Posts Tagged ‘reflection’

Settling into Flexibility

March 23, 2015

The Northwest School in Seattle sends a delegation of high school students each year to learn about the reality of El Salvador. John Leslie, one of this year’s delegates writes of his first experience in NWS’s sistering community of Husisilapa.

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Students walk through the area around Husisilapa

Today we loaded up the bus and were on our way to Husisilapa. After about an hour of joyous singing we rolled up next to the Husisilapa plaza. As our bus approached I realized that the people in the village were just as excited about our arrival as we were. It was all smiles as they stopped whatever they were doing to welcome us into their community. Read More »


Delegate Reflection: Scars

March 14, 2015

Drew Theological Seminary visited El Salvador in January for a two week Cross Cultural Experience where they met with various community and church leaders to learn about and analyze the Salvadoran reality. Chelsea Jackson, one of the students on the trip wrote the following reflection. 

Scars.  We bear them on our bodies, our hearts, and at times our collective soul.  As one who has obtained many scars over my life, some more visible than others, Sister Peggy’s call to acknowledge and proudly bear the scars entrusted to us by El Salvador was like a call to continue proclaiming the messiness of life.  And boy did I gain some scars.  I gained scars with each community we visited, as new relationships were forged through mutuality.  I gained scars as I met with political activists calling for greater recognition of the humanness, power and potential of the Salvadoran people.  I gained scars as I climbed mountains, stayed in hospitable homes and met with organizations who sought to empower the disenfranchised. Read More »


Delegate Spotlight: Darryl

March 3, 2015

Our blog series, Delegate Spotlight, feature past participants from SHARE’s major delegations. A delegate is someone who travels with a group (delegation) to El Salvador to learn about the history, politics, and people to better accompany the Salvadoran people. Interested in becoming a SHARE delegate? Check out our major delegation page for information on the upcoming Romero Delegation in March!  – See more at: http://www.share-elsalvador.org/delegations/major-delegations

Spotlight on: Darryl Moore from Berkeley, CA

Major Delegation Experience: The Election Observation Delegation, Jan. 2014 – Feb. 2014

Why did you decide to participate in SHARE’s major delegation?

I wanted to see participatory democracy in action.  I wanted to serve as an election observer to make sure the election in El Salvador was done as fairly as possible, at least in the places I observed. El Salvadore.3 Also, I wanted to visit the country that has ties to Berkeley and our former Mayor Gus Newport.  To see the beautiful country and meet the Salvadorans who in recent history had changed the lives of its citizens for greater equality and to see and witness their struggle for justice, economic grow, and liberty.

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What was the most memorable part of the trip?

Visiting the LGBT Center in San Salvador was one of the most memorable parts of my trip.  Meeting with the LGBT community and hearing their stories of inequality, persecution, discrimination, and violence directed at them for being who they are was deeply emotional for me as a gay man serving in the Berkeley City Council.  At the same time, I was encouraged by their spirit and commitment to make things better in their country for Lesbians, Gays and Transgendered Women and Men.  Many of them were on the front-lines fighting for equality, the right to vote, the right to health care, jobs, housing, and just to be treated fairly and like everyone else.  I was so touched by their fight for social justice that I came back to Berkeley and sponsored legislation calling on the Berkeley City Council to support the work of the LGBT Community in El Salvador in asking the government to recognize the LGBT Community in its constitution and to bring about Equality for all LGBT People living in El Salvador.  I worked very closely with SHARE in drafting the resolution that passed the Council unanimously.

What was your favorite part of the experience?

Meeting the people of El Salvador and hearing their stories was one of my favorite parts about my trip to El Salvador.  Hearing the sad stories from the Mothers who lost their husbands and sons during the revolution and getting no real help or restitution from the various governments broke my heart.  El Salvadore.2Hearing the stories of the Priests, Nuns, and Peaceful Volunteers that were brutalized and killed fighting for peace and the rights of the people was shocking and disturbing.  Watching folks line up early in the morning, hours before the polls would open, to vote in the Presidential Election was inspiring.  Watching teenagers helping the senior Salvadorians into the polling place and the seriousness and dedication everyone showed towards the voting process made me wish if only American’s took their right to vote as seriously.


Delegate Reflection: Community Despite Capitalism

February 26, 2015

Drew Theological Seminary visited El Salvador in January for a two week Cross Cultural Experience where they met with various community and church leaders to learn about and analyze the Salvadoran reality. Dana Gill, one of the students on the trip wrote the following reflection.
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My return from El Salvador seems like a lifetime ago, and yet I’ve only been back in the states for a month. While part of it all feels a little bit like a dream, there are certainly scars left on my heart from my trip down there. On our last day down there, we were told to think of our elevator pitch – what would we be saying to people when we get back about what we learned? I’ve thought about it, and I’m not sure I could sum it up into a few short statements, and yet I seem to be at a loss as to what to say when people ask me, “How was your trip? The pictures look amazing!” All I can every seem to respond with is, “Oh my gosh. So amazing,” because how do I put into words the things that I experienced, and the physical overwhelm and awe of interacting with the people there?

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Delegate Spotlight: Judy

December 9, 2014

Our new blog series, Delegate Spotlight, will feature past participants from SHARE’s major delegations. A delegate is someone who travels with a group (delegation) to El Salvador to learn about the history, politics, and people to better accompany the Salvadoran people. Interested in becoming a SHARE delegate? Check out our major delegation page for information on the upcoming Romero Delegation in March! 

Spotlight on: Judy Swett, CSJA, Boston, MA

Why did I decide to participate in the LCWR/ SHARE FOUNDATION in solidarity “Honoring Religious Women delegation” in 2012? The fact is my name was drawn in a lottery that the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston provided for its Sisters and Associates and my  immediate response was YES! As a woman religious educator and social justice advocate,  I was profoundly moved by the horrific assassinations of Archbishop Romero in March and the Four Women Martyrs in December, 1980. So in the year 2012, after witnessing the crackdown of the Vatican on LCWR it  was for me a call and  privilege to represent the Boston CSJ’s along with Lois Connors, CSJ , Claire Morrissey,CSJ and Mary Rita Weschler CSJA along with over 50 other LCWR religious women from the US.

What did I gain from this experience? For me the entire program and process was liberating! The women and men I met on the Camino, taught me well about faith, suffering and resilience. Their moving testimonies of organized repression, oppression and the forced disappearance of loved ones was heart breaking. Having been inspired and challenged, I am working for Truth and Justice for the people of El Salvador and will continue to ‘speak truth to power.’ Read More »


Delegate Reflection: The Spirits of the Jesuits Continue On

November 15, 2014

Pam Wargin traveled with the delegation from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Wisconsin this past July. She graciously shares this reflection with us all. 

My name is Pam Wargin, and I am honored to have had the opportunity to have traveled to El Salvador as a part of our parish’s delegation this summer.

The St. Elizabeth Ann Seton delegation at the UCA.

When I first began the journey of preparing for this trip, I had very little knowledge of the history or of the current reality in El Salvador. I did not really understand that the country suffered a terrifying civil war between 1980 and 1992. I didn’t know that a large part of the population, including our brothers and sisters in Rutilio Grande, lived in refugee camps outside of El Salvador for twelve years during the war.

I wasn’t sure what God had to teach me on this trip. What I felt in El Salvador was heart wrenching and heart warming, horrifying and hopeful all mixed together in almost each and every individual experience.

Today, I’d like to share with you our visit to the University of Central America. The UCA- as it is called there- is a Jesuit university. The campus is much like Milwaukee’s Marquette, which is also Jesuit. It has a lovely chapel, students conversing on benches and calming walkways with beautiful trees and flowers. As a Marquette grad myself, I felt a certain connection with the staff and students around me as we walked through the grounds.

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Lessons Learned: Delegate Reflections

November 13, 2014

During the week of October 18th, 2014, eleven parishioners from Visitation Catholic Church in Kansas City continued their 26 year journey of accompaniment with Maria Madre de los Pobres Parish with a visit to El Salvador. After tending to medical clinics in the morning, the group visited the sacred sites and met with community members. Through it all they were touched, spurring them on to recommit to strengthening their relationship of solidarity. The following are quotes from various delegation participants.

“This is my 10th trip to [Maria Madre de los Pobres Parish]…my awareness of the world’s problems is always increased.”

“[Visiting the parish,] I see the importance of family and support for their family members. They look out for each other much more than Americans. I have been humbled by the way they live and how hard they must work to survive.”

“It is hard to accept that we live as we do back home when people here have so little.”

“I must say that I am often disappointed to see evidence of the US everywhere—Burger King, Wendy’s, Walmart. I wish our presence was evident in better ways.”

“We have common hope and common despair—we share the same place in the world. We need each other.”

If you are interested in how to start a sistering relationship between your church/community/school and the Salvadoran people, visit our website or contact our Grassroots Coordinator, Sarah Hall, at solidarity@share-elsalvador.org today!


Inspired: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Delegates Reflect

September 20, 2014

In July, nine delegates from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Wisconsin visited El Salvador. During the past eight years, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton has stood in solidarity with their sistering community, Rutilio Grande, in their sistering region, UCRES. Three delegates share their reflections on the inspiring people of El Salvador.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton delegation with the kids in Rutilio Grande.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton delegation with the kids in Rutilio Grande.

“Oh how I miss El Salvador!  I close my eyes and can see so many familiar faces. Whenever I’m in church I think of celebrating mass in El Paisnal with all of our friends from Rutilio Grande….I am amazed at the passion of the people. From Luis working with the youth in the community to Felicia teaching her mother to read. Antonio trying his best to lead his little community to Jorge developing organic materials to help feed his people healthy food and protect the environment. Carmen keeping the horrible past of the civil war and the lives lost alive as a lesson to be learned from and remembered. The list can go on and on. They give their all without thinking of themselves.” Jacqueline Konkol

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New Relationship, New Perspective

September 9, 2014

Laura Gilman visited El Salvador with the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton delegation in July 2014 and wrote a reflection to share about her moving experience. 

I want to share a story with you of how my immersion trip to El Salvador has changed me.

Several weeks before we left on our trip in early July, my Mother kept calling me telling me stories of the immigrant children arriving at the border in Arizona where she lived.  They had nothing with them and were sick and there was a fear of diseases spreading.  I thought, “How could a mother do this?  How could she let her child travel all alone thru Central America and Mexico and the danger they faced on this journey?”  Then I met a mother.  She is a mother in Rutillio Grande, our sistering community in El Salvador.  She told us her story of her son.  He is 17 years old and was a recipient of a scholarship from Seton to go to school and was a good student.  But he was afraid of the gangs and the violence.  He faced them on his way to school and was at the age that gangs were recruiting new members.   He was afraid for his life and asked to go to the U.S. and be with his father.   She finally agreed and got a loan at 20% interest and paid close to $7000 to a coyote guide who took him through Central America and Mexico and dropped him off at the border to cross on his own.  It took him almost 14 days to get to the US border with little food or water.  It was December when he arrived to the border and it was a time when there were freezing rains and ice storms in Texas.  He was freezing cold and wet when he crossed the Rio Grande.  He had hypothermia and literally thought he was going to die from the cold so he turned himself in to immigration.  They took him in and helped him.  They were able to reunite him with his father in Atlanta.  He has been allowed to stay in the US as long as he stays in school and gets good grades.

Read More »


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.

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.”

Read More »


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