~Submitted by Pat McPhee
COVID cases in El Salvador, as of May 23, were at 1,819 with 33 deaths reported. The country is in a very stringent lock-down for two months now. Citizens are restricted to shopping twice a week for home supplies or medicines. The two days they are allowed out are specified by the last number on their state-issued identification cards that everyone is required to carry and these are checked by police & security personnel. Some of those found to be in violation of the quarantine have been taken to ‘containment centres’. (In one reported case, a single mother who was accompanying her little boy to the “latrino”, across the alley from their house, was picked up and incarcerated.)
The universities continue to offer on-line classes so Fatima and Adonay are attempting to keep up with that by buying data for their cell-phones, then sharing it with their computer/laptop as a Wi-Fi connection – there is no internet out in El Triunfo. However, in some ways, it would be preferable to live out in this small rural community – as Adonay writes,
“It is much better living here than in the city (San Salvador). In the rural communities, it is much more spacious and easier to distance. For example, spending free time reading about spirituality under the shade of a mango tree is very calming as is the atmosphere in my house.”
He does miss the face-to-face interaction with his professors, the group work, access to the library.
“The truth is, in reality, it is very difficult, but it is also an experience that helps us to value our studies.”
Marcela Pedrina and Katy Alejandra are First United’s two high school students and they, unfortunately, are not able to access any virtual classes due to lack of resources. The students in the rural communities have always been at a disadvantage if they were able to go on to high school (at Grade 10) because they have no familiarity with computers.
Now they have to look for different virtual tools to use and they are feeling even more pressure than they did in the face-to-face classes. Their school year is January to November, so hopefully they will be able to salvage some of their courses going forward.
This is a message from Wendy Hernandez and Jose Gomez at FUNDAHMER, the NGO that facilitates our sister community relationship:
“Praying from our homes that our God protects us and makes us better people to continue in this wonderful and amazing world, taking care of it. Also, for keeping our faith strong and grace for helping others. Our best wishes and virtual hugs.”
–Wendy and Jose