On the morning of April 10th, four of us headed to Toronto airport to board a plane to San Salvador, El Salvador’s capital city. Even though I travel a lot, this trip was a unique event for me because I rarely travel with a professional football player. A few years ago, I took Danny McManus to Honduras and now this year I had the privilege of taking Marwan Hage, a CFL lineman for the Hamilton Tiger Cats.
I’ve known Marwan for a few years because of his participation with Speroway in several of our food distribution activities in Hamilton, ON – most specifically the annual event held at Ivor Wynn Stadium around Thanksgiving. Marwan is involved in helping young people through his own organization called Hage’s Heroes. Many youngsters have enjoyed a TiCat football game because of Marwan’s generosity and initiative to help underprivileged children. At the games, they sit in their own section of the stadium with a big Hage’s Heroes sign.
I invited Marwan to join me in a trip to El Salvador so that he could see first hand how Speroway is involved in programs devoted to helping children and families in this poor country. He accepted the invitation without hesitation, because he is determined to help children in need and is committed to bringing awareness about Speroway’s overseas programs to Canadians. This was also an excellent opportunity for Marwan to recognize some very desperate needs that exist outside of Canada.
Also accompanying us on this trip was Drew Edwards, a journalist with the Hamilton Spectator. You can find his articles about the trip on his blog: http://scratchingpost.thespec.com.
During our three days in El Salvador three major activities took place:
The first was our trip to a squatter area in San Salvador called The 1st of December. I have visited this desperately poor neighbourhood before, with Speroway’s Medical and Dental teams. On this trip, we distributed food – giving 100 parcels of rice, beans, corn, and other staples to some of these families in need. We returned to the home of a girl named Reyna, whom I have visited before. She is four years old and needs heart surgery. On top of that, she suffers from thyroid problems and epileptic seizures. Her medicine is expensive, and her mother’s only source of income is her small vegetable stand. Reyna’s long-term needs are uncertain, but to help her mother meet her immediate needs, Speroway and our partners are going to fix up her mother’s storefront to increase her vegetable sales and we’re looking into subsidizing the cost of Reyna’s medicine. This is all possible because of generous donors like you who help us deliver hope to Reyna and her family!