Yesterday morning we spent several hours at the immigration office renewing our visas for another year in El Salvador. It’s a necessary part of life here, and it’s always an experience trying to navigate the red tape while keeping our very bored kids under control while we all wait to get approved. This video in both Spanish and English is actually quite hilarious. This year things went really smoothly, but it always seems like there is a crazy amount of paperwork that needs to get done ahead of the yearly residence renewal!
In my last post, I highlighted the need for one-on-one connections with our friends on the street. That’s the heart of the Lighthouse Project. The more we get to know our clients, the more we learn just exactly what they are up against. For example, did you know that El Salvador has a higher death rate from alcohol consumption than any other country in the Americas? Did you know that men in El Salvador are 27.8% more likely to die from an alcohol related cause than women? (You can read the full article here). Did you know that this past weekend, the Salvadoran newspaper La Prensa Grafica reported that 40 children have been murdered so far in El Salvador this year? Forty lives 17 and under have been cut short since January […]
Yesterday as I was driving around the city the word “La Trata” jumped out at me. This is the Spanish word that refers to human trafficking…the buying and selling of people. Within an hour I saw two billboards and one bus explaining that “La Trata” is a crime and urging women and girls not to be deceived. This is huge. The truth is that despite the hotness of the topic of human trafficking in the States, many in El Salvador are unaware of the problem. Girls disappear, and women are sold into horrific situations of forced prostitution and domestic servitude. Hopefully that will begin to change. The new campaign, led by the First Lady of El Salvador, includes television commercials aimed at preventing child trafficking, and signs around El Salvador. […]
Today has been declared National Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the U.S., and the whole month has been declared Human Trafficking Awareness Month. This is an issue that many people are aware of in the U.S., and great strides are being taken to identify and protect victims. Here in El Salvador, human trafficking or “la trata” as it is called, is an issue too. Here is a quick overview of the situation in El Salvador: -women and children are far more likely to be trafficked than men -poverty is the number one risk factor for girls and women that become victims -the majority of victims are sexually exploited, but there are some who are forced into agricultural or domestic servitude -El Salvador is a source, destination, and transit country -within El Salvador, victims […]
Today when I was reading the news online, I came across a story highlighting El Salvador’s gang truce. The truce means the murder rate has fallen significantly, but many Salvadorans remain suspicious. Check out the story by the BBC for a glimpse into a prison housing gang members, and some of the story behind El Salvador’s gang problems. It’s definitely worth reading.
We survived our tri-country road trip to Nicaragua and we had a fun time doing it! The kids were absolutely wonderful in the car thanks to snacks and electronic devices. The trip there and back was fairly uneventful with the exception of Jon getting stung by a bee five minutes into the trip, Honduran roads filled with potholes, immigration officials on lunchbreak, and a policeman who wanted a few bucks in exchange for giving Jon’s license back. It took us about 14 hours to get there counting border crossings, breaks for meals, and police checkpoints. Coming home we made it in 12 hours thanks to Jon finding a short-cut. The road was only semi-paved but it did shave some time off of our trip. The conference itself was a great experience too. We […]
Preparations are underway for Operation Roadtrip 2012. We are heading to Nicaragua for the YWAM Regional Conference for all the missionaries working in Mexico and Central America. This will definitely be the longest car trip our kids have taken in awhile. Back in 2009 we travelled across a big chunk of the U.S. , but we all seemed to have blocked that out. Any major trips since that time have involved airplanes. As you can imagine, this trip is causing quite a bit of dread excitement around our house The trip will take us from San Salvador, El Salvador to Diriamba, Nicaragua. Diriamba is located past Managua, somewhere around Granada. Mileage wise, it’s about the distance of driving across Pennsylvania. We’re not sure how many hours it will take us as we […]
Jon wanted to share some thoughts on an experience he had last week. In his words… Mid-morning on Friday, I was on my way to the immigration office for our yearly residency renewal, when I received a phone call asking for my help. It was someone from one of our ministry sites calling to tell me that four boys had run away. Three of them had lived on the street before, but one was pressured into going along. It is a bad situation for any boy to be on the street, but the fourth boy caused particular concern. The streets of San Salvador are rough, and this boy had no experience being out there alone. “Jon, please look out for Pedro *”, they asked. Because of our work on the streets, and the familiarity […]
Today while you all are celebrating Thanksgiving American-style, we are kind of doing our normal routine. Running errands, working in Apopa, going to parent-teacher meetings…and feeling a little homesick. But the kids do have off school and there are some Salvadorans who celebrate Thanksgiving. Later this evening, after everyone is home from work, we will be gathering with some friends for Thanksgiving dinner. Today is traditionally a day to give thanks for all that God has given. I just want to take the opportunity today to fill you in on a few recent things that have happened here that warrant lots of thanks! First, some of you may recall the prayer request that I sent out back in July concerning a young boy named Jared. He was two years old with […]
I am home today with two very sick kids who are fighting the last of the stomach virus that they had all weekend. Our friends Jeff and Lynn Beans are here for two weeks, and we went to the beach with them. Unfortunately, a nasty stomach bugs seems to be making it’s way through our house just as Tropical Storm Matthew is making it’s way through Central America. Not a great beach combination, but we managed to have fun anyway! Today the Beans are at CIPI, one of the state-run orphanages, volunteering with Jon and I am on “sick kid” duty all day! Since I am stuck on the couch with the kids, I was doing some reading in the Baltimore Sun about an immigration case that is currently hot […]