First off, my scholarship nursing student finally graduated!! I accompanied him and his mom to the graduation ceremony in San Salvador, and then I treated them to lunch at Chilis in celebration. He has persevered and I'm glad its all over. A thank you to all those who helped out here and there throughout the years with his education.
|David's Mom, David, and me just before the graduation|
Next, here are the final pictures from the mural project inside the Community House. All is finished and that project is wrapped up now, although I would like to patch up some spots outside that haved scratched and put some better letters on the entrance, but for all intensive purposes, this project is done. Thank you to Kids to Kids and the Caja de Credito and some private donors for helping these murals and the art classes for the kids come to fruition.
Next, are a few photos of an ongoing project that we've been pushing the past few years. We have been gathering information and applying for grants for almost two years now for our potable water system here in our community. You might remember that we barely lost a grant proposal to Spain back a year ago, but now we've partnered with an NGO called Madre Cria who is now working with the Municipality to get a grant from the embassy of Japan. It is a super difficult project because our water system is located in three different communities and 2 different municipalities. Each community wants certain things, but the money is not enough to go around. My hope is if we win this opportunity to better the system, that it will open the door with Japan to continue working in the future. Another huge problem that we have had is that when the communities first started the potable water system, certain landowners donated pieces of land to make the system a reality. They did not, however, make written legal documents marking the transfer of ownership. Fastfoward to 25 years later, land has been sold, or inherited, and even though there are numerous witnesses to the donations, everything is trying to get money in return for officially signing over their (already donated) terrain. Projects all over the municipality have fallen through due to this, and our almost caved as well, because FIRST, international organizations refuse to work on private land, and SECOND, nobody has money to go around buying (or rebuying) pieces of land for every circumstance. At the end of the day though, it looks like we will fulfill all of Japan's pre-requisites in time to win the project, and that our years of work will have paid off. They have come and looked at everything and have given it the OK to proceed to the next step. The project will be well over 100k.
Here are some pics from our lawyers visit to mark of the land and search for it in the National registry.
|Inside of these "tanks" on the hillside, are where the water is gobbled up and sent to our communities.|
|The pipes coming in are from the captation tanks from the pic above and the water you see is the overflow that our system can't handle|
|The 21 years old US Motors vertical water pump|
I also got a chance to burn some of my vacation days that Peace corps has given me over the years. I actually have had quite a few, but have been unable to really take advantage of them for moneysake! We can't travel in the last three months of service, so I ended up losing about 20 days of vacation!!!!! Craziness. Anyways, I got a chance to go to Honduras for a few days in bus and we checked out the Mayan Ruins at Copan, and then shot up to the coast at Tela where we saw the 2nd largest Botanical Garden in the world. It was left behind by the United Fruit Company (remember the Banana Republic like places where all the naners used to come from?). The last day we passed through San Pedro Sula, which was just another big city. The ruins were my favorite part.
|Large bamboo....not native (this kind)|
|I didn't know cork was from a tree!|
|My first time seeing a coca plant|
|The place we stayed at Tela, Honduras at the beach|
|Irma is our registered nurse at Peace Corps that takes care of us vols|
|Underneath Copan Ruins|
|The 16 kings of Copan|
|Dunno who he is.|
|Looking down on the plaza...specifically the ball court|
In other big news... I had my first visitors here to El Salvador!!! My parents came down for a few days to check out my situation, and they did VERY well for not speaking the language. We basically just hung out in my community, and by the last dinner, they were telling jokes (through me of course) to the rest of my neighbor's family.
|Welcome!...my moms and me haha|
|Checking out my lemon tree|
|On top of the church by the bells|
|The parish house ladies! They are so nice!|
|Dinner with the fam... Mother telling her super pickle joke.|
|I pretty much have to walk like that in most houses haha.|
|A random guy showing up on my porch selling armadillos and crabs.|
|Me and the "maestro" Alex|
Finally, I've been in the capital the past few days in my final Med Checkups for Peace Corps to let me out of El Salvador. I finished today with a clean bill of health. Now all the paperwork will begin with my final reports and investigating more on grad schools. Also, I have my regional convention coming up to plan, so that will be a lot of work as well.
In the next post, I'll sum up two more projects that we are finishing up as we speak.... The system of metal bars for security in our Medical dispensary and the revamping of our natural spring that was affected by some landslides.
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."