Friday, September 7, 2012

Education for all

Yesterday I went to the local library and borrowed a new book 'The Dressmaker of Khair Khana' (great read btw) within four hours I had read the book from back to front. Since I was a little girl, my passion has been reading, as young as 2 years old I had books in my hand, and not much has changed 22 years later. Reading is my passion, my release and my heaven. Every time I travel my suitcase is full of books, not clothes, every birthday all I want is new books, and every year my own personal library gets bigger. I could never imagine my life without books, and the ability to read.I guess I'm one of the lucky ones, I've never known any different but for almost 1 billion people worldwide they cannot read or write. It's not that they are unable its that they have never had the opportunity.Almost 98% of people who cannot read or write live in the developing world,and women make up two thirds of that percentage. In the developing world the percentage of children who cannot red aged 6-11 is 45% (UNESCO 1998). In the communities where Together in Hope works, many of the adults cannot read or write, and many children only have a basic understanding, but there is Hope at the end of the tunnel...

Why am I telling you this? is International Literacy Day a day for “the ongoing commitment of the world community to boost and support literacy as a key to personal progress and to the socio-economic development of nations' The theme of this year’s celebration is “Literacy and Peace.” In the words of UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova, “Education brings sustainability to all the development goals, and literacy is the foundation of all learning. It provides individuals with the skills to understand the world and shape it, to participate in democratic processes and have a voice, and also to strengthen their cultural identity.”

Together in Hope is working in the Philippines, El Salvador and Ethiopia to ensure that there is #educationforall. We have begun adult literacy classes in the Philippines, we have also established a literacy program for preschool aged children teaching them how to read and write. Through our Jessica's Table program over 500 children are getting lessons in reading and writing every Saturday morning! Many children are now teaching their younger siblings and even parents how to read.In El Salvador, Together in Hope is supporting the teachers at La Rosa Blanca School develop a better curriculum, and improve teaching practices to encourage children to read. Last month in Ethiopia, a new library opened at the youth center, children are attending every day and love reading the new books. We also have tutorial classes to assist children who need a little extra help. Through these programs, there are over 1000 children and adults who are learning to read and write. Parents are now  able to teach their children the basics of reading, and help them with their school homework. Children are able to escape in the world of reading and enjoy the simple joy of reading, something most of us take for granted.

Today is a day to encourage everyone to demand #educationforall, to ensure that the 1 billion people worldwide who are illiterate can read and write this time next year. When you snuggle up in bed with your book tonight, think that 1BILLION people worldwide cannot even read the first sentence. When you have a paper to write for college and have to read article after article until your head is spinning with all the information, think about how lucky you are, how lucky you are that you are able read those articles and how lucky you are that you can write that paper. Shouldn't everyone have the right to read their local newspaper, write a letter to a friend, read their children bed time stories? If you agree, spread the word about International Literacy Day, and support our campaign Education for all!

Friday, August 24, 2012

What makes a humanitarian?

Last Sunday was World Humanitarian Day; this day was created in memory of those who died at the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq on August 19, 2003, killing 22 people. All day Sunday, I read news articles, blogs and face book postings about aid workers and the important part they play. It got me thinking what classifies a humanitarian? Is it those who put their life on the line every day? Is it the people we see in the news working in war torn countries? Or is the person who volunteers at the local nursing home each week? What makes a humanitarian?

I have met numerous ‘humanitarians’, the people working for large NGOS in the field, I have met local staff working for a great cause, and I have brought numerous volunteers to work as humanitarians on the ground. What makes them different? Nothing...all these people have one thing in common; they all work for those in need.

Together in Hope has brought many volunteer groups to the Philippines and El Salvador, and through Youth Release to Ethiopia. Each of these volunteers has worked and lived in the local community, they have lived without proper sanitary conditions and they have put their health at risk, but none of this matters. When we work in the Philippines, El Salvador and Ethiopia, our problems do not exist, when you see the children’s smiling faces and the mother’s grateful smiles it all goes away, nothing else matters. 

Do humanitarians deserve an international day of recognition? Do they deserve to have the world stop and appreciate them for 24hours? Without a doubt, these are the people who go to the places you don’t want to, these are the people who do the things you don’t want to. Let’s stand up and give them our appreciation, because without them the world would be a very different place.

See what our volunteers have to say:
Volunteering and working in Ethiopia was an experience that will stay with me forever. During my time in Dire Dawa I was responsible for teaching the older group of children along with another volunteer. We spent each day teaching them elementary studies in English, Mathematics, Geography, and many other areas, followed by exciting activities such as sports and arts. Spending time within this community and working and living with the children is such a gratifying experience, and although it can be hard work sometimes, the response from the community and ability to witness the changes that are being made on a daily basis makes it very rewarding. The opportunities that are being provided by Youth Release to this community in Ethiopia continually increase the populations' ability to improve the world around them, and experience the possibility of a better life. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Happy Birthday Youth Release

Happy 1st Birthday to our sister organization Youth Release, it is officially one year since the Youth Release youth center opened in Dire Dawa Ethiopia. Last year a small team from Together in Hope traveled to Ethiopia to meet with the local Ethiopian staff and meet the children that Youth Release works with. When we went to visit the youth center, it was an empty building with great potential, but no one could imagine how perfect it would be for this program. The youth center officially opened on August 1st 2011. By the end of August, there were 250 children coming to the youth center to attend the various programs being offered. For many of these children, it was the first time they had a place to go where they could meet friends, play and just enjoy being children.One year on, and this number has risen to 275 children! Since August 2011, the youth center now has two classrooms, a small office, a play area for the children and this week the new library was opened. 

The majority of the children that attend the youth center live in extreme poverty and schooling and education is beyond the reach for most families. The center is offering outreach support programs to give the children access to schooling, health education, health support, educational support, and counseling services. Along with educational and health support, the youth center also has a number of recreational programs such as art, music, circus (Ethiopian form of gymnastics) and theater. The children love all the different programs are as eager to learn as they are to play!

For many young adults in Dire Dawa, they have never had the opportunity to receive an education. The majority of local schools will not allow children over the age of 12 to start school. For these children, they have very little opportunities to break the cycle of poverty and are forced to beg, or work on the street. In honour of the youth center’s first birthday, a new exciting program is being launched. The youth center is now offering a vocational training program that will give these children an alternative, so that they can create a better future for themselves and their families. The youth center will offer training in a number of skills for adolescents aged 14-18 years old. Children enrolled in the sponsorship program will enjoy all the services offered by the organization. The following are some of the proposed practical skill training types: wood work. metal work, hallow block and brick making, mechanic or vehicle repair, hotel and catering, tour guide, hair dressing and barberry, driving licenses, waste management and recycling, plumbing, secretarial science, weaving and  tailoring. Children who have completed one of the above training schemes will be supported with finding employment opportunities. 


Do you want to give the youth center an amazing Birthday Present?

We have 50 young people on the program that are awaiting sponsors, and to gain invaluable skills to become self sufficient.  You can help by sponsoring one of these youths for as little as 60 cents a day for 18 months. For $25 a month for 18 months you will allow these young adults to get the chance they deserve and make a huge difference in the lives of their families. YOU can help children get off the street and give them a brighter future, for less than 60cents a day. For $300 over 18 months, you will give these children the chance they deserve to create a  better future for themselves and their families.Won’t you give the children the chance they deserve? To sign up just click here

Congratulations to Youth Release on the youth center reaching its first official birthday, we are so excited to be a part of this wonderful project and cannot wait to celebrate many more birthdays with you!!! This is just a small snippet of the Youth Release newsletter, if you would like to read the full newsletter and see how far this project has come in a year click here :)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Why El Salavdor is part of my heart...

Together in Hope has been off the radar for a couple of weeks, well you’ll be glad to know that we have been extremely busy. Back at the beginning of July, we were short listed to submit a full proposal to a certain foundation (we can’t name them yet) so we’ve been like busy bees trying to get that done along with a few other grant requests. It has tied up a lot of our time, but if we get the funding it will all be worth it and we will be able to launch a new counseling program in El Salvador, so keep us in your thoughts, it would be such a boost for us. Thank you to everyone who has reviewed Together in Hope on, not only have we gotten enough reviews to qualify for the 2012 Health Awards but we are also a featured non profit on their home page! For a small organization like us, this exposure is invaluable so thank you to all of you who have taken the time to help us by writing reviews. If you would like to help us just click here.

I cannot believe it is the end of July already, is it just me or is 2012 flying by? It is 6 months since our medical trip to El Salvador,  and 3 months since we traveled to the Philippines,it feels like only yesterday we were preparing for these trips. I have been thinking a lot about what to blog about, and I think for the next few weeks I am going to focus on some of my personal experiences in the places where we work. I am going to start with El Salvador....

I have a special place for El Salvador in my heart, it was the first place I traveled to when I began working with Together in Hope. El Salvador is a beautiful country with amazing scenery and beautiful people. It has a horrific history, that is still extremely apparent as many of the historical sites are places where people were terrorized and murdered. Yet, instead of being bitter, the people here are some of the most beautiful people I have ever met.

One of my favorite memories from this trip was playing with little Ernesto, this boy is physically disabled and is unable to use his hands and legs. All the children were playing soccer with the Southwestern University soccer team, and he just had to watch. We starting playing a game of catch with the ball, it was amazing to watch some of the children give up their time to help Ernesto catch the ball and play with us, instead of playing the soccer games. It is so surprising because for many of these children it was their first time playing soccer, and they gave that up to help a friend, it was incredible. We played every day during this trip and every day different children would come and help us, and catch the ball for Ernesto and teach him how to throw it. By the end of the week, he was able to throw the ball to me without any help :)

El Salvador has a fantastic rich culture, while we were there, we went to a little street festival. At this festival they reenacted El Salvador's battle with the Spanish, with everyone dressed in colorful costumes, others were dressed as mythological figures.Every person who lived in the little village was in the parade from young children to the elderly. It was astonishing to see the whole community involved and coming together.

Many people view El Salvador as a poor, war devastated country and while it is, it is also a beautiful country with a rich culture.This culture is evident as soon as you step off the plane. The people are some of the most caring, loving people I have ever met. In Alta Mira Flores where we work, the people are extremely impoverished, yet they have been kind enough to invite us into their homes, share their stories with us and let us work with their children despite cultural differences. El Salvador is a place that stays in your heart forever, and the children and families become part of your life. Many people ask me 'How do you do it? How do you work in such poor places?'Honestly I feel so blessed to work in such a wonderful place, with such wonderful people and I cannot wait to return and continue our work there.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Meet Nohemy

Nohemy is 13 years old and lives in the outskirts of the Alta Mira Flores community in San Salvador, El Salvador. Nohemy comes from a family of 6, she has one younger brother and two younger sisters. Her dad is currently unemployed, and her mother works as a tortilla maker at the local market. Her mother works from 6 in the morning until 8-9 at night, and some times Nohemy has to stay and watch the house or mind her younger brothers and sisters.Life can be hard for Nohemy's family struggling on one parents wages which amounts to a mere $2 a day. Nohemy's parents struggle to provide their children with the bare necessities such as access to education and health support. Yet there is hope...

Nohemy attends the local La Rosa Blanca School and through the support from Together in Hope is receiving educational and nutritional support. Nohemy's younger brother Jon and sister Flor are also enrolled in the La Rosa Blanca school. Their Dad hopes their youngest sister Natalia will be able to start school this coming Fall. Nohemy is currently in grade 4, due to the lack of resources in this community she may only be able to attend school for two more years as the La Rosa Blanca School only has grades 1-6. Nohemys parents cannot  afford to send her to the local public school....

Nohemy dreams of becoming a doctor when she grows up. She wants to help her family and her you think we can help her dreams come true?? Jon wants to be a fanous footballer and maybe play for Barcelona, and Flor wants to become a nurse. We can all make sure the dreams of Nohemy, Jon, Flor and little Natalia come true..we can change the future of these children and give them a brighter tomorrow.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Help us build our community center, new school and medical clinic!

Church Fundraising Ideas

Imagine being sick or having a sick child and not being able to see a doctor because either you could not afford one or there was not one available, or both. Imagine having a toothache that hurt so bad it kept you up at night and haunted your every waking moment and having no relief because you have no access to pain relievers or antibiotics and you either cannot afford to see a dentist or there is not a dentist available, or both. Imagine wanting your child to have an education and yet not having a school to which you could send them or even if you could find a school, having no way for your child to succeed because you could not afford the transportation or the clothes and even if you could, you have nothing to feed your child and they are destined to fail because of malnutrition. Imagine being a child who wants to go to school but instead because of lack of opportunity you have to work the streets selling bread to help support yourself and your family. Imagine being gunned down or knifed by gangs because you are on the street rather than in school because there is no school to go to. Imagine……. 

This is the daily reality of the families in the community of Alta Miraflores, San Salvador, El Salvador, where 30,000 people live on the edge of existence as squatters seeking a better life for themselves and their children. There is only one doctor to serve this entire community and only a handful of dentists, who do what they can with extremely limited resources.Yet, this community lives hopefully and with dignity, pooling their meager resources to work for a better life for their children. They started a school that serves 250 children in grades 1-6, but hundreds more wait for a place in school and the older children need a place where they can complete grades 7-12. Instead they are on the street working, at risk from gang violence, and yes, some of them have been killed by gangs.

 WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Together in Hope is seeking to purchase land in the center of this community large enough to build a new and larger school for grades 1-12, a medical and dental clinic, and a community center to provide programs needed by the community. We need $100,000 to purchase that land. Thanks to our many generous donors, we have already raised $67,000 toward that purchase. We need your help to raise the remaining $33,000. Every penny donated will go to the land purchase – not a penny will go for our administrative costs. Every contribution will help.

 If we all work together in hope, giving what we can, we can meet this goal. Please help us and please spread the word. Donations can be made by checks made out to Together in Hope, for: “El Salvador land purchase,” and mailed to Together in Hope , 1250 Wood Branch Park Drive, Suite 625, Houston, Texas 77079 or by going on line to razoo

Thank you!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Meet Rani...

 Meet Rani.....

Rani Solomon is an only child and is 8 years old. Rani lives in the Gesda Tesfa community in Dire Dawa Ethiopia. This village is a very poor village and many people are forced to beg for food and money as a means of survival.As a young child Rani witnessed her alcoholic father beat her mother. The domestic abuse continued until Rani’s mother left and moved into her parent’s house and began selling bread to make a living to support her and her daughter. When Rani turned 3 years old her mother died, since then she has lived with her grandparents who are 65 and 50 years old.

Rani and her grand parents outside their house

When she was 6, Rani registered in the nearby school but her grandparents could only afford to send her for 3 months as the only income they have is her grandfather’s pension which is not enough to support a whole family. Their living circumstances forced Rani to drop out of school and to work to help support the family. Rani helps her grandmother clean houses, fetches water for the family and other household chores.

In August 2011 Rani was selected to benefit from the Youth Release Program, located in the Gesde Tesfa area. The project provides psycho social and education support to marginalized and vulnerable children. Through this program Rani is able to attend school and is benefiting from other services being offered by the program such as tutorial support and educational support. Rani's Grandparents feel that the project is benefiting Rani in many ways; she is receiving educational  support, school uniform, free health care services, tutorial class and, psychosocial counseling. These services are beyond the reach for this family.According to Rani's Grandmother ' if the project was not providing educational support for Rani, she would stay out of school for another year, if not longer'

Rani doing her homework

If you would like to learn more about Together in Hope's work in Ethiopia please see

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Philippines 2012

Some of our team members after the 1st leg of our journey
Together in Hope has just returned from the Philippines, we thought we would be able to update you while we were there but unfortunately we did not have internet access for the two weeks we were there. For those of you that don't know it takes about...23 hours to get to the Philippines. The team consisting of 11 volunteers, traveled from Houston-Hawaii-Guam-Manila, although the journey was long it was a great opportunity for some team bonding!

After we arrived in Manila, the majority of the team traveled to Bicol, Naga city the next day while our director Diane McGehee traveled to Malis, and Elizabeth one of our volunteers traveled to Upper Javier. The goal of this trip was to continue the work that was started in Upper Javier and Bicol last April. The team in Bicol was involved in three main activities addressing the needs of the mind, body and spirit, to give this community hope and a sense of dignity. We were overwhelmed by the growth of this program. Last year, there were less than 50 children benefiting from the project. In a year this number has grown to 100 children plus their parents. There are 25 children enrolled in the literacy program, with 25 more waiting for funding for a second class. A number of livelihood programs, such as hair dressing and rug making, have been offered. The women who took these classes now have their own small business and are earning an income for their families. What great progress!
Some of the children from the local community enrolled in the program.

Women from the sewing class with the bags they made

The volunteer program was amazing. Twelve women from the local community were selected to take part in a week-long classes sewing class. The main goal of the week was to teach the women how to make a simple product that they could then sell at the local market. Wow did we reach our goal! By the third day, the majority of the women had each made a shoulder bag; those that were unable to sew learned how to braid fabric to make rugs or place mats. By the last day, they were also making beautiful pillow case dresses. When interviewed, each woman talked about what she learned from the class and all plan to make more bags and sell them at the local market. In one week, women were empowered to take control of their own futures and in turn will be able to teach and empower other women from the community. What more could we have hoped for?
Fourteen men were selected from the community to help build a wall, glaze the windows on the TIH building and fix up the shower and restroom facilities. The men learned many valuable skills, as did our team. Alan learned ‘How to mix cement the Filipino way’. There were some minor hiccups along the way, but as always, with the help of the community, we worked them out. The men also got a huge surprise when some of the female TIH members decided to pitch in. Like the women in the sewing program, the men can use the skills they learned to assist them with gaining employment: something many of them have never had before.
The men who worked on the construction project
One of our favorite activities when we are in the Philippines is to be part of the Jessica’s Table feeding program. On our last day working in Bicol, the members of the local community asked us if we wanted to take part in the preparation of the food. How could we say no? They prepared 7 KG of spaghetti and meat balls for 120 children, plus their mothers. Each child got a serving of spaghetti and a bread roll. It was amazing to see the smiles on the children's faces and how generous they are. Most children will try to sneak an extra portion for their siblings. It always teaches us that no matter what little you have, you can always share. If children as young as 3 can share the only nutritional meal they get once a week, can’t we give something?

One of the children receiving a nutritional meal...look at that smile!

If you would like to learn more about our work in the Philippines please visit  or email us at

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The SEED has been planted!

This medical mission was a vision that our director and founder Diane McGehee has had for many years. It is the first of its kind been done with this community, in fact Together in Hope is the first organizations to be invited in to help this community. In the area where we work, there is one doctor for 30,000 people, he has very little resources and the need is too great for one person. As one of our team members Joanna said’ We cannot change the world, but we can help change a life’ and I believe we did!

Some of the children showing us their clean hands after a preventative medicine class

Our team went from seeing 61 patients the first day, 87 the second day to over 100 for the last three days. Every single member of the team gave it their absolute all and gave 110%. The majority of our team had no medical training, but wow did we get the job done. On Friday night we counted all our patient forms and between medical and dental we saw and treated approximately 500 people. I cannot express the joy and gratitude that the Together in Hope team felt when this number was revealed, all I can say is THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, to everyone who made it possible!


Not only did we see patients, but we also interviewed 12 families discovering the needs of the community and how we can improve our program. Each family had an amazing story and was most welcoming to our team. After speaking to them, many came to the clinic, and gave hugs and kisses to all our team and were so grateful to us for giving them time and giving them much needed assistance.

One of the families we met, both children have special needs and attend Rosa Blanca. There are no services or support systems for children with special needs in El Salvador

Our goal is to build a community centre, medical/dental clinic and a bigger school in this community.  We are hoping to buy a piece of property to fulfil this goal. During this mission we were able to see the property and it is amazing! There is already a building on it that will be perfect for the medical clinic, and the space is big enough to build a community centre and a school that will enable the children to continue their education past 6th grade and finally get the opportunities they deserve. We will have more information on this and how you can help in our next newsletter.

The piece of property we are hoping to buy- What an amazing piece of land

The goal of this trip was to plant a seed in the community, to begin the vision of this community to become empowered and to create a better future for all. As I have said this was the first trip of its kind in this community and we learned a lot about what to do and what not to do. We will be forever grateful to our team for helping us see our dream become a reality! It would not have been possible without each and every one of you. Thank you to you all. You were all amazing and we are so grateful.

Our team with local volunteers and the Together in Hope team

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Making Progress!

It is impossible to describe all the things we have learned in the last couple of days, but I can tell you one thing, I was right, things only got better.On Tuesday, we saw 87 patients, and today we exceeded all our expectations and saw almost one hundred patients. That brings our grand total of patients seen, and treated to almost 250. This means that at day 3 we are half way towards our goal of 500 patients! We are all over the moon and are so proud of our hard working and dedicated team.

people waiting to visit the doctor

All the team has been over whelmed by the commitment and hard work of our local volunteers. There is a team of 6 amazing people that are giving up their time to assist us, and help wherever is needed. The ministry of public health here in El Salvador is establishing a program to provide medical assistance to children, what's even better is they are registering the people who are coming to our clinic. This is great progress for all involved as our moto of 'Helping the world's poor, help themselves' is really coming true. It is fantastic to witness it, and to able to help facilitate this.

                                      A member of the ministry of public health registering patients

Yesterday two members of our team did a home visit to a family of five. The outside of the house was made of tin mental, and inside was a gravel floor, with one room for sitting and another for sleeping. There were no walls around the house, only a mental frame at the front and side. Five people live in that house, three children and their parents. The interview began asking about the family, there were three children and one son who was killed last year by gang violence, he was only 16. The mother does not have a job but the husband gets temporary work. When asked how Together in Hope can help them, or what they envision for the future, they replied ' safety for our children, medical assistance, a better home for our children and a brighter future for us all'.
The wonderful family we met,

We visited Bishop Mendaro Gomez this afternoon who was kind enough to tell us the story of the persecuted cross. During the civil war he askedthe civilian population write the sins of the country on a big wooden corss. He was forced to go into hiding as he was a bishop he became a target for an assassination. The very night that he took refugee and went into hiding, his church was attacked by government forces. There were five foreigners in the church they were arrested, along with the cross as it was seen to be subversive.When he was able to come out of hiding many months later he asked the president for his cross back and for the foreigners to be released. All the prisoners were released along with the cross. When he finished the story he said 'pretty hard to believe right?' the cross is now in his local church and has become a symbol for justice and peace for the whole community!

                                                Bishop Gomex with or wonderful team

It has been a hard few days for our team, both  physically and emotionally draining, yet everyone is rallying and getting the job done and we couldn't be more thankful.

Monday, January 9, 2012

It begins!

6:30am wake up call. 7:30am get on bus. 8am arrive at clinic. 8.05am time to set up clinic. Our team arrived at the clinic at 8am, and we were delighted with the space we were given to run our clinic. A doctors office, a dentists office, a pharmacy, a nurse's station and a make shift waiting room were all set up, and within minutes we had our clinic. Patients began to arrive around 9. There were patients from all age groups from young babies to a woman as old as 88. The morning was at a nice steady pace with 24 people being seen by our doctor ;Doctor Steve, and 10 by our dentist; Dr Tammy. It was also a quick learning experience for many of our volunteers as many have no medical training but boy, did they get the job done.

Two of our volunteers including our program director, visited three homes in the local community to conduct interviews in order to better understand the needs of the community. The first house that was visited was a beautiful family of 6, there were four children, three girls and a boy and both parents. They lived in a wooden house with two rooms, one with a small bed for them all to sleep in. The father is unable to get work and the mother makes tortillas to sell. The papa stays at home to look after the children while the mother works close to 12 hours a day. They were a great family, very friendly and open about their story. Two other homes were visited. Each family was wonderful and very welcoming. Together in Hope is very excited to share their stories with you.

In the afternoon, our whole team came together to work at the clinic and assist wherever they were needed. The afternoon was much busier than the morning with families coming to see the doctor and dentist. Some of the children had their first tooth extraction, and got to bring their tooth home for the 'RATON' to come take it(the Spanish equivalent of the tooth fairy). For others it was their first time seeing a doctor, the children got a lesson in how to hear the heart beat! At the end of the day the grand total of patients seen was 61 between Dr Steve and Dr Tammy, not too bad for our first day! It was an amazing start to what I can only see as an amazing week! 

We Made it!

In July 2011, Together in Hope was asked to bring a medical team to El Salvador to provide treatment to five of the most marginal communities in San Salvador, of course we said YES, and we began preparing. It has been a long road since July we over came many obstacles and we even wondered at times is it all going to fall apart? Can we do this? Luckily for us, we met an amazing group of individuals who wanted to come with us and volunteer on this medical mission! We gathered our team together and wow what a great bunch, we are also very lucky to have two native Salvadorans participating on this trip with us.

Our flight left Houston at 9:30am on Sunday morning. We learned who likes the morning and most importantly who doesn't, always good to know when getting to know people :) We arrived in San Salvador, El Salvador three hours later, flying over the wonderful landscape below us, full of green fields and volcanoes. Our team got most of the medicine through except anesthetic that  is essential for our Dentist, Dr Tammy to work. We argued back and forth for a couple of hours but to no avail, our anesthetic was taken. One glitch in the otherwise grand entrance to El Salvador.

Sunday was all about getting to know each other, there was some quality team bonding over Pupusas, a Salvadoran tortilla filled with beans or cheese...delicious! At the end of the day we had our orientation giving our team some essential background about Salvadoran culture and how we were going to work. After a delicious first meal, we all, I think it's safe to say....fell into bed!