The Cleveland Diocese has had a presence in El Salvador for nearly 25 years, through times of war and times of peace. Sister Rose has 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. We first met Sister Rose at the November 2008 Millard and Linda Fuller Blitz Build in El Salvador. About ten months later the connection was remade and a mutually beneficial relationship was formed.
On January 22 we finished the third day of work on the first Greater Blessings project in Chiltiupan. Generally the Fuller Center is in the business of building new homes but the Greater Blessings program allows families with existing homes to receive basic repairs or improvements. 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 us to pour a new concrete floor.
We spent the first day leveling and exploring how the job would be done. The second day we poured the floor for the first room 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. They are extremely active and dedicated to the local Chiltiupan parish and continually giving of themselves to those in their community.
The project was such a success that we are going back to do a second floor for another Chiltiupan family on February 10, 2010.