Dear Friends, I just returned from a trip to Guarjila last week. I have returned every year since 2005. You really need to know what it is like now in El Salvador and for the Tamarindo community. What confronted me was very clear. Statistics say there are now literally two choices for young men in El Salvador: join a gang or leave as quickly as you can for the United States.
GUARJILA LIKE I HAVE NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE That means you go undocumented, and pay about $12,000 for a very dangerous trip. At some point in every conversation during this trip, the same question always came up. "Did you notice that now there are hardly any young men around here these days?" This is very different from last year - or any year. This is now so profound that Santos couldn't hold the usual soccer tournament with Guarila and the surrounding towns. There aren't enough young men to fill teams. Can you imagine that?
Education Isn't Required...
Education brings opportunity for a better future, but education is not valued in the country. The high school director told us there are only 22 students enrolled in the school, and she has a budget of $1500 for the whole year from the government. This year there are 68 kindergarteners at the elementary school in Guarjila, and in 9th grade there are only 19. Why? Because education is not valued, and there is no requirement to be in school. There are many more very young parents who are now the third generation of "kids" who grew up in Guarila without parents. Their parents left them to go to the US. They never had models for parenting and were never taught the importance of an education. It's very common that if kids don't want to go to school, the parents allow them to DROP OUT… in Elementary School!
The Tamarindo is the Survival Option:
A third option for survival? Learn about hope through a 31-year
Tamarindo program where you will feel love through Tamarindo leaders who grew up in the community, model love and respect in their leadership, and spend time with every Tamarindo. There are opportunities to embrace life and communication skills that don't exist anywhere else. You'll find a weekly women's group, 110 children and adults in the Tamarindo English Academy,
classes of First Learners, and opportunities to sit at any one of many outdoor tables and read a book from the first ever Lending Library. Here is where a love for education is developed because theirs is a system that has abandoned them. Imagine finding economic survival by creating a business like Gio, one of our directors, with his dairy business, Alex, one of our Cortina Scholarship grads who has a storefront legal practice right on the
main street of Guariila. The Tamarindo -funded beauty parlor and a local restaurant for the community. And their stories are not alone giving Hope a real presence in Guarjila.
Make an Impact Today!
This option for survival has never been more clear. In Guarjila in the last three years. Sixteen entire families and 126 individuals have left for the US, never able to return. These are just the ones we know about. None of them were part of the Tamarindo program.The Tamarindo program provides faith, safety, opportunity, empowerment,
education.and belonging. Please consider investing in these very people who invest in themselves. They can't do it alone!