Posts Tagged ‘solidarity’

Three weeks in article

September 4, 2017

Hola! My name is Claire Eccles and I am the new Volunteer Communications Manager in the SHARE office in El Salvador. I just graduated from Berkeley High School in California and am taking a Gap Year before heading off to college.

I have been here for almost three weeks now and I am loving it! I take Spanish classes in the morning which is helpful in improving my communications and language skills, and then I come to volunteer at SHARE after class. I joined a local gym which helps me connect with my new local community. Like most people, I had my worries about coming to El Salvador. When I arrived I was expecting to see visible gang presence (and in fact was looking for it from the drive from the airport home), violence, corruption, and all the other stereotypes surrounding El Salvador. I was pleasantly taken aback to see workers peacefully taking the bus home, families playing at parks, children walking their dogs and other everyday activities you see in places where people live. I did not, and still have not, seen any gang violence, catcallers, robberies etc. People have been super friendly to me, greeting me every time I pass. Beyond that, the community at SHARE is incredible. Volunteering with SHARE is an enriching experience. My first day here I went to San Jose Las Flores and Guarjila to have a workshop with women of Guarjila about food sovereignty and encourage the consumption of healthy green foods. Right from the start, I have been participating in the community! Anabell, Laura, and Isabel are all very hardworking, friendly, and enthusiastic individuals. They all make me feel included in this close knit community.

I live with Isabel, the field office director at SHARE, her son Oscar and their dog Viejo. Isabel is welcoming, caring, and protective. For example, every day she drives me to my Spanish class and picks me up every afternoon, just to make sure I am safe and not exposed to any danger. She makes delicious food both at work and at the house. She lives in a very safe neighborhood with a beautiful park and nice gym less than a 5-minute walk away. Her house is charming and my room is lovely. Additionally, they have a fantastic hammock in the house right next to my room which I spend a large majority of my free time on.

I truly am enjoying my time here. I wake up at 5 am every morning eager to start my day–I wouldn’t have considered doing that in Berkeley. The people I have met through my Spanish school and SHARE have been nothing short of kind hearted, outgoing, and eager to explore. Although the country of El Salvador is relatively small, the landscape here is vast and beautiful. This country’s west coast is filled with gorgeous beaches to play, swim, and surf. It has five large lakes and 26 volcanoes–more than enough to keep me entertained for four months. Looking around you immediately notice the boundless greenery and plants that fill this country. From hikes in the mountain to fishing on lakes, this country has it all.

As Chimamanda Adichie said in a fascinating Ted talk called “The Dangers of a Single Story,” “if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.” This is very applicable with El Salvador. If you only listen to the media and don’t experience it yourself, you will fail to understand the incredible culture, history, and people of El Salvador.

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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Drew Delegation: A Photo Essay

January 21, 2015

Today, we say Adios to the delegation from Drew Theological Seminary! They were truly a wonderful group to accompany throughout the country of El Salvador. Enjoy the following pictures and quotes that were heard along the way.



“We shouldn’t talk about Monsenor Romero. We should talk like Monsenor Romero. We should act like Monsenor Romero.” Sister Noehmy from Pequeña Comunidad



“Peace is not the product of terror or fear. Peace is not the silence of cemeteries. Peace is not the silent result of violent repression. Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all. Peace is dynamism. Peace is generosity. It is right and it is duty.” Monseñor Oscar Romero



“Food Sovereignty is the basic human right to access to clean food and water.” Kristi Van Nostran

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El Mozote: Celebrating Resilience and Life

December 20, 2014

On Saturday, December 13th, hundreds of people made the pilgrimage to the site of one of the bloodiest massacres during the Salvadoran armed conflict. The massacre at El Mozote in 1981 ended the lives of close to 900 men, women, and children. The youngest child brutally murdered that day was three days old.  For decades, the Salvadoran government denied and covered up this travesty.The El Mozote Massacre has come to emblemize the violations of human rights that took place at the hands of the national military during the 12 years of the armed conflict.

10445529_10152938960944301_2121070061778881473_nThe event this past Saturday evoked the memory of the lives lost 33 years ago. However, more than anything, the crowd celebrated the resilience and present life of the Salvadoran people. Symbolically, the commemoration demonstrated that no force can truly kill a collective strong spirit, nor halt a people’s movement towards justice, equity, and human dignity.

This notion is naturally and tangibly  captured in one of the only buildings left standing today from the massacre. On the corner adjacent to the church, one can still see the bullet holes left on the exterior wall of the now crumbling structure.  The gray of the concrete is solemn and shocking. However, the image that catches more attention is the lively green vines crawling along the entire surface offering to heal the 33 year-old wounds and bring life back to the building.

The Salvadoran military, specifically the Atlacatl Battalion, thought by draining the civilian-filled pond on December 11th,10805700_10152938961399301_9214767109475303062_n 1981 they were ending life. In a concrete sense, they did end over 900 lives that day.  However, what they intended to be a screeching stop to the popular movement served as a catalyst that still propels the Salvadoran people today to work towards a life where no one is oppressed, where all have equal opportunity, and where all life is considered sacred. May we continue to move forward justly with the lives lost at El Mozote as our inspiration.

SHARE (Your) Inspiration: José Artiga

December 1, 2014

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 today!

Living with the People: VMM and SHARE

November 11, 2014

Claire and Julie presenting about SHARE to a VMM delegation in Nicaragua this November.

“VMM has provided the SHARE Foundation and its partner communities with invaluable human resources needed to advance our work for long-term, sustainable solutions to poverty and underdevelopment in El Salvador. The missioners VMM has brought to SHARE have been outstanding people both professionally as well as personally. Two, in fact, have moved on to direct our programs States-side and lead SHARE as an organization. Not only have these VMs left their imprint on SHARE’s work for justice in El Salvador; they have also touched the lives of hundreds of people in the United States and in El Salvador through their warmth, commitment, spirituality, and strength of character. Thank you VMM!”

In 1969, Edwina Gateley founded Volunteer Missionary Movement (VMM) in response to a need for lay people to become more deeply involved in the mission life of the Church. VMM believes in the equality of all peoples, feels an obligation to the worldwide Church community, and is committed to sustainable change through social justice efforts. VMM seeks to accompany the people they serve in faith and compassion, while providing their volunteer missionaries an invaluable opportunity for spiritual and personal development.

Currently, Claire, SHARE’s Communications Coordinator, and Julie, SHARE’s Delegations (Grassroots Sistering Accompaniment) Coordinator, are supported through VMM. Being a Volunteer Missioner (VM), helps create a space for community and support as they experience life in El Salvador. Along with weekly check-ins, they meet together monthly to reflect on how to live out VMM’s vision of being “catalysts for peace, social justice and human empowerment of the poor and marginalized as we work together in a divided world to inspire ‘the transformation of all things in Christ’.” From poetry, to journaling, to discussions, VMs come together during their experience to enrich their time living in solidarity with those whom they serve. Read More »

Ayotzinapa Update

November 10, 2014

Last week we wrote about the disappearances of the 43 Mexican students. We would now like to extend our condolences to their families and loved ones. Over the weekend, authorities found the students’ bodies massacred and burned among sticks and rubbish. Currently, 72 people associated with a “drug gang” have been taken into custody to be charged with the students’ murders.

Yesterday many Mexican citizens, in an out pour of rage at the government’s handling of this brutal bloodshed of innocent youth, stormed the Presidential Palace in Mexico City demanding justice and a change in response to the cartel violence that has become evermore common.  People are not convinced that the government was not involved in the orchestration of the student massacre.

Often times, we consider massacres at the hands of state governments to be archaic phenomena that our modern day society has overcome. However, lamentably, the case of the Mexican students suggests otherwise. Accompanying a people who is all too familiar with the suffering inflicted by unjust killings, we at SHARE offer a fraternal hug of solidarity to the Mexican people.  We are all Ayotzinapa.


March for Food Sovereignty: The right to choose food free of chemicals

October 20, 2014

On October 16, thousands gathered in the streets of San Salvador to recognize World Food Day and Rural Women’s Day. From Ahuachapan to Morazan, social organizations from all over the country came to show their support for the passing of the Food Sovereignty Act that is currently in the legislature. This law would grant Salvadoran’s the right to choose from where their seeds and food products come. It also would prevent the privatization of El Salvador’s water sources. The vast majority of Salvadorans recognize that privatization and allowing international companies to buy up all of the country’s resources means higher prices on food and water that are filled with chemicals.  This would be devastating for a population that, due to a drought at the beginning of the rainy season, is already struggling to pay the rising price for a pound of beans. (Normally, beans are around 70 cents a pound. Today, in the market they go for $1.40 a pound–the same price as a pound of chicken.)

Recognizing the degree of the threat that privatization imposes, shouts rising over the masses appealed to the legislature, “What are you waiting for Representatives? The people are tired!” “We want our lives without poison in our food!” “Water and Food are not merchandise!”

At the end, marchers presented their representatives with a list including thousands of signatures domestic and international demanding that the Food Sovereignty Act be passed. We are still waiting for governmental action to be taken on this issue. It is clear what the people want. Food Sovereignty NOW!

Check out this video from the march!

Youth Leadership Development and Academic Formation in San Vicente

October 11, 2014

The following is the semester report for the Youth Leadership Development and Academic Formation Program in San Vicente.

CRSV 2014 Youth Semester Report Summary pic 1

CRSV scholarship students explain the types of leaders they discussed in small groups. April 2014

With this project, CRIPDES San Vicente (CRSV) aims to strengthen students’ academic skills, as well as enhance youth leadership abilities and community organization. Supporting such skills will contribute to the reduction of the high
indices of violence in Tecoluca. Youth will directly participate in the development of different activities to continue the process of violence reduction in the region.

Project duration: January-December 2014

This semester included:
6 informative regional assemblies to present scholarship funds and workshops on certain themesFormation workshops in peace education, including themes such as violence, drug addiction, and conflict resolution are scheduled for the second semester. Read More »

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