Delegates Reflect: Solidarity and Accompaniment in Action
September 3, 2014
Cretin Derham Hall (CDH) from St. Paul, Minnesota visited El Salvador in June and July, sending over 20 rising Seniors and 3 teachers in each group. The delegation learned about the Salvadoran reality, visited the sacred sites, traveled to El Mozote to commemorate the 1981 massacre, connected with scholarship students, and spent time in communities of their sistering region San Vicente. CDH supports the high school scholarship programs in CRIPDES San Vicente, which provide students the financial accompaniment they need to pursue higher education and positions of community leadership.
Solidarity and accompaniment were evident throughout the trips as the students, teachers, and Salvadorans opened themselves up to share with each other. The following are excerpts adapted from reflections provided by several of the CDH delegates.
CDH July delegates with sponsored student, Saraí, in San Carlos Lempa.
Upon the July visit to San Carlos Lempa in their sister region of CRIPDES San Vicente, “The noises differed from those in the city of San Salvador-changing from car horns to roosters, cows, and dogs. After yet another delicious meal the group headed out on a tour accompanied by some of the local youth to see the different programs that have taken off in the community. We saw that the town has very little as far resources and money but survives by helping one another and making do with what they have. One of our CDH values is community, this trip has given a whole new meaning to that value. The community of Salvadorans as well as the new community consisting of the members on this trip have come together in solidarity and show very sincere support for one another. The community that we have formed together is incredible, each member contributing a different perspective on all of the new experiences we have shared on this trip.”
Standing in solidarity while accompanying others can change your perspective.
“Proper perspective is not something that can only be gained from circumnavigating the globe, or through the crossing of borders, but a trip that has been prepared in such a manner as this, certainly forces you to confront these differing realities with no place to hide, and hopefully leaves you a changed and “richer” person in every sense of the word in the future.”
CDH July delegation at Monseñor Romero’s house.
This richness changes those who visit El Salvador and gives the urge to return.
“…the reason I would jump at the chance to return was the solidarity I entered into with the people we met. The hospitality the people showed in opening up their homes, sharing anything, and everything they had was both amazing and inspiring. The friendship formed with our bus driver is something I still reflect on fondly. The stories that were shared from the people we met often contained so much pain and heartache, yet always seemed to end with so much perseverance, strength, and hope, I can’t help but still marvel at the faith, courage, and grace they displayed as they opened up to us. Their resiliency through the trials and tribulations of a very hard existence was truly humbling, and to have been able to meet them, listen to them, and learn from them first hand, face to face, was a blessing I will cherish forever.”
CDH June delegation smiles with the San Pedro community!