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Thursday, April 18, 2024

In a small village in El Salvador, one man has not left in 10 or 12 years. So much time has passed that he can't remember the last time he left. The nearest stream, which is barely a trickle, is a 10 minute hike over hills and poor health conditions prevent many people in the town of El Limon from leaving.

On Saturday at the Kickstand, there will be an Indie Dance Party with DJ Cameron to raise money for a public health project benefiting El Limon. The show starts at 9:30 and will feature the bands Starmaker and Waylon Thorton and the Heavy Hands. Pre-sale tickets are a $5 donation or $6 the day of the event.

The show will be the first event in a series of fundraisers for the UF-affiliated group Student Outreach: El Limon (S.O.L) and its trip in May. This is the third year the group is making a trip to deliver medical supplies and other donated items to the community, as well as assist the local clinics.

"It is sad to see a place that has such extreme poverty is so close," said Mirna Patricia Amaya, the co-president of S.O.L. "It is unbelievable to see that in 2009 these people have never had electricity and they are afflicted with simple and preventable diseases."

Some of the projects the group assists with in El Limon are purifying the water, educating families about diseases, and assessing environmental problems in the community. With the help of two medical doctors, the group assessed eighty percent of the homes on its own last year. With the clinics, the group surveys the needs of the citizens and goes out into the community to each home to assist with primary care.

"It's a new way of reaching people and we learn why these conditions are occurring." Amaya said. "It is strenuous work and you could see why some people hadn't left the village in so long."

John Waller of Starmaker said he chose to play at the show to spread the word and bring awareness. "There are so many causes, especially in Gainesville, that it helps to add the entertainment factor," he said. "Maybe this will help people remember this cause personally."

This year, the group is looking for donations of shoes, children's clothing, dental supplies, and computers and microscopes for the clinic. The group's goals for the future include creating a small community farm, bringing more water to the area, making the community more prosperous, and improving the diet of the people, Amaya said.

Susan Fesperman, the other co-president, hopes the benefit show will help people learn more about the group and become interested in the cause. "These people have so little, but they are so generous and opened their homes to us," she said. "It is hard to see anyone living with so little."

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