The Fuller Center for Housing (FCH) El Salvador continues bettering and expanding their reach, keeping decent shelter for all a priority throughout the country. Here’s a report from Micah Whitt on what they’ve been up to. You can read, view more photos and learn more on The Fuller Center El Salvador site.
FCH El Salvador Revives Neighborhood Clinic
A privately operated clinic sits in Santa Clara, the community cooperative of which the Fuller Center’s 60-home housing project is a part, just around the corner from Villa Linda and Millard Fuller.
For the past few years several volunteer teams have brought medical supplies and other donations to the clinic to keep it operating and to make sure the clinic can provide a decent level of service to the local residents.
While the clinic building is structurally sound it has otherwise been in physical disrepair for as long as FCH El Salvador has been in the area.
Fuller Center’s local staff made repairs to the building’s exterior all week in preparations of a Saturday work day. We replaced most of the soffit panels under the roof overhang and made preparations to the building for painting.
Pamela Morrill, a friend from the Union Church of San Salvador, orchestrated the work day with help from the United States Women’s Association in San Salvador. The association paid for the paint and provided a few volunteers. Volunteers also came from La Casa de mi Padre, the Salvadoran national race walking team, as well as some visiting Canadian volunteers.
A team from Old Lyme, Conn. is coming with 28 volunteers to Villa Fuller in February and about three suitcases worth of medical supplies for the clinic.
Greater Blessings on top of the world
The Cleveland Diocese has had a presence in El Salvador for nearly 25 years, through times of war and times of peace. Sister Rose spent much of that time in Chiltiupan, a small farming village on the top of a mountain range with an ocean view and a cool breeze. Sister Rose first came to The Fuller Center during the November 2008 Millard and Linda Fuller Blitz Build in El Salvador. About 10 months later the connection was remade and a mutually beneficial relationship was formed.
On Jan. 22 the third day of work was completed on the first Greater Blessing project in Chiltiupan. Sister Rose identified a family who had the title to a piece of land with a large "bajareque" home (one constructed from poles held together with a clay/straw mortar) and an uneven dirt floor. She asked The Fuller Cener to pour a new concrete floor.
The floor for the first room was poured with Sister Rose’s visiting team from the Church of St. John Neumann in Cleveland, Ohio. We brought our cement mixer and passed buckets down a line through the house. On the third day we poured the second and third rooms to finish the house with the help of the family and a few local volunteers.
The family included a grandfather and mother, their daughter and husband, and three young children who all help to grow corn, oranges and other crops to sustain themselves.
The project was such a success that we are going back to do a second floor for another Chiltiupan family on Feb. 10.
One Greater Blessing project in El Salvador costs only about $400. Interested in sponsoring a similar project? Visit our sponsorship page.
FCH El Salvador goes green with 107 trees
While Country Director Michael Bonderer recently spent time in Haiti (read Bonderer’s stories from Haiti here), the remaining staff in El Salvador kept busy on several projects. One project was addressing the long-term need for vegetation and life in Villa Fuller. The project in Santa Clara is located in a rural setting in farm land and temperatures on the work site can seem unbearable at times. Since the land was formerly a dry, dusty plot there is almost no shade except for that of our homes.
In the quest for relief Zuze Bonderer made several appeals for trees from local government agencies. Fuller Center staff have had a long-term relationship with Consejo Nacionál, a Salvadoran Federal agency that deals with adolescent needs throughout the country. Carman Cordoba, a Director of Consejo Nacionál, directed us to the Alcaldias (City Hall) of San Salvador and Soyapango, the capitol and the second largest city in El Salvador. In the end, the Alcaldia of Soyapango donated about 65 trees and small shrubs and San Salvador donated 75.
Once assembled, the collection of trees at Villa Fuller was a jungle of trees and shrubs of all sizes. There were orange, lemon and other fruit trees along with flowering trees and a wide variety of shrubs and bushes. The job of planting was an obvious match to the kids that would be joining us again from the American School of San Salvador. This school, the first international Student Builders group, began working with The Fuller Center in the fall of 2009 and sent a new group of 12 kids to work with us this semester.
The fresh group arrived on Feb. 7. Led by the school’s Community Service Director, Holly Jones, the team was given an orientation to the work being done in Villa Fuller and a tour of the construction sites. The kids were eager to get to work and we quickly laid out a plan and began digging holes.
The students planted 107 plants, leaving some for the remaining active construction sites. After a few years of growth and nurturing, Villa Fuller will be transformed into a beautiful landscape of life and fruit. Hopefully we will have created many places of much needed shade around the project, begun the first step toward a sustainable fruit-bearing enterprise for the community, and given the families something to be proud of.