Thursday, April 23, 2020

Testimonies from communities about how they are being impacted by the COVID 19. Third part.



• Food supply: 
Most of the suppliers of the local stores in the community have stopped their work, so we did not find the main foods of the basic basket available, and we know that some of the families in the community live day-to-day. 

• Lack of transportation: 
People looking to buy to supply their homes with food now find it very difficult since most of the public transport stopped working weeks ago and only two pick-ups are working. It is worth mentioning that the traffic police have limited them to transporting only 12 people since they are abiding by prevention measures to avoid crowding of people, and families who have vehicles do not help the rest to move because they are afraid that the police will fine them and even take them to the detention centers as punishment. 

• Businesses have declined greatly: 
The community is known for having enterprising people. The pandemic has affected all their jobs. Those who sold food have not obtained suppliers and have closed their businesses, and even if they could find it, they would not have sustainability because now they can only sell at home. We know that this virus has affected people the same worldwide, and some of the families that received remittances have stopped receiving them, and now they have no way to support themselves and even to buy basic food. 

• We have not received help from the authorities such as the mayor’s office: 
In most of the nearby municipalities, the mayor's office has helped families with food, masks, disinfectants and other articles for daily use. 

In our municipality we have not had the same luck. We know that the government launched a program to benefit with financial aid to the neediest families in the country, although here in the community there are many people who live day to day who, unfortunately, were not benefited, and it is very sad to see that the authorities do not provide their support. 

• The fear of leaving our homes: 
Most of us are scared all the time. The police make rounds in the community many times a day, hoping to find someone outside their home to take them to the detention centers, and even when people go to their work in the fields, they are afraid because they always catch their attention. 

**One positive thing is that the families in the community are abiding by the preventive measures. There are no crowds of people and they are leaving only to carry out necessary activities. Many families in the community are very united, raising their prayers to God daily so that this pandemic ends.


The youth from the scholarship program of Tehuiste (Up and Down) present the same obstacles. 

In the case of university students, they have difficulties with the use of online platforms, as these are new systems for them; the virtual modality is being implemented in universities to avoid delay in the school cycle. However, most young people living in the countryside do not have residential internet, and they lack the technical tools and competences to work in the world of Information Technology. 

The pressure of teachers to receive regular assignments makes the situation more complicated. Most students mention the lack of tutors to clarify doubts. So it is more difficult for them to understand the topics and, therefore, the homework in general. Besides the problem of internet access, students lack computers and other means. 

The solution, for the moment, has been to do their tasks on their cell phones. Although the deadlines placed by the teachers are very short and the internet connection is constantly lost. The bad signal provided by telephone companies in the area where they live complicates the situation even more. 

On the other hand, universities, despite the central government's call to waive payments, are still requesting payment of the fees. For example, the Lutheran University has sent a message to all its students, inviting them to make their payments. In it, they are informed of the bank accounts and the places where they can make such payments. 

Everyone knows one measure to reduce contagion is to obey the state of emergency for 2 more weeks, so leaving our homes is risky since the armed forces and the PNC are on the streets controlling those who do not obey the measures implemented by the central government. 

The fact of being quarantined and not have the full freedom to leave the house, in the voice of the young people, puts one more burden on all the aforementioned problems. Most students report going through episodes of depression and discouragement, mainly with their studies. Being used to a face-to-face methodology and, suddenly, being involved in a radical change has had a negative impact on their performance in class. 

Another point is the job instability of their parents, siblings and other family members, it is a concern that generates hopelessness in their studies. The few resources they have are being used up and there is no possibility of acquiring more. 

Text quoted from Jessica Servellon "Every day that passes we have the concern of how we will survive this pandemic, my family is concerned, bewildered, since at the moment no one is working, nor do we have help; we are running out of supplies and we do not know if we will be able to acquire more, the situation is very ugly, we do not know what else to do, we cannot go out looking for work, most work places and companies are closed because of the pandemic. All that's left is to wait... and have a lot of faith that things are going to change for the better." 

No COVID-19 contagion has been confirmed in Tehuiste so far, but all government measures have changed the lives of its inhabitants. 

The transport service (Pick-up) works with irregularities, agricultural work has been drastically reduced and the supply of food at the market of San Rafael Obrajuelo, where most people get their supplies, has decreased their products and increased their prices. Free movement and market entry without proper permission and the use of a mask is prohibited. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Testimonies from communities about how they are being impacted by the COVID 19. Second part.

CIS Reports from Communities

Romero Community


The movement of people has decreased, since quarantine was decreed in the country. The city council member of the area moved through the communities sticking posters on the measures to take when facing Covid-19. 

A greater police presence is observed than previously. They have traveled with greater presence in the main streets of the urbanization and in the main street of Paso Puente. They have been talking to people telling them not leave their homes and have even forced families who own stores to close, starting at 6:00 pm. 

The presence of gangs has decreased, as has public transportation. Most families take prevention measures into account, although some young people are gathering to play soccer in front of the library in Romero. 


It is difficult for all students to submit homework on time because not everyone has access to the internet, smartphones, or computers where they can receive their classes, or the learning of a subject reaches a level [where they don’t understand]. 

With everyone in the same space in the home, without adequate conditions to receive classes does not favor learning. Adolescents and children share the feeling of being worried about the loss of school days and important activities in academic life such as the PAES [national exams]. 

In the Romero community, the initiative was taken to download the tasks of the Facebook group of the educational center where the children attend. They were placed at the gate of the communal house so that from kindergarten to high school they had access to them. But it is not the way to motivate learning. There too many assignments when you cannot even go out to a cybercafe! In addition to the fact that fathers and mothers do not all have the patience or the knowledge to support their children in school tasks that the teachers have not explained. 


It is a very difficult situation for everyone, but mostly for families who live day to day, such as informal vendors and those who work in various trades (washing, ironing, cleaning), and now with these restrictions they have been harmed. 

In the community and surrounding areas, people always pass by selling bread, tortillas, vegetables, atol, among others. But going out to sell does not provide assurance that they will earn enough income. It's maddening! Not everyone can go out to work, they are very few. 

Some families who are known to receive remittances subsist on them. They are extremely concerned that they no longer have it. Local fruits (cashews, mangoes, jocotes, bananas, pitos) are serving as a support, partially making up for what cannot be bought in the market (where there is not much access, there are shortages and high prices). 


For years employment, studies, technology and other factors have generated conditions where family coexistence has decreased. Consequently, this quarantine is a challenge and a space of stress for many. 

It is observed and experienced that interpersonal relationships with the family are difficult to manage when there is no control over it. Adolescents and children are frustrated by not being able to go out or resume the routine they had. 

Some parents state that the lack of entertainment resources (television, cable) is a limitation to keeping children from entering into an extreme level of boredom. Or, on the other side, the children are overloaded with energy and with a lack of knowledge of recreational activities to do as a family. Children act very active where the emotional control of the parents is threatened ("how imperfect he has become" many parents say, although it is not that). It is just the accumulation of energy in children and they need to let it flow through games and physical activities. 

For those who have access to this entertainment, they neglect to live together as a family. 

There is a greater presence of arguments between siblings, children and parents, as a result of poor communication in families, and the spaces in the home that are shared. Increased sensitivity to noise, homework and academic arrangements create conflict. 

As for the news, people worry and are affected emotionally knowing everything that the media broadcasts. 

Suchitoto Center

As a scholarship program, we were affected by the pandemic since as of this date we have not held the March meeting because we are not allowed to meet in Suchitoto or in the communities. I want to comment that the program is made up of young people from different communities of the Municipality of Suchitoto. The scholarship holders, in order to receive economic support, must travel to Suchitoto. The pandemic and the measures affected all of us since public transport passes irregularly with a margin of one hour on weekdays, and on weekends they do not pass due to the household quarantine. The local government has imposed a measure allowing people to go out only twice a week and carry a document justifying the trip. In addition, in the communities, the PNC [National Civil Police] are monitoring that no one moves from one community to another. 

The measures imposed by the central government affected mobility in Suchitoto and the communities. In the institutions no one is working; the offices are closed until further notice. The committee evaluated and suspended the meeting twice in agreement with the CIS Promoter. The scholarship holders have not been going to schools and universities since March 11 of this year, which is when the alert and sanitary measures began. As a committee, everything was complicated for us since as of this date we have not been able to obtain all the profiles because in some communities there is no internet signal and the scholarship holders cannot travel to another community. Social projects are paralyzed. Mothers of families are afraid of the disease.

Affected Activities:

  • The high school classes are being carried out according to the work guides that the mother in each family received. They are paying money for internet to do the labs and periodic exams. The National Institute [High School] of Suchitoto has a virtual network; therefore, they put the assignments that they must do every week on the platform.
  • Zulma and Ernesto, both university students, are from the Valle Verde community. They have an internet problem due to the area where they live. With Ernesto, a family member from San Salvador helps him send his homework assignments since he has given him the portal password to review and indicate what tasks and activities he has. Zulma is a university student. She is in her first cycle of the career. For her it is very complicated because the area where she lives is not good for the internet. She has missed several assignments and classes online. She is trying to catch up and seek support, since she told us that she does not want to quit the cycle due to technical problems, although she has already missed assignments.
  • The mothers of families are concerned because some make their living from agricultural work, and due to the problem of the pandemic, the men are not working. The basic basket has suffered an increase in prices. At the moment, there is no work to be found.
  • The UES university students are carrying out their studies, since they have a virtual classroom, but they comment that they need the teacher's explanation, because there are topics that they do not understand. But they try to complete all their assignments on time. They also say that they are spending up to four internet packages per week on the Internet.
  • Silvia, a student at the Technological University of El Salvador, is a beneficiary of the apartment. She tells us that she has found it very difficult with some subjects since she is studying them virtually and that she does not understand some things. Also, in the apartment she had Internet; on the other hand, in her community sometimes she cannot find a store to use internet packages.
  • The fees of the private universities must be paid on the dates given according to each university’s instructions.
  • Social projects are currently suspended. Some scholars are helping children from their homes to carry out their assignments in groups of four children.
  • Regarding the scholarship profiles: to date we have not received all the profiles, since this was the main activity to be carried out for the month of March. The scholarship holders have not responded because of the delay. We are trying to solve the problem since there are profiles that are not well done.
  • Public transportation does not pass every day and can only carry around 25 passengers. They pass every hour and a half.
  • In Suchitoto, only the financial system and the City Hall are working.
  • The committee will take all measures so as not to put anyone at risk and respect each of their decisions. We will seek strategies to deliver the scholarship money and not affect anyone.
Translation from Spanish 4/5/2020

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Testimonies from communities about how they are being impacted by the COVID 19. First Part.


Some buses of the public transportation service in Comasagua have increased the fare and have restricted schedules. 

Many families are being affected in their finances since women go to work in San Salvador or Santa Tecla, but now the work has stopped to prevent people from getting infected, but this has generated lack of food for poor families. 

Many cases of diarrhea and vomit have been reported too. The poorest families have not been included in the list of people who will receive the 300-hundred-dollar subsidy the government has announced, whereas some of the people who have been benefited are employees who do receive a salary (teachers and the like). 

San Rafael Cedros

I would like to inform you that we have had to stop the work on social projects and monthly workshops because of the current situation. It should be noted that the cases of illness increased during the days when students were starting to work on their activities. Because of that, we have not been able to give the students their scholarship money of March. We had planned to do it on March 22, but just that day the mandatory domicile quarantine came into force and, as a prevention measure, the scholarship committee made the decision to postpone the delivery of money. 

We are planning to deliver the money this week. We are aware that the economy of the families is not good because, due to the emergency, it is difficult for parents to go out to work and we know this money can help to pay for some basic needs. 

We are attentive to the situation in the municipality and, up to now, we can say that people are obeying the prevention measures the government has implemented. 

In terms of schooling, the work for students has not stopped since they are constantly receiving classes online and delivering tasks on virtual platforms so as not to lay behind in their activities. 

So far, there has not been any case that may cause alarm in our communities. 

Public transport is working so people in communities can mobilize to purchase basic things. 

When this situation finishes we will hold a meeting, first with the scholarship committee and then with the students, to conduct an assessment from the point of view of each of them and to report how they lived the situation with their families, what inconveniences they have had, etc. 

El Espíritu Santo Island

There are many difficulties that are affecting us, due to the disease and the quarantine that we are experiencing. 

1. Many of the people who are parents are out of work. 

There are people who are engaged in the extraction of shells. That is their only source of income, and they are out of work. 

The cooperative has stopped its work without receiving salary. 

The boatmen are also out of work because people do not leave the island. 

2. It affects the economy in the same way. There are families of our young scholarship students where only one person in the family worked, and today they are out of work due to the emergency. The situation that is being lived is unfortunate, since most of the rural people do not have an income. 

3. It is also difficult to obtain food, because you have to go to Puerto El Triunfo to be able to buy the necessary food. Not all the food is found on the island, and that is why you have to go out and buy it. 

This is the situation we are experiencing in my community said scholarship students from El Espíritu Santo Island.