SAVE WATER/GIVE LIFE 2019 EL SALVADOR SCHOLARSHIP TRIP
Since 2016 SSC and Weathermatic have had a ongoing partnership upgrading the irrigation systems on many of the A&M system campuses. Through this partnership an annual service trip has been created offering 6 scholarships to students at various campuses to travel with Living Water International to Central America and help bring clean drinking water to areas with great need. The 2019 scholarship recipients were Farid Abarca, Cindy Figueroa, and Aneida Valdez of Texas A&M University, Joyce Garza, Marina Garza and Leslie Izaguirre of Texas A&M International University. As a continuation of the story from our July 21-27 El Salvador trip, we are including a reflection shared by Texas A&M scholarship recipient Farid Abarca.
When I first heard about the opportunity of a service trip to El Salvador, I became heavily engaged with the idea of returning to my country of birth. A decade had gone by from when I first left and the thought of returning became irresistible. My curiosity led me to the application and after the interview, I felt rather hopeful. After my mother, siblings, and I migrated, the country began experiencing gang violence and death tolls that were unheard of back when I was a child. My mother was (and is) scared that we would fall victim to such violence if we were to return, even for a visit. For years I felt exiled from El Salvador, unable to return home, unable to see my grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles. This service trip was therefore a priceless experience, having an incredible effect on me, personally and professionally. Every student selected was passionate about their field of study and knew how to use their skills to their advantage. Every student showed great compassion and humility during the entirety of the trip. Their fluency in the Spanish language allowed them to immerse in the Salvadoran culture and helped create a strong bond with the local team. The selection committee did an amazing job! I am forever grateful to all the individuals who made this opportunity possible. I felt safe and confident every day. Thank you for allowing me to experience in a few days, what I haven’t experienced in ten years.