When we first visited the community of Santa Cruz, just downstream of a collapsed bridge along the coastal highway of El Salvador, the community was nearly buried in sand. The streets were covered in several feet of sand and other debris, the houses that weren’t destroyed by the raging river waters were partially buried or filled with sand and mud, debris and trash covered the area and many of the houses, and broken building materials were dangerously strewn throughout the area. While other organizations and government officials had been through the area to see the damage and assess the situation, nothing had yet been done to actually improve the situation.
We moved our Bobcat, some shovels and wheelbarrows, and our manpower to the site a few days later and began clearing the streets by pushing sand back into the river. One by one we opened up streets. Once a street was clear, teams of people began at the street and started moving sand and debris until we reached the front door. During the next 10 days labor was carried out by HFTH-FCH staff, volunteers from the American School of San Salvador, a Global Builders team from the Fuller Center, and many of the homeowners and children of the community. It was an amazing display of spirit, energy, and hope.