Delegate Training – Lesson 1

Introduction Summary

A. What You Will Do

Live and work in a poor rural Salvadoran village with subsistence farm families along with a team of mostly teens, or young adults, lead by trained college-age leaders. (A few team members might be older adults who also serve under our youth leaders. Also, special delegations can be arranged to match your group’s interests.)

B. Why Do it?

Your mission will be to support the leadership of a small, rural village to implement a project that will serve their community. Many will have met few Americans – so you are a goodwill ambassador. By listening to their life stories and encouraging their dreams, you will likely transform their lives, and perhaps they will transform yours.

C. How Your Help Matters

This community has a dream, and you are the means for realizing it. They want a school for their kids, or water piped to their house, but they don’t have the funds to buy the materials. Your delegation will fund their project, and you will work alongside them to build it. Your visit will be an act of respect they never imagined possible. Living in their house will be an act of solidarity and love they never expected. Working to benefit their community will encourage them to work together as a community for the benefit of one and all. What you leave behind, whether a school, clinic, running water, or an eco-tourism cooperative, will improve the lives of people for generations to come. You will always be proud of what you did. They will never forget you.

D. Can YOU Live Like This?

Half of all humanity spends their days working just to feed themselves. They live in simple shelters, with very few furnishings, no clean water, or transportation. Lacking jobs, most farm small fields to raise food for their family. They own little, have no “nest egg” for emergencies or retirement, and earn about $300 per year by selling surplus crops. You will be living in the home of such a family in a small rural community of subsistence farmers. Most delegates fall in love and claim the experience to be “life changing.”

E. Delegates: Before and After Impression by Julie Mascioli

Before “My best friends told me what a “life-changing experience” their trip had been, but the specifics sounded horrifying – heavy lifting, hot sun, no toilets or showers, a diet of rice, beans, and corn. I felt I ought to be more enthusiastic.”

After “I met some really amazing people: American and Salvadoran. I pushed myself past my previous limits. I understand now why my friend called it “life-changing,” – even though these words fail to do it justice. I am going back!”

F. Your Well-being Is Up To You Alone

You are responsible for yourself, sleeping in their small house (along with another delegate), using a latrine, and bathing outdoors at a public sink or in a nearby river. Your work will likely require heavy lifting in the hot sun. Your health, safety, productivity, and the richness of the personal experience will be yours to create – although IP does everything possible to make your trip safe and successful.

Video – An Overview