For a man who has seen so much tragedy and suffering in his life, Jose Edgardo Perdomo is an example of perseverance and an inspiration to other survivors in Guacotecti. Given away at birth, he spent most of his early years in an orphanage. He was adopted at age eight, but only to see his adoptive parents die just three years later after complications from an explosion. The civil war was in full force and at the age of 15, Jose was recruited by the military.
Just a few years later Jose lost his left leg above the knee to a landmine accident. He returned to Guacotecti when the war ended in 1992, met a beautiful girl and began to create a life and a family with her. He says his wife Maria is his heart. Jose used to work odd jobs during the day and then in the afternoons and early mornings work in subsistence farming to provide for his growing family. It was difficult for him to work long hours on his feet because his leg would begin to hurt and swell up causing it to rub painfully against his prosthetic.
Last year Jose met Armando Fabian, outreach worker for Survivor Corps’ partner organization in El Salvador – Red de Sobrevivientes. The two worked together to organize a group of other survivors in the area. The group of nearly 30 members meets monthly to provide peer support to one another, discuss development projects in the community, and to take courses in health, advocacy and small-business development provided by the Red de Sobrevivientes.
Jose applied for a small business assistance grant from the Red de Sobrevivientes and received a new water pump. He is now working full time in subsistence farming and makes enough of a profit to repair things around the house, make improvements to his home and buy extra clothes and toys for his children. The difference this small pump makes in Jose’s life is remarkable. In the dry season, when the river is low and there is not enough rain to keep the fields irrigated, Jose uses his pump to grown corn, peppers, beans and other vegetables. He is making three times as much money from the sale of vegetables as he was last year. He used to spend long hard days carrying buckets of water up from the riverbed to irrigate his fields. The pump has relieved much of the hard labor of hauling water and allowed Jose to expand his fields. Now works primarily from home during the day and can spend evenings with his wife and children. Because family is the most important thing in Jose’s life he says that no matter what, “tiene que ir sobreviviendo” you have to go on surviving.
Posted By Carolyn Ramsdell
Posted Aug 13th, 2009