Our Sister Parish
Presbytery of Des Moines

Community empowerment in Action

​As the local Berlín communities become more organized and self-reliant, they have formed “commissions.” These are small groups of 5-6 people from neighboring communities that jointly work within those communities to help communicate the results of the All Communities meetings held every other month. Along with the “actas” (official meeting minutes) from these meetings, the commissions help communities with their work and projects. As communities take more responsibility and ownership, they gain the confidence and experience to continue making improvements in their lives. As they rely more on themselves, they need the Pastoral Team’s help less; and that is always our goal . Read ahead for a reporting of this past year's accomplishments.
​Much work was accomplished during 2016 and we are proud to share it with you. That being said, there is so much more to do, won't you join us!

our sister parish stories 

Fertilizer

​Don Justo Coffee proceeds funded fertilizer for 12 unpartnered Berlín communities, helping 545 families to feed themselves. An additional 11 communities received fertilizer from their partner congregations, helping an additional 606 families. Berlín soil is horribly depleted from years of overuse, making it impossible without these essential, and expensive fertilizers to grow the corn and beans that families need to sustain themselves. Often, families are must either borrow money at high interest rates to pay for them or risk harvesting little to nothing without them. Fertilizer provides already hardworking people with an essential component they need to successfully feed their families. 

Second medical delegation

The medical delegation worked in rural villages to provide basic health care and education to people of Berlin. Serving were five doctors, four nurses, one pharmacist,one translator, and four support staff from the U,S, The delegation first visited a dirt floor community to understand  the everyday hardships which create severe health concerns, then they held four clinic days in four different villages, ultimately serving more than 800  people.  Most health concerns
​diagnosed were related to water (its inadequate consumption and poor quality) or a lack of nutrition. By supplying families with water collection tanks, fertilizer, emergency food packets and the parts needed to build dignified latrines, we don’t totally eliminate the health concerns, but we can help alleviate them.

water tanks

​From December to May, there is little to no rain in Berlín. Dust billows up in great, choking clouds from wheels or feet on the steep, dirt roads that snake up and down the mountain. The rest of the year, the challenges are ankle-deep ruts, slippery mud, and puddles.
For families that have running water, it may run only once in every week, two weeks, or even a month…and they don’t know when or for how long. Families that don’t have running water may have to walk a couple hours to fill a 5-gallon container from a spring or contaminated stream, then carry it home. Every day. It’s a chore that takes people away from school or work.
This is why water tanks are so important. Without a tank to store water when it does run, families have no choice but to obtain water from far away or to buy it at too high a price. Water trucks that come through the area sell the water at $3.00-$5.00/barrel. For families that had little to no income in the past year due to the drought and the ensuing crop losses, they simply don’t have it.
Having a water tank changes everything. Rainwater can be captured and stored. When the water runs, families can fill their tank.
When the water stops running and the rains end, these families will still have water to drink as well as use for cleaning, cooking, and bathing. When tanks are delivered, the entire community turns out to share in the excitement. As they sign for their tank, they are reminded of what they all know; tanks are generous gift from partner congregations or projects, a huge boon to health and productivity, and a precious resource to be protected and cared for always.

​Summarized from Dallas Center’s report of delivering tanks to their partner community of Virginia and representative of many others. Our goal is for every family to have a tank.

scholarships

​More than 84 middle and high school students received scholarships in 2016. An additional 3 people, previous high school recipients, are now receiving assistance to attend two-year technical schools. Having a degree not only improves their chances of escaping poverty, but it also prepares them to serve as leaders in their communities.


 
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Our sister Parish Mission Statement

Our Sister Parish mission is a faith based ecumenical effort designed to bring hope and social development to the poor of the pueblo of Berlín, El Salvador, particularly those who live in the cantons of Berlín. Our goal is to raise awareness and embrace solidarity by developing committed relationships within churches in the US and with our brothers and sisters in El Salvador. In the relationships that develop between US churches and the poor of the cantons, faith will grow and the love of God will be profoundly experienced for all involved.