El Salvador is now 6 weeks into a lockdown that was originally planned for just a month. During this time the virus has continued to spread, but at a very slow rate. As of May 1st, El Salvador had just 446 confirmed cases and 10 deaths. During the nationwide quarantine, the government has been upgrading and improving all the hospitals in the country and working to secure and deliver medical supplies. If you’re interested, you can track El Salvador’s COVID-19 stats at https://covid19.gob.sv
It has been difficult for many people in the country, but Salvadorans are largely united behind their president and the fight against COVID-19. Even before they became mandatory, nearly everyone was wearing masks when making one of their limited excursions out of the house for groceries or medicine. Likewise, most businesses that have been allowed to remain open offer hand sanitizer to use at the door. Some even take temperatures upon entry. However, like many people around the world, Salvadorans are anxious to get back to work and some semblance of a normal life.
Our staff have been exceptional during this very unusual time. The office staff works on-site one day a week and packs everything they can into that single day. The rest of the week they work from home communicating via email and text to keep everything running. And our kids continue to receive counseling through video calls. The caregiving staff is working one week on and one week off in order to limit travel and exposure. Can you imagine being locked in a house with a group of teenagers for a whole week!?
While the schools may be closed, class is still in session. All of our kids have had to adjust to remote learning as they juggle computer time and online calls with the rest of the house. Assignments are completed via email, through an online learning platform, or sometimes just printed out and sent with a picture via WhatsApp! Between classes during the day, and Netflix at night, our poor internet connection never gets a break!
After being stuck in the house for so long, most of our kids are eager to get back to life as usual. Even getting up for school, or heading out to a doctor’s appointment sound like fun. But a few of our kids are enjoying the slower pace of life and embracing their inner introvert.
One treat for the boys has been a lack of haircuts. Most of the schools are very strict about hair length, so during vacations they often let their hair grow wild. Quarantine has been no exception. We expect many barbers will make up for lost business when El Salvador goes back to school.
To break up the days and add a little something for everyone to look forward to, we’ve turned Saturday night into Take-out night! The kids (and staff!) eagerly await the weekend as each house gets to choose their own meals. Popular picks are Papa John’s, Pizza Hut, KFC, and the neighborhood burger joint, Charlie Boy. We’ve had donors generously treat everyone each week during quarantine. The kids are already asking if this is a tradition we’ll keep going once the quarantine is over! If you’d like to sponsor a Saturday night dinner, just get in touch via email.
We so much appreciate your continued support during this time. The work Love and Hope does would not be possible without you.