Greetings fellow Network of Love Lovers!
I am writing a posting in regards to the second day of my trip to El Salvador. (I said I would write one post a day for each day I was in El Salvador, but unfortunately I caught the “I just got home from school for the summer and am waiting to finalize my plans for the next few months bug” last week. Not to mention, it’s been quite difficult to wrestle with the reality that I am back in the United States after ten days of bliss, difficulty, pondering, questioning, but ultimately, I believe, spiritual fulfillment in El Salvador. I thank God for the experience and pray that our group can somehow transfer all that we learned from the people of El Salvador to our lives here in the Midwest. I have faith in the other members of the Loyola Immersion group; they are all amazing, Love-filled people! All of you reading these network postings (fellow Network of Love Lovers) might hear more about the other group members in coming days. I can’t help but brag about people I admire.
So, let us continue loving El Salvador…from the little journal I keep, it was a Christmas gift from my mom : )
El Salvador Day 2:
There is way too much to write about. I feel as if I’ve been hit across the side of the head with a culture crowbar. (I mean this in the best, least violent of ways!) Parts of the day have been a struggle and parts of the day have been filled with some of the most God-given moments I have ever experienced. The language barrier has been a little difficult to deal with. However, it always feels wonderful when I click with a native speaker. And, there have been those moments of communication that surpass the need for words. Those have been truly rewarding.
I pray for the abuela (grandmother). She feels as if she is about to die. But, she has Christ to cling to. She has church to help her through this difficult time, the end of her life here on earth. And when I say she has church, I mean she has faith and people. She has a family who cares and loves her. She has children who watch over her. It’s depressing, a little haunting even, to watch a woman painfully give witness to the fact that she can feel death in the air. But, the fact that she has hope in God makes the bee sting hurt less for us on the receiving end of her mournful story.
Our host family has been such a delight. The coffee! Damn…it might be the most delicious grounds I’ve ever sipped. Our host mom is such a sweetheart for taking the time to make us coffee. The way she did it puts the finest Starbucks barista to shame (no offense to any coffee connoisseurs, I’m just partial to my host family!) The two little girls in the family (one is ten, the other five) are such a gift to be with. Laura and I (Laura is staying with the same host family as me) find ourselves hooked to the children, playing catch with a plastic soccer ball, playing hide and go seek, and watching children’s TV shows with the two of them. And the mom and dad in the family have been a delight! Of course, I can’t forget the eight-month old baby Elizabeth. Que una familia! They seem to have such a welcoming, comforting Spirit, despite the fact that they live in a house the size of my dorm room. It’s humbling, eye opening really.
Parts of the day were incredibly unsettling and still are. These people deserve better. By better, I mean they deserve more support from this world. They deserve basics like consistent running water, a refrigerator, personal space. They have hope because they have Love. Some of us should be so lucky. But I can only imagine where this hope might take them if they were freed from some of the restrictions the economic situation in El Salvador has imposed upon them. I realize that I know little about the situation. I am only drawing my words from the emotion and experience of living a day in a city in El Salvador with regular people of Zaragosa (city we’re staying in). I have a lot to learn, but I am willing to do so.
I look ahead to writing more about what my personal struggle feels like, but how it contrasts in ways with the peace and hope I feel from these wonderful people. Love is here. Christ is here. Human connection and Spirit is here. The government can never take this from the people.
Peace to my sisters and brothers!
Your friend bob.