Watercolor original by: Marie Spaeder Haas

September 2019 – Executive Director’s Reflections & News from El Salvador

From the Peace Mission’s Executive Director

By Mary K. Stevenson

The idea is NOT the Hard Part, so Here’s to You, Dear Donor

Dear Donor to COAR – Let me tell you how much you mean to me – to the children too, of course – but to them, by way of me.  Bill Gates finally said it exactly right.  It was simple. But coming from him it has weight.  In response to some funny suggestions of things he “should” invent he said, “You know, the idea is not the hard part.”  Thank you Bill!! 

The idea is not the hard part.  The work to care for the children is hard.  To do it effectively, to address all their trauma and health needs and learning disabilities – to do it without losing patience – that is hard.  To stay vigilant against gang influence on our campus on the part of our staff – now that is REAL courage – that is the hard part.  Well-meaning people suggest to me, “Have you tried calling that giant parish off the freeway? I bet they have money.” Hmmm, the phone call is not the hard part.

Raising children and raising money is hard. But yours is the hardest work of all – and the most fruitful. You, dear donor, do all the hard work by providing your hard-earned money to the COAR children.  And you do it faithfully and joyfully. No one makes better use of their time and money than you, dear donor, so thank you.

News from El Salvador

The big news in El Salvador remains their emigration crisis (people leaving) due to violence and lack of jobs.  The new president, Nayib Bukele, routinely denounces both main political parties, ARENA and FMLN, for their previous years of policies that failed to address the lack of jobs, and thus, the economic conditions that allow organized crime to flourish.

Bukele is strident that El Salvador has to fix its own problems.  To anyone who has followed El Salvador’s history and global economic trends it is hard to see how this attitude will translate to policies that have not been tried before, or, to policies that will not be thwarted by trends and events that El Salvador’s government cannot control.  If he can stop the unproductive loss of capital to corruption, that may be his best departure from past governments.