Monday was our first day working with the people here to help build homes. Our group of 24 from Sheridan was split into four groups. Two groups were working on homes. One group was digging holes for wastewater and one group moved about 600 bricks.
The group that moved the bricks (they affectionately dubbed themselves “Team: Special Opps”) group was able to meet a few of the children from the neighborhood, which was great. They are so happy to play with us, and answer questions about themselves and their family. One young girl, Patty, told us she goes to school from 7am to noon. Her younger brother, Juan Carolo, is too young for school.
While the students are at school, their mothers, grandmothers and others are at the Community Center making food, so many of the familes come there to pick the food up when they get home from school. Many years ago, some Sheridan members helped build the Community Center. Nila expressed great joy for being able to see the compeleted center, even though it had been years since she helped to work on the project.
Habitat for Humannity El Salvador does a great job of teaching us about the country and the need for the help all the teams provide. Here are some facts from the orientation. These celebrate the great working being done here, but also the need for the work to continue.
* The population of El Salvador is 6.5 million. About 900,000 of those people have no home, or at least not a suitable home.
* The average monthly income for a person with a formal job is $230.
* There are 2 million people from El Salvador working in the U.S., and 1 million in other parts of the world. They send a lot of their income home to their families in El Salvador. That is the reason El Salvador has U.S. currency.
* The people who get a Habitat home pay about $65 per month for that home. They are also supposed to help build the home. Those who get a subsidy pay about $25 per month. (this is the case for the community we are working in this week.)
* In the area we are working Habitat has built 215 homes-with hopes to finish 25 more before the project ends in 6 months.
* For a public college, tuition costs $5 to $30 per month. Private college is $50 to $500 per month.
* 93 percent of children enroll in first grade. Of the original 93 percent; two percent enroll in college.
* If they learn English, they can work in call centers and earn $600 to $800 per month. At Cristo Rey they teach English classes to children.
Our group is tired; but exited to get back out there tomorrow!
Thank you for the continued prayers.