Brett Birch ’12 - The last two days that we have spent in El Salvador have been incredible. The clinic closes on the weekend so we were able to take advantage of the beautiful nature that El Salvador has to offer. Saturday was filled with excitement and adventure. The Wabash men, along with the rest of the volunteer FIMRC group, decided to partake in a waterfall jumping adventure near the border of Guatemala. This waterfall adventure required us to wake up at the incredibly early time of 5:30 in the morning and take a two-hour car ride to reach our destination at the very small town of Tacuba, El Salvador.
When we arrived in Tacuba we met with our tour guides in a very quaint hostel. The guides informed the whole group that we were only allowed take three backpacks on our waterfall extravaganza. After packing the three backpacks to the brim with water bottles we found ourselves heading up some incredibly steep terrain to the top of a mountain. We were up so high that we could see for miles and miles, right into the neighboring country of Guatemala. Once we reached a location where the trucks could not go any higher we were instructed to get out of the trucks and start hiking.
We started with a downhill hike weaving in and out of trees for about an hour before we saw our first sign of water. After about another 15 minutes of the following the water it led us to the first waterfall that we had to jump down. In order to jump down the first waterfall we had to cross over a four foot gap with about a 15 foot drop to rushing rapids. The guides made a safety net by bracing themselves from one wall of the gap to the other to make sure that we did not fall. Once on the other side of we had a ledge that was about a foot wide that we maneuvered down so we could make the 25 foot jump down in the water.
After the first jump we had two jumps of about 15 feet that were far less dangerous but still were thrilling. The fourth jump was by far the biggest adrenaline rush. The fourth jump we took was somewhere around a 60 foot drop. It was the most nerve-racking, thrilling thing that I have ever done in my life. The rest of the jumps that we participated in ranged from 15 to 40 feet, but in order to reach the last jump we had to travel down the side of a 120 foot waterfall to a location were it was safe to jump. After the final jump we rested for a little while until it was time for us to make the grueling two-hour hike back up the mountain in order to get picked up.
After being thankful that no one was injured on our waterfall adventure it was time to make the two-hour trip back to San Salvador. After our long day of physical activities we decided to take our supervisor, Alex, out for a nice dinner at a Brazilian steakhouse as a sign of gratitude from the Wabash FIMRC group. After a very relaxed night we woke up Sunday ready to spend our last day at the beach. The waves at Tunco beach are some of the best in the world for surfing. Although none of us were experienced surfers we rented some boards and gave it a try.
Although most of us found out quickly that we were no match for the waves, Matt Knox, after much effort, was able to ride the waves all the way into the shore. The beach was incredibly hot during the middle of the day and we decided to leave at 3 pm and go to the market. At the market we met a group of missionaries from Indianapolis who gladly donated some medical equipment to help out the clinic in Las Delacias. After the market we came back to the house to shower, eat, and sleep so we could catch our flight on Monday at 7am .
Overall the experience here in El Salvador has been truly amazing. We have met incredible people like Eduardo, Marina, and Alex, who positively impact the lives of children in Las Delacias every day. We have learned medical techniques, observed the lives of people in a completely different culture, and most of all we have participated in an experience that we will never forget for the rest of our lives.