Thursday, October 29, 2009

!Saludos amig@s de Cuidades Hermanas!

As some of you know, two lovely, young, fantastic, volunteers from Lawrence, Kansas are staying in their sister community of El Papaturro until the end of March. Our super awesome staff came up with the wonderful idea of sending monthly updates about our experience- y estamos de acuerdo.

We arrived on October 14th after attending the rockin' National Gathering in Chicago (with several others of you on this listserve), and were greeted by three members of the regional CIRPDES branch in Suchitoto- PROGRESO- where we will be working 3 days a week. They whisked us away to the ever-welcoming community of El Papaturro, our home through the winter.

We've had several meetings with the community directiva and the newly formed ecological committee, which we will be working with over the coming months. The ecological group is made up of about 25 youth from the community, and they have already begun several projects, including:
trash clean-up every 15 days
wooden signs hung over the main road with environmental messages
installation of public trash cans throughout the community
planting of trees for additional shade in public spaces
along with other general awareness-raising projects. One of our goals while working with this group is to create a brochure of the work they have accomplished to share with youth in neighboring communtites in hopes that the movemnt will spread. They have also been working with a nearby Permaculture Institute, and we will be helping to start and maintain an organic garden! This group has really shown how to "Think Globally and Act Locally!"

We have quickly become incorporated into daily community activities, and are eager to learn, from washing clothes in our pila, to milking cows, to making tamales from sweet corn masa (elote), to beginning to learn how to sew clothes and make jewelry- we are kept busy and are constantly leanring new skills and new words in Spanish. We hope to be able to make those perfectly even and round torillas like the women here.

We attended a community assembly, where the security of El Papaturro was discussed. In response to rising levels of delinquency throughout the country, the community decided to have volunteers from each family take turns acting as a nightly vigilance crew. The decision was especially timely, as the community's anniversary is November 25th, and the week of celebratory festivites- such as the big dance- attract many outside visitors to participate. (The ecological group plans to hold a pupusa-eating competition to raise money- the minimum goal is 12 pupusas! Yikes!)

We have also begun to accompany PROGRESO members on their trips to communtities and meetings. We will continue to support these activities, and also share computer skills with the directive.

We will update our blog with photos of our activities, at
Please email us with questions or ideas and we'll include them in our next update. Abrazos fuertes a todos y todas, y hasta luego!

-Jennifer ( and Sally (

Sally Birmingham &/or Jennifer Kongs
Calle Principal, Casa #72,
Barrio La Cruz
Suchitoto, Cuscatlan
El Salvador

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