Sweat and Tears In Central America
During January, CoCoDA hosted 40 students and faculty in El Salvador and Nicaragua. Delegations from DePauw University, Shasta College and Guilford College worked on important projects identified by their host communities. They also gained new perspective about themselves, the world and another culture. In the process, they shed tears of frustration, sadness and even joy.
DePauw University worked beside the people of Zacataloza, Nicaragua to create an erosion prevention wall to protect their newly constructed school. This was back breaking work as they installed over 900 tires on a steep slope. Though several students were sick for a day or two, this group still found time for baseball games with the village.
Shasta College helped the people of Cacao, Nicaragua reconstruct the access road into their village. This road had been so dangerous that ambulances would not come to the village. During the rainy season, the village was often inaccessible. With rock and concrete, these students laid two ribbons of concrete up a steep incline.
Guilford College returned to El Roble, El Salvador to continue the construction of the three room school in that rural village. While unable to complete the school, they worked beside the community in completing one of the rooms and moving the whole project forward. They also found time to learn about the Salvadoran Civil War, play soccer and climb a volcano.
Natalie Gerrodette of Shasta College summarized the experience of many of these students when she wrote, "I can't even put into words what this trip meant to me. It has changed my perspective about so many things."