We have completed our 24th visit to El Salvador. We had 11 delegates participate. It was great to see members of our 165 households. Our family ties with them remain evident in the welcome we received during our days there.
The people of El Recreo showed emotional appreciation for the 264,000 lbs of edible corn they received from St. Boniface after their total crop failure of 2015-16. This year’s crop was very good, by El Salvadoran standards. A one-acre plot is their average size, and it reaped about 35 bushel. That will last a family of four thru most of the next year. Roughly 25% of the El Recreo population have only corn to eat…..day after day, week after week. Another 50% has some beans to add to their diet. And then 25% (usually smaller families) have an ability to add other vegetables to their diet. The average daily calorie intake is about 600-800. We Americans have an average daily calorie intake of 2000-2500.
Our new clinic and our health worker, Batrice, who runs it for us, have been a great improvement to the health of El Recreo. A doctor comes at least one day a month. Our health worker has taken a census of all our families and logged health issues. She is able to handle exams, simple procedures, and is the point person for referring people to the Berlin Clinic or hospital.
We now have five computers in our computer lab in El Recreo. This is the second year they have access to the internet. Dozens of grade and high schools use the lab. We have a young man named Henry who runs the lab for St. Boniface. After the years of trying to bring computer service to El Recreo, we finally did it off a cell phone hot spot (I don’t know what that means, but it works!).
St. Boniface supports the education of over 150 students. We pay to send every youth to school.
We are engaged in water projects that will help to bring drinkable water into the canton. It will be chlorinated and safe. About half of El Recreo is hooked up already. Many of the other half don’t have the $200 to get a usable faucet from the pipe on the road. And then it can be $5 a month from there. From donations received last year, we are finding new ways we can increase connection to fresh water.