El Salvador Day 06 – The Grave of Father Grande and the Emotional Arena

So much to write, yet I have to be kind to myself and actually get some sleep. An unfortunate side effect of electing to be the trip blogger is that my nights are often early. I hope you’ll afford me this gift and perhaps upon our return, my traveling companions can fill in more details in the comments section, something which they’ll hopefully do throughout the blog in the days after our trip.

Also, if you haven’t seen the contest I’m running, look for the post called “Contest: Globalization at What Price?” for more information on how you can win a free book just by leaving us a comment.

And with that, on to today…

Traveler’s Truth II

Oh, I feel better. Now hear this, students considering coming on one of these trips: bring Cipro. When TDI strikes, it’s the best remedy, aside from eating a ton of bread and bananas. And if you’re not stricken with TDI, well as the French say, “C’est la vie.” Or as the El Salvadorians say, “Something in Spanish.”

On the Road (From La Palma)

Sorry, dear reader, but as much as I said I hoped I’d be awake and able to tell you all about the beautiful scenery, I indeed slept for much of the way. What time wasn’t spent sleeping was speaking with Professor Chris on the bus. She and I had a wonderful dialog about my future plans, the Church, camping ministry, and choosing kindness over cynicism. Close friends know what likely spurred that part of the conversation and perhaps I’ll have time this week to expound on it. It’s not a secret, I’m just too tired and it’s a tale that I feel is worth spending time crafting. I’ll just say that, for the past two months, Continue reading

El Salvador Day 04 – Winding Roads, Being Amongst the People, and a Question of Theology

Hola, dear reader, and welcome to Day Four’s wrap-up. Today saw more opportunities for interacting with the people, more free time to explore cities, and talk of how our experiences effect our personal theologies. Here’s the scoop…

On the Road (to Victoria)

For the first time, our group was outside and in the street before the bus arrived and I think we were all pleased and excited that we managed to be on time (moving a diverse group of twenty-four from place to place takes time). That said, I’m pretty sure the bus was a little late because Christina accidentally left her cell phone at the guest house last night and while Don entrusted it to me for the night in case she called it while I was up in the wee hours blogging, there wasn’t a peep. Then this morning, Christina called during breakfast and then said she would be on her way. So were we really ready before the bus got there? Eh, as a wiser man than myself once said, you’ll find that things all depend on a certain point of view.

Loaded up in the bus, we headed out of San Salvador for the small town Victoria. We picked up a traveler, too, a young reporter who is a friend of Cristina’s. Through translation from Luis, she explained to a handful of us at the front of the bus what “GANA” means. See, we saw GANA painted in white, blue, and orange on nearly every telephone poll and flat rock surface from the airport to San Salvador on our first day in country and we wanted to know what it meant.

The reporter (and I’m sorry, I missed her name) explained that when Funes won the presidency last year, putting the FLMN party in power, the Arena [sic] party which had dominated for over twenty years split as blame between the “cronies” shifted back and forth and finally landed on the former president. GANA is “Great Alliance for National Unity,” a proposed new party which is a conservative party with “modern” viewpoints. However, they need 50,000 signatures to be considered a real party and they use the painted logos in small towns and rural areas as they are “still getting to know the people.” When it comes to the right-wing parties who had been in power for so long, there was more than a touch of controversy regarding what parties were allowed to operate. In each election, if a party doesn’t get enough votes it ceases to exist. However, the Arena party illegally allowed some parties to continue anyway as a strategic move. This ties into how GANA is hoping to rise up as a party since the question of their signatures to become a legitimate party is on the table.

That paragraph took nearly a half-hour of back-and-forth translation. Afterward, we granted our young reporter a reprieve and let her take a nap. She explained she’s young and was up until 2:00am. I explained I was up blogging until 1:30am so I understood what she meant and I took a nap on the bus, too.

More after the jump. For you newbies out there, that’s blog talk for click “continue reading” to see the rest of the post, photos, and comment box. :)

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