We just recently returned from our second Mission Trip to El Salvador. Our desire to help the poor in El Salvador originated at our parish in Amherst Ohio. The Cleveland Diocese has had a prescence in El Salvador for fifty years. You may recall that during a civil war in El Salvador in the late 70's and 80's thousands of innocent civilians were brutally tortured and killed. In fact, Cleveland's own Sister Dorothy Kazel was but one of such people who was raped, beaten and killed on December 2, 1980. People fleed to the mountains for safety.
While much time has passed and the civil unrest has subsided, the poverty in El Salvador continues to devastate their people. During our trips to El Salvador we have lived with their people and experienced first hand how financially challanged they continue to be. We also have experienced their generouslty and have watched them celebrate their faith. While they may be poor economically, they by all standards are rich in their spiritual beliefs and committment to family.
We cannot adequately describe how warmly we have been received by these people and, while their needs are overwhelming, they are not looking for handouts. They, however, do appreciate any hand up we are able to provide.
On the last day of this year's trip, we traveled in the back of a pick up truck to the top of one of El Salvador's mountains. There we met a couple who were 98 years old and had the opportunity to visit their home. What we experienced that day has had a dramatic effect on our life. You see, we went there planning to construct some walls around what we thought was their existing home. What we found that day was undescribable. This beautiful couple of over eighty years, lived there together with nothing more that a metal roof supported by cut tree limbs and a tarp half torn on one side to shelter them from the elements. They had no water, no toilet, a bag of beans and of course no electrcity. The lady, in addition to being 98 years old and frail, had been blind for the past fifteen years.
That day we hauled cinder blocks, cement, water, and two by fours some two hundred yards from the small rough trail that connected them to civilization. As we started to clear the dirt floor of the area they called home, we lifted up a make shift wooden bed. Immediately at least a dozen rats scattered away. I couldn't help but think to myself that "no one should have to live this way." Yet in the midst of this squalor, they greeted us with gratitude,and warmly welcomed us to their home on the top of this mountain.
We spent the day building walls and a door for these lovely people, to help shelter them from the pending rainy season they call winter. That day we gave them a new home and a little piece of dignity and comfort. The cost to us, a little less than $1000.00 dollars and a day of work.
In El Salvador there are no goverment funded programs available to assist the poor in this way, no "Habitat for Humanity", and no homeless shelters. Thousands are left, like these people, to fend for themselves.
The Lord has led us to these people and we feel a calling to help the many others who face similiar conditions on the mountain tops of El Salvador. We have committed ourselves to build as many such structures as possible over the next few years establishing a company name of OPERATION RESCUE INC., which stands for, "Rebuilding El Salvador Communities Unfairly Evicted".
We would like to ask for your help in building 100 such homes. Any monitary donation you might be able to make would be appreciated. While there is no shortage of poor in this world these people, due to no fault of their own, live in a country where there are no federally funded programs, no food stamps, no unemployment benifits, no health care and no shelters for the homeless. Won't you please help us to help them? It all begins with a willingness to share! We are a non-profit tax deductible charity allowing you to claim your contribution on your Federal Tax return. Our Federal EIN Number is: EIN 47-1582141.
May God Bless you and your family!