Dean Stevens: Central America Travel
hills
Join us on one of our twice-a-year visits to villages in El Salvador, generally in the months of February and July of each year.

  The people in El Higueral, Izotalillo, Teosinte and Nueva Esperanza are subsistence farmers, and were refugees during the Salvadoran conflict in the 80's, some of them in Honduras, others internally displaced within El Salvador.

    During the late 80's many committees formed in the US and Canada to support them in their efforts to return to their villages and rebuild their lives. The inspiration for this effort came from the stories of the suffering of these people through those years, when their villages were destroyed by US sponsored military batallions, and many of their relatives and family members were murdered. Our accompaniment of these people during the years of reconstruction, and on into the new millenium, has been a life transforming experience that I long to share with others who are interested.

    These trips usually last between 7 and 9 days, during which we visit 4 tiny remote villages in Chalatenango, in northern El Salvador on the border with Honduras. The trips, sponsored in part by 4 support committees in the US, as well as numerous individuals, have been going on since 1991. As of this counting (2/07), I have taken 31 groups to visit these villages. During these years we have become involved in a number of projects, and the trips are ongoing efforts to stay abreast of these endeavors.





Stories  - link to lyrics and mp3 of a song
I wrote about
what happened to the people of
El Higueral, Chalatenango, El Salvador
on Feb. 14, 1981)


Here is an incomplete list of things we've done, and efforts we've helped fund:
*
A school construction in El Higueral
*
A women's sewing/crafts coop in Teosinte
*
Water projects in El Higueral, Nueva Esperanza and
 Izotalillo
*
Scholarships for high school and university students
Support for teachers in all villages
*
A coffee production project in Izotalillo
*
Funding for home construction in Nueva Esperanza and El Higueral
*
Support for Town Councils-Youth Leadership Training
*
Special medical projects:
        -heart surgery in the US for a girl from El Higueral
         -support for families with special medical issues
*
Work delegations with high-school students
*
Tilapia Pond Project
*
Delivery of enormous quantities of material aid
    meds
    school supplies
    sports equipment
    clothing, tools.

    During the trips we generally meet with town councils and with scholarship students. We review project finances. We have meals with families. We sleep in community centers, or in peoples' homes. We pick up products to sell, crafts from the sewing coop in Teosinte, and coffee from farmers in Izotalillo. Occasionally, but not always, a trip will have a work component, involving painting, digging, making adobes, other kinds of physical work. This is never a compulsory part of the trip. In February we like to visit a "molienda", a very festive sugar-cane grinding and processing that happens at that time of the year.

   At the end of the trip we sometimes take an outing to some tourist destination in another part of the country (beach, archaological _site, museum, crafts shopping). On the last evening of our stay in the country, I have been inviting Salvadoran musicians to our lodging house in El Salvador, or to a bigger hall, for a jam/music sharing.
 
   This is a personal endeavor of mine, not for profit of any kind.. I am not actively soliciting people to come, and prefer small delegations to large ones. I am also not trying to turn this into a fundraising machine, or to grow it into something bigger than it already is. But I am proud to have taken about 150 people to El Salvador during the course of the last 16 years (1991-2007), and to have done a bunch of cool stuff in these villages.
 
   The trip costs whatever the plane fare is, plus $200 for ground expenses (food,transportation, lodging). We fill up our baggage allotment with materials to leave there, and bring back lots of coffee and crafts to sell as a benefit for the villages (see crafts and coffee weblinks). We welcome financial and material donations for various projects, but rarely solicit for $$$.
   
    Feel free to call or email for more information.