The Making of Summer School in Tasajera

One and a half years ago the Tasajera Summer School Project had its beginning; it started with an idea. Now that we find ourselves executing the project, I can only think of the phrase “making dreams come true.”

The reality of this dream is not only for us (the project directors), but it’s equally a dream come true to the 45 students who are currently learning Computers and English through this project. As you can see in the video update  below, the students are learning a lot already and have the desire to learn much more.

At the moment, only Suzy Marselis and I (Daniel) are teaching classes in Tasajera, but very soon the Spanish volunteers form the University of Alcala de Henares are arriving to lead Reading and Writing, Nursing, and Organic Gardening classes.

Cooperacion Diagrama

If asked how did we make this project happen, I would say there is no definite recipe for it. I can surely say, however, that everything depends on good networking and being open to collaborate with others.

Key actors in the organization of this event are: Pastor Aristides Arce, a community leader who facilitates our communication with the local school; Glenda Olmedo, one of the local school teachers who represents the school for our project; Suzanne Marselis, a Dutch PhD student that wrote the project proposal and raised funds; Edgar Hita, a Spanish director of cooperation in Central America from the UAH in Spain who facilitates Spanish volunteers to Tasajera Island.

In addition, there are countless people who helped this project start, from those who provided research to those who contributed financially, and even those who gave much needed moral support or wise advice. We are eternally grateful to all, but the people in Tasajera Island are truly grateful!


We are one. We are ONE.

Thus, we must think as one.

Thus, we must believe as one.

Thus, we must act as one.



Despite a growing middle class around the world, poverty is still increasing. This would be a philosophy problem if the world’s population would not be increasing dramatically. However, the numbers add up, and population increase outnumbers middle class growth. The problem is clear, conventional(traditional) development approaches are not sustainable in the long run and its trend displays a lack of resilience against unpredictable factors such as climate change and cultural diversity.

Where do we belong? Clearly not in the sidelines. Regret has no part in the brave, a missed opportunity can define defeat. This is who we are: active players in the game of life, a weight in our future’s balance. The first agreement is that activity is greater than inactivity. In the face of a problem described in the big picture, we come together as One to ACT, to participate in our world’s future, and to contribute in the shaping of tomorrow.

The second agreement is that a self-less contribution is greater than a selfish one. Because when our brothers are well, we are well, and we live in peace; but when we are well and not help our brothers, then we create tension, which leads to conflict. Thus, our contribution to the big picture needs to include the “others-factor”, in which through our actions we seek mutual benefits.


As described in the short documentary “EMANA-Isla Tasajera“, the community of Tasajera Island, off the coast of El Salvador is but one of the thousand communities around our globe which face economic decline affecting its social fabric. This is NOT to be understood as a consequence of their inability to sustain economic growth, but rather as victims of environmental pollution from upstream industry and weak/corrupt governing institutions. Their economic condition has been influenced by outside factors and it’s exponentially increasing.

The creation of EMANA (Energia Humana), or Human Energy in English, was a direct effect of being aware of such needs both in the big picture and the location of Tasajera. Being aware of the larger problem and a localized condition, it was born with the inherent agreements 1 & 2. A concept was born: That we would harness the energy of the willing, the brave, and the loving, to be funneled into a location in need to affect the lives of a few; because affecting even the life of 1 person is greater than affecting none.

We all have been funneled into the awareness of this location, and its condition. Not because of chance, but because we are willing, brave, and loving. However, each of us relates to this location in a different way, our diverse backgrounds makes us a strong unit, rich in cultural perspectives and emotional experiences. We will succeed only if we can harness our own diversity and be in harmony.


As we seek to be in harmony, through the active interaction of our diversity, we find our place and role in this location. We come into this location knowing that being there for a week or two is not going to change its condition. There is a law in the natural realm, which states:

“Something that has taken years to develop, can be destroyed in days

But something that been destroyed for years, cannot be developed in days”

Thus, 1 mission cannot win a war, but it can win a battle. Being aware of the scale of our contribution will help us plan for sustainability in the long-term. We understand that our mission needs to contribute to a long-term victory, and everything we do, think, and say must have foundation in the understanding of this principle.

Specific mission details are yet to be revealed, however, the framework of the mission is available. You and me, are not supposed to bring a “solution” to the people of Tasajera. This is correct, we cannot solve a problem we haven’t experienced. The agreement 3 is that the people themselves know best what the solution to their problem is, we are supposed to facilitate knowledge, dialogue, and resources to empower the people; so that they are enabled to solve their own problem.

This is why EMANA is sponsoring a project with the Central American University of ES in empowering women entrepreneurs in Tasajera, because we believe that unlocking (facilitating) women’s potential can bring economic development to their community. (for more info on this project click here)

Sponsor a Student campaign

So I am going to El Salvador from December 16 – January 21, 2013. and me and my team are working tirelessly to put together a fundraising campaign.

Our project, during this time, will consist on teaching a group of young boys and girls about aquaponic farming. With this intensive educational program people can learn alternative ways of growing food in a sustainable way. Pretty much we will be doing a “Teach them how to fish, and you’ll feed them for a life-time” type of approach.

We strongly believe that education is the key to break the lock of poverty, but not just any education, we understand the basic, and most urgent, necessities of the poor people of Tasajera island.

We will break the poverty cycle one step at a time, and although we understand that poverty is a complex problem, we start by educating the youth with practical knowledge of food production. Thus, responding directly to their needs, and making a foundation of community change by working with young people, because they are the future (we know that right, let’s do something about it then).