Wednesday, December 31, 2008

El Salvador - Dec 2008

i was blessed to be in san salvador this past December. DePaul University has worked with a catholic parish down there for the last 15 years, and each winter they send a student group there for a winter break service trip. for 10 days we talked with salvadoran people and learned about their history, the recent civil war ('80-'92), and current sociopolitical issues. it was amazing and painful and humbling all at once. we didn't really do touristy stuff. we stayed with host families in the city; worked with the parish's senior home, daycare, and orphanage; and visited significant landmarks from the civil war. we went to the countryside to perquin - 5 hrs NW of san salvador, near the border of hondoras - where the guerillas (currently the FMLN political party) were centralized during the war. we also visited the campuses of the national university and the university of central america to talk with students about student involvement and activism since the seventies til now....the trip was very well-rounded. we only saw the richer parts of the city in passing on the bus - and the difference between rich and poor was night and day. in the '70s, the guerillas began to organize and were fighting the government for basic civil rights - food, shelter, education, land (wealth) redistribution, freedom of expression...during that time, our government helped their government kill thousands of poor people in the name of stopping communism, but the people still fought for what they believed was right. even if it cost them their lives. i learned what true commitment really is by listening to their stories... i'm still processing everything, but will blog in more detail about it soon...

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