|tito, with his accounting notebook in hand|
|henri, 8 , children's emerency comittee la marmonera|
In an evaluation of the event, the kids reflected on how good it felt to help out another family, and try to accomplish a project they started. Many kids told us it was the "best weekend ever.." Because we didn't just work! The El Sauce kids decided to spend the night in the Casa Comunal of Joya Grande, and build relationships with the youth of another community. Each youth group presented the history, mission, and vision of their group, and the challenges they have had making change in their own community. El Sauce was pretty impressed with the Joya Grande youth's many projects- plans to put up a Red Cross post in Joya Grande, extensive surveys of the community, and a Halloween party to raise funds for the group. Jonathan from CEIBA then gave a presentation on obligatory military service in El Salvador (the governments newest "violence prevention" plan). We discussed the structure of WHO makes decisions FOR youth in El Salvador- and the fact that youth are not actively involved in writing such proposals and projects. Everyone was unanimously against obligatory service, and concluded that the real problems of gang violence are rooted in unemployment and lack of access to education. To follow up on these issues, CEIBA is involved with CIPJES , a national network of youth organizations that encourage political and democratic participation. We sent two of the El Sauce Kids, Jorge and Linda, to the CIPJES formation schools to learn about many issues affecting Salvadoran youth- among these- integral strategies for violence prevention.
We reverted to playing cards and indoor soccer, altho the shouts coming from each mini goal was just as loud as the booming reggaeton...
|untying the human knot on the island|
|first boat ride ever for many|
Thanks to Ryan Alaniz's Futbol Project, we then distributed 4 sets of jersyes, socks and shorts! (one for each women's and men's team in each community). Sweating in our new gear,
|enjoying our coconut juice, sweet victory, and NEW JERSEYS!|
At our weekly meeting in El Sauce, Tito informed me that the Joya Grande kids would be coming to visit El Sauce, and kick their butts in soccer. Their idea, their logistics, their youth group. That is project sustainability- give youth groups skills to plan and fundraise, and the responsability to manage an event...and they start to plan and execute their own projects. It may seem small or silly, but to live in a world of poverty and violence and take the initiative to plan intercomunal youth activities...is a bold step in the right direction for violence prevention. What kids need here is to be given a PLACE, a VOICE and to feel VALUED.
When a good friend Colette interviewed the El Sauce kids on violence prevention ideas, one kid replied, "well, I think what CEIBA is doing you know, coming here and opening up a space for us to feel good and hang out." Pretty simple concept- but somehow so complicated for the government to take seriously. Art, soccer, and education....are probabaly much cheaper projects to run than obligatory military service. In fact, in one weekend we spent $400 to fill in a sinkhole to save someone's house, foment intercommunal youth participation, discuss obligatory military service, talk about our dreams, and play soccer. Clearly, we prevent more than Josue's house falling over. This kind of good clean fun and positive development of our ideas and dreams, as well as critical analysis of government policies, is cheap and effective violence prevention. The real win of the weekend was not the service project- it was the space that was created for youth to participate, help out, and ENJOY BEING YOUNG, something that doesnt happen very often here.
So this weekend, I get to give El Sauce kids $40 of what they raised to make the BIGGEST bucket of Tang ever been seen, and 100 chicken sandwhiches for a post game celebration....no matter who wins.