Feed Those in Need
Local musician puts music in the air and food on the table.
By Brandon Roberts
From the small country of El Salvador came the sounds of Hawaiian music. Sounds that bring us together, and often we gather not just for celebration but to accomplish something.
Ekolu Kalama made the journey from Molokai to El Salvador to visit a good friend. While there, he was informed about a benefit concert for a small organization known as Libras de Amor.
Libras de Amor (Pounds of Love) is “focused on significantly diminishing the rate of malnourishment in children under five, and pregnant or nursing women of the rural areas of El Salvador,” according to the organizations website.
Kalama was able to do what he loves, play some Hawaiian vibrations. This time though, his love was able to benefit many Salvadorians.
“People were crying, everyone was so sincere,” Kalama said. “It is not just to take but to give back.”
In the couple of hours that Kalama strummed his ukulele and guitar, he was able to raise $1,500. This money was enough to feed 24 people for an entire year. “It is the ultimate trade,” he said.
This small country is the most densely populated in Central America. Chronic malnutrition affects 25.6 percent of children under five in rural areas and 60 percent of the rural population has no access to basic health services.
Not only is this country in a nutritional crisis, but it has been rocked by civil war and social strife. “Giant holes were in buildings and roads,” Kalama explained. “There were armed guards at the stores, barbed wire and graffiti.”
At the time of Kalama’s journey it was also his birthday. He shared some of the cake with the servants at the house he was staying at. This, he found out, was frowned upon. “Serious lines were drawn between the servants and success,” he said. “Regardless of status, I have cake and you can eat it with us.”
This generosity was the same that emanated from his ukulele. The same generosity he shared with the children of El Salvador and Libras de Amor.
Libras de Amor gives rural Salvadorians the opportunity to have a healthy family. This ideal is provided through four components; health services, food safety, nutritional consumption and health promotion.
Libras de Amor is currently concentrating work in the rural areas of Ahuachapán, located near the Guatemalan border. They will gradually expand to other areas affected by malnutrition.
“We are going to change El Salvador one child at a time!” Kalama said before departing the stage.
Kalama does not plan on just a one-time donation. He has been in contact with other musicians and surfers to help with future fundraisers. “If I was able to feed this many people, imagine what a big celebrity would be able to accomplish.”
For more information please visit www.librasdeamor.org. The Web site is in Spanish language, but the google search engine can translate it.