The first four weeks of the Lent Build were very productive and fun-filled. As you know from previous posts, we hosted two international teams (31 volunteers!) during the first week, one representing our project partner, Myers Park Presbyterian Church, and another representing our sister affiliate, Habitat for Humanity Charlotte (Charlotte, North Carolina). Twelve Canadian students from McGill University built with us during the second week. Even though the third week was a little quieter without international teams, the masons and family members continued to work enthusiastically. We made a lot of progress last week, in great part due to the 26 volunteers who hailed from our sister affiliate Fort Wayne Habitat for Humanity (Fort Wayne, Indiana). A team from Rothesay Netherwood School (New Brunswick, Canada) joined them for two days as well. (They had built the previous week in another department and wanted to check out the project.)
In addition to hosting more than 80 international volunteers, we have also coordinated 16 national teams representing churches, businesses, academic institutions and other organizations, including the Presbyterian Church of Ahuachapán, International Elim Mission, Mosh Studios, the UCA (Universidad Centroamericana “José Simeón Cañas”), the Bernardino Zamora Middle School, the American School and also the United States Embassy. These volunteers have generously sacrificed their Saturdays to dig foundations, mix concrete and raise walls.
We are also thrilled to count on the support of daily community teams from PATI. PATI (which stands for Programa de Apoyo Temporal al Ingreso or Temporal Income Support Program) is a new pilot project that the national government has launched. It aims to provide vocational training, stable income to unemployed individuals as well as community development. Ahauchapán was one of the first municipalities to benefit from the program, and Habitat El Salvador arranged for some of the Getsemaní residents participating in PATI to build as part of their work commitment. In this way, Getsemaní community members can participate in the Lent Build, contribute sweat equity and increase their family income.
—Habitat El Salvador team