I could not possibly update you on the insanity of every day. let alone one hour. there are thousands of buried stories.
We estimate now that nearly 700 families have been affected in our area. In el salvador, that means thousands of people (3-8 per family!). Out best guess is that in santiago texacuango, me, my pick up with its rag tag team of american and salvadoran volunteers, we were the only ones giving food and water out to THOUSANDS of people.
I do not believe we saved everyone. The landslide alone claimed at least 50 lives in our area, and completely destroyed livlihoods of thousands. Even if your houses didnt fall over and wash away, you lost your crops. That means there is ZERO income this year.
Some communities are better- cleared roads (again thanks to the FMLN volunteers and your support for giving them water) aid has come for some communities. Joya Grande was FULL of volunteers yesterday. and perhaps even scarier, the 512 families who feld to shelters are coming back to nothing with nothing. we were able to dig some out of their houses, but its literally too overwhleming to help everyone. again, i need someone with a voice to get me an NGO with power, organization, and money. as much as our money has literally saved lives this week, reconstruction just for this teeny part of el salvador will cost probabaly 1 million. which a bunch of 22 year olds probabaly cannot raise. thats ok. we can save lives this week with you help. which we did.
i am taking 2 days off the field to spend more time finding NGOs and institutional support. im hope to talk to CRS today.
Red Cross is off limits. dont donate to them. they are not reading people who need help. They only work with the mayors of each area. unfortunately for us, the mayor is from the Arena party. All international aid from the red cross goes to his office. he hoards it, sells it, and poor communities who vote for the leftist political party get nothing but what beth brings in her truck. thats really frustrating and sucks. there are rooms full of beans 2 blocks from where i arrive everyday. it had made me cry and scream several times. however, salvadoran keep reminding me to save my energy to work positively. i am incensed. i am so angry than i can possibly explain-but i refuse to waste my energy on that right now. maybe later i can write a book about all this and dedicate a chapter to how much i dislike the mayor of santiago texacuangos, the arena party, and everything else that has made this disaster not so natural.
In a crazy twist of events, there is TOO MUCH AID IN OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY. calling and faxing and emailing every other NGO we can find, we learned that there is too much aid in san vicente, the epicenter where most people died. (!*#&*^!&. thhat they cant even find places to store all the beans and rice and water. (*!#&%!@. are YOU SERIOUS?!?!?!
yet, no one will come to santiago texacuangos. its too far, or not in thier area of coverage, or they claim they already dropped stuff off at the mayors office.
i guess this happens in disaster- all aid goes to the epi-center and everyone on the margins gets forgotten about and screwed over. unless you are friend with disaster team disaster (aka me and my truck and stuff your money buys)
will update more later. taking time to think and strategize. the worse is almost over.
except for santa cruz la vega. we couldnt get to them yesterday. we have not been there since wednesday. we are the only ones who have brought them water. it takes 2.5 hours to hike down there. 35 families live there. my truck is broken and i cant get them water today. i have your money to buy water, but no way to get there today. SO FRUSTRATING. i hope they dont die. i couldnt sleep last night because i just kept seeing thier faces. even when i try to take a break and relax and sleep i cant. its not relaxing when you know what i know and have seen what i have seen.
short of it is. i need someone with a helicopter to drop water off in santa cruz la vega. we cant contact them because there is no electricyt and all cell service is cut off. if you know someone in el salvdor with a helicopter, please call me as soon as possible. 011.503.7188.0129
thanks for all your support
love and confusion