This is the village of Los Cobanos, El Salvador. Its one hundred residents live with the sea at their doorstep. With a country in turmoil at their backs, fishing defines and sustains life.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Photos running in "Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review"

I'm honored to have some of my photos of the people of Los Cobanos run in the Spring-Summer issue of Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. My colleague at Riverkeeper, Ramona Cearley, is Director of the publication and very kindly asked to include some shots as well as a brief narrative of the project and its people. The issue will debut at the University of Texas Undergraduate Writing Center in Austin on July 17 at 7pm.

In addition to the photos, the issue will feature many beautiful works from renowned Texan poets and several book reviews.

For more information on the event, click here.

Thanks Ramona!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Living Water International visits village

Our effort to get clean drinking water to Los Cobanos is starting to pay off. Representatives from Living Water International visited the village in early June to brief residents on the hopeful installation of biosand filters for drinking water. Living Water presented the concept of the filters and discussed the importance of developing local capacity for perpetual maintenance and education.

Residents turned out in strong numbers and are energized by this potential partnership. My goal right now is to raise funds to purchase filters for their homes and ensure that a training and maintenance program is created. This summer, I'll be soliciting funds from friends and colleagues so this system can be built as soon as possible.

Thanks for your continued help!

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Great Trip

I'm back from a fantastic and intense five days at Los Cobanos, El Salvador. Thanks to all your generosity (and to the TACA Airlines for waiving baggage fees), I delivered to the villagers 160 pounds of clothes and soccer equipment, financial support to Neto's family, and jewelry tools and supplies for Neto's wife Irma. The boy, pictured at left, wears one of the donated shirts. In addition, I also started a fund for the village's water and sewer needs.

In the coming days, I'll be posting more photos and comments on the trip, the village, and the people in El Salvador.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Over $3000 in Pledges To Date

Wow. I never expected such a strong push of donations from you all. Thus far, we've collected $1,700 in cash and $3,000 in pledges. We're well on our way to providing clean drinking water and economic opportunities for the people of Los Cobanos. Moreover, I now have about two and a half duffel bags worth of donated summer clothes and soccer goods-- including linesman flags.

I leave in two days. Check back Wednesday night for my final pre-trip posting.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Today We're over the $1000 Mark

Thanks to a terrific outpouring of support, we zoomed past $1,000 in donations today. This is well more than I could have hoped for and sets us way ahead of the mark on the Los Cobanos projects.

In addition, the clothes and soccer equipment are beginning to pile up.


More later...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Many thanks for your quick responses! We're off on the right track gathering clothes, old soccer equipment and money.

Thanks also to Celina for the fantastic ideas about microfinance, drinking water technologies, soccer equipment programs, and future fundraisers.

El Salvador is a week away. Stay posted!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


I write today to ask for your help in bringing aid to my friends in an impoverished fishing village in El Salvador called Los Cobanos. Time is of the essence as I will be traveling back there on February 14th. My goal is to raise funds for the following:

(1) Support for the family of my friend Neto, who was just murdered in drug and gang violence. Neto was a fantastic and intelligent person with deep interpersonal skills. I often wonder what Neto could have made out of his life if he had been born under different circumstances. Instead, he is dead at the age of 32, leaving behind a pregnant wife and three small children who were already struggling to make ends meet. Neto earned a little less than $200/month doing a variety of jobs. I’d like to provide a few of months of his earnings to support his family and his wife's arts and crafts business. She makes jewelry and trinkets for sale in nearby markets. Note: I can’t offer tax deductions at this time. Sorry about that. I’ll accept cash or checks for Neto’s family (made out to me with notation “Neto” on check) and send to address below.

In addition, the local leaders have also requested in-kind donations of the following:

(2) any new or used kids soccer equipment (cleats, shin guards, socks, etc) for a new local soccer program for kids ages 8-12 (20 kids); and

(3) any summer clothing for men, women and children.

This year, I’ll also be helping village leaders install a drinking water filtration system. The 100 villagers have no reliable access to clean water and suffer from a variety of waterborne illnesses. My friend Jose Suarez, an architect in San Salvador, is designing a basic sand and gravel filtration system to provide clean water for 30 families. Once we can assemble the proper 501c3 non-profit channels, I’ll be pursuing donations from foundations and companies.

There are many worthy causes in the world today so I am reluctant to ask so much of you. But I can guarantee that even the smallest donations will make measurable difference in the lives of these very special people. The villagers live at the very brink of humanity, lacking reliable shelter, sanitation, and sustenance. The ocean defines their lives: they fish from it every day and live in huts at the surf. At their backs is a country in turmoil, reeling from a wave of gang violence and the tortuous legacy of a 12-year civil war.

Thanks for your consideration.