To be of support to people in need ... better yet, to know the people we help rather than blindly giving to a missionary charity. To expose our parish family to the world as it is ... this is the most important aspect. We as Americans live in a world of plenty ... and though that is not true for everyone, we don't usually have a tactile way to experience other parts of the world. The ministry of working and sharing with the people of El Recreo allows us that opportunity.
June 2017 Update
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.
St. Boniface Catholic Church has a sister village in El Salvador. The name of the canton (village) is El Recreo. We have helped them by providing barrels for a water collection system, providing seed and fertilizer, sending their children to school through graduation from high school, donating funds for them to build a community church which they named The Sacred Heart of Jesus, created a water chlorination system, and constructed a health clinic.
Delegations go to El Salvador approximately every six months to visit our sister canton. Our mission is not so much about going there to build buildings for them, but to build relationships. This has been a very rewarding relationship. St. Boniface celebrated its 10th anniversary of our first visit with the families of El Recreo in February of 2015. Celebrations were held at both El Recreo and here at St. Boniface. See the video of the El Recreo anniversary celebration. Read a synopsis of our 10th Anniversary 20th Trip to El Salvador. Read articles on our activities and view albums of our trips.
There are many options if you have an interest in participating in the El Salvador ministry. Join Fr. Vince and a delegation to visit El Recreo. You can also donate to various ongoing projects listed below.
- Send a child to school - $50
- Seed/Fertilizer - $50/ bag
- Emergency Health Fund
- Funding of stipend for Health Clinic Promoter
- Support for June youth delegates
- General El Salvador Donations
Once these projects are completed, the Compadres plan to use the additional monies for many other needs and projects in El Salvador. Make checks payable to St. Boniface Church. On the memo line please stipulate El Salvador Ministry. If you prefer to pay online, click the link to the right.