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Sunday, March 14, 2010

a people without organization is a people drowned in poverty

Email me for a copy! new newsletter!

Dear Friends of Santiago Texacuangos:

It has been a wild ride. With a shift from emergency relief to long term reconstruction planning,

we have been busier than ever! Giving away food and water was perhaps more physically taxing, since it

required weeks if sleepless nights and days of never-ending hikes, but we have new challenges.

We quickly learned that no other NGO was going to intervene, and the few we found that would

charged so much $$ per person that we would really make no impact. We do not want to help just 10

farmers, but accompanying the entire municipality of Santiago Texacuangos was unrealistic. We CAN

make an impact in 3 communities, supporting nearly 2,000 people.

After watching other NGOs fail to respond to community needs, or whose response was

charitable but stripped agency of the Salvadoran people, we knew we had to create something new and

revolutionary. We also knew we did not have the cash to rebuild infrastructure, like roads, houses, or

schools. We do, however, have the inspiration to EDUCATE and EMPOWER communities to do it

themselves.

Our team continues to inspire each other; we need to keep the fire burning. People lining up for

food and water is much simpler than trying to teach illiterate adults what their human rights in

disasters are! The fact that some adults could not read or write did not surprise, but the fact that the

MAJORITY ARE ILLITERATE does. We must implement popular education tools, learn by doing,

become facilitators of community knowledge, and draw pictures and play games. Our groups grow

every week. I am torn between the fact that we might run our of art supplies because of the problem of

TOO MUCH PARTICIPATION! What a fantastic dilemma! Thank goodness we have people like Dany

who turns trash into education material. We buy cheap paint in bulk and store it in coke bottles. Our

blackboard and chalk are sometimes newspaper and a red permanent marker. Our office is Mercedes’

porch. An NGO with our scope of work should have a budget of $200,000, and we pull it off with

$20,000. How the (*%&^ do we do this? With the inspiration of the martyrs, a great love for project

humanity, and a heck of a lot of generous friends we call for favors ).

We need more money, but I don’t have the heart to ask for it. Please donate to Haiti and Chile to

people and organizations on the ground (email me for suggestions, I have friends both places). These

disasters affect us too; World Food Program is cutting off aid due to stretched resources; USAID cannot

do anything in Joya Grande cuz its budget must go to Haiti.

HUGE thanks to the Seton Institute for a $6,500 donation that gave us the boost we needed to

hire professionals. It has revolutionized our work. Thanks to Connie Tellman for donating her Yoga

Class profits to hire the painter. We would have cut the Art Therapy program without your

encouragement, inspiration, and donation. At the risk of embarrassing my parents, thanks for the car

upgrade. Having a ’99 Isuzu Rodeo rather than a ’93 Ford Pick-Up NOT ONLY means that we have

4x4 to still get to Joya Grande when it starts raining in May, but it means that I no longer get stranded

on the side of the road once a week. Thanks to all of you for your support financial and spiritual, and

personal. I believe in El Salvador because you believe in El Salvador.

Paz

Beth Tellman

Coordinator, Friends of Santiago Texacuangos (soon to be Collective CEIBA)

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