us with the food for our families.

Caserío Casa de Zacate

  1. It is in bad shape because there is no corn or beans, or work either, or that is to say income to purchase food.
  2. It is bad.
  3. No one has died, a baby has been born.
  4. Yes there are two people that have looked for work in San Salvador.
  5. No, none.
  6. Not a one.
  7. Yes there has been a wedding and there are religious celebrations [Catholic lay services] once a week.
  8. For health, education, agriculture, for compassion, and for everything we are going through in our national scope right now.

Caserío Casa de Zinc

  1. Bad. There are no corn or beans.
  2. It runs every 25 days.
  3. No. Yes.
  4. Yes.
  5. No.
  6. Pastoral House.
  7. Yes.
  8. The drought and crime.

 

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The Compañeros Delegation

Between lots of travel and lots of delegations, I feel like I haven’t posted in forever! Stay tuned: there are community updates, as well as a fun new feature written by the communities’ themselves, on the way in the near future!

Last week, we were accompanied by members of Compañeros, the committee within the Presbytery of Des Moines that oversees and accompanies the Our Sister Parish mission. It was a tiring week full of community visits and meetings with the Pastoral Team, but it was also a deeply meaningful week filled with shared prayer, food, and fun.

It was also a week filled with worry about the water situation in Berlín: many springs have dried up, and several communities connected to the local potable water project haven’t received water for TWO MONTHS. Please keep the people of Berlín, as well as all the people of Central America, the Caribbean, and East Africa in your prayers. These are the regions that experienced the most severe droughts due to climate change this past year.

If you want to learn more about the delegation’s visit, be sure to check out Alisha’s blog. She writes way more and posts way more photos than I do, so we were lucky to have her as part of the delegation last week!

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The colonial church in Salcoatitán, one of the small towns on the “Flower Route,” a picturesque tourist drive through western El Salvador famous for its churches, flowers, and scenic views.

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The colonial church in Apaneca.

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A beautifully-painted artisan craft shop in Ataco, one of the final stops on this “Ruta de Las Flores.”

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This once-active spring in Corozal has mostly dried up. The severe drought, exacerbated by a climate change-enhanced El Niño, is at least partially to blame. The people of Corozal also cannot rely on the potable water project right now, because their water hasn’t run in two months.

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Due to the lack of water at their first choice of spring, the people of Corozal travel even farther away to another source of water. It’s a mile downhill from the access road, which is already quite a distance from their community–and the water is not clean.

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Our meeting with the Directiva of El Rescate in their newly-renovated communal house. This is a community with no running water and no electricity–but plenty of organization and plenty of hope!

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Our General Community meeting began with a prayer by Jesús for our Mother Earth, recognizing the harm that we have done to her and asking God for forgiveness.

 

 

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Believing in the Resurrection of the Dead

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Manel Muñoz and Cecilia.

Friends, Christ is Risen! ¡Aleluya! To celebrate, here are a few pictures from the Great Vigil of Easter, accompanied by some beautiful words written by Manuel Muñoz, a Delegate of the Word from Cantón Las Delicias. There’s also a video of the lighting of the bonfire at the beginning of the Vigil! Enjoy, and a blessed Eastertide to all of you. 

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The Great Vigil of Easter begins with lighting the Pascal Candle from a bonfire in the middle of the street. The fire is lit from the belfry of the church. See the video below! 

Christ is the first one who has been resurrected and in this way ensures our resurrection because the Gospel says so clearly that God is not God of the dead but rather the living. Also the book of the prophet Daniel says in chapter 12:2: those that sleep in the land of dust some would wake up for eternal life and some others for eternal punishment in this way as well Revelation 20:12 says that the dead great and small will stand before the throne. Some books would be opened and after that another more the book of life. So the dead were judged in accordance with what was written in the books each one according to his works.

John chapter 11:23: Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again.” “I know that I will rise the day of Judgement,” and Jesus tells Martha, “I am the resurrection…he who believes in me although he may die will live. Do you believe this?” “Yes Lord, because you are the Messiah.”

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We then process down the street towards the parish. The priest stops three times to chant, “The Light of Christ,” to which everyone responds, “We give thanks to God.”

Saint Paul writing to the Thessalonians 1st epistle 4:13-18. Saint Paul explains clearly regarding those that have already died. That we should not be sad because Christ died to come back to life. In the same way those that have died in Christ will also be taken together with him. In this way then those that die believing in Christ will be raised. The Apostle Saint Paul also tells us that if Christ had not been raised how our faith would be in vain.

John 14 tells us that Christ has gone to prepare a mansion for us and when he comes he will take those that have done his will to have joy where he is.

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Everyone then lights their own candle from the Pascal Candle, representing Christ’s presence in the world, and within us. 

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